[Hey, here’s another Islanders post by Vicky! Without further ado, enjoy!]
Recently, I ventured to Adventureland for the Islanders’ Children’s Foundation Day. Adventureland is an admittedly dumpy amusement park here on Long Island (and yes, the movie Adventureland was based on it). That said, I hadn’t been in, like, 13 years, and it’s definitely a lot nicer than I remember it.
Fans had free reign of the park for the whole afternoon, but I had no interest in riding rides. I’m not a ride person, especially I’ve had bad experiences with the ones at Adventureland back in the day. *shudders thinking about the bumper boats, even though they’re not there anymore*
Tickets were $25, and it got you admission to the park, plus 90 minutes to get autographs/pictures from the entire team AND coaching staff. Season ticket holders got an extra hour thrown on top of that. Since I’m (sadly) not a season ticket holder, I still got there wicked early and managed to land a good spot on the plebeian line with one of my twitter/tumblr followers. Good thing we got there early, because the line got LONG.
This is part of the line to enter the park.
The minute the doors opened, we BOLTED to the back of the park, because that’s where my favorite player’s table was. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Michael Grabner. I was worried his line would be crazy long, but it was reasonably short when we got there. Whew!
Needless to say, he was very sweet. I did wimp out and didn’t say anything huge to him, but I nervously wished him luck for this up-and-coming season, and he smiled and thanked me. I couldn’t find anything for the guys to sign, but thankfully, each table had blank cards at it for the players to sign.
All in all, I ended up with around 20 signatures! Very happy, and I managed to get all three of my favorite players – Grabner, Matt Moulson, and Kyle Okposo (who was looking quite lovely with his eyeglasses on heh). Got to see the coaching staff, complete with new assistant coach and King Clancy trophy winner Doug Weight! Such a nice guy, we later saw him walking around and chatting with fans. I told the other assistant, Dean Chynoweth, I remembered when he played for the Islanders (back in the mid-90s) and he laughed and said “Aw, I’m sure you aren’t that old!” Well, I was a kid, but I remember him!
Vicky's total signature haul.
What else…Rick DiPietro has a full beard that makes him look like Paul McCartney during the Beatles’ Let It Be days
. Paired with a trilby hat and sunglasses, yeah, he looked like a total tool. He’s one of the nicest hockey players I’ve ever met, but he was rocking the douchebag look today. We skipped his table, because the line for him and fellow goalie Al Montoya was long. And didn’t even bother with John Tavares and new captain Mark Streit because their lines were insane too.
This is the look DiPietro was rocking.
The surprise popular table? Trevor Gillies! Yes, the name that strikes fear in other players in the league, and I’m sure there’s plenty of fans of other teams who think he’s the Anti-Christ. But the reason his line was so long and was moving so slowly was because he was taking the time to chat with all of his fans. So see? He IS a nice guy! Sadly, by the time we got to his line, a staff member told us the line was closed because autograph time was almost done. Not cool.
They should at least do two hours for autographs next time! Two hours for the non-season ticket holders I mean. Because there was a lot of people who missed out because of long lines!
Overall, the day was great. The players all seemed really happy and having fun (some even went on rides with fans!), and the fans were really enthusiastic and optimistic about the upcoming season. Compared to how jaded and upset everyone was like 13 years ago, when things were really bad, things have definitely turned around, at least where morale is concerned. May they surprise the whole league this season!