Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I.C.E., I.C.E. Baby

Went to the team store in Hicksville Tuesday night to get some autographs from Kyle Oh!kposo and Blake Comeau (The Mediocre One chose not to attend so he could play hockey...oooh, your desire to do something athletic is really impressive, Jack LaLanne). Pretty good crowd considering it's the middle of summer. It still wasn't a big enough crowd to turn people away, which would've been cool to see (though not so cool if it meant my trip to Hicksville was for nothing...not that a trip to Hicksville isn't always rewarding).

Still, I'm liking this I.C.E. Tour thing the Islanders are doing over the summer, taking players out to events in the community and keeping the team's name out there in the off-season. Even if the Lighthouse Project (the song on the website has to go) comes through—and it needs to—there still needs to be interest and, more important, some sort of investment from the local community in the team if the Islanders organization is to thrive. With the Dragons and the Long Island Ducks the only other pro sports teams on the Island (and I am using "pro" very loosely), there really is no reason that the Island shouldn't rally around the Isles. Of course, some playoff success will help that, but the community outreach done on the I.C.E. tour is perhaps even more important. It's much easier to root for guys when you see them at the local park or signing free autographs at the team store or when the team gives your kids a free hockey net. It's a simple thing, but, just like in the game itself, it's doing the simple things right that brings success. I'm not up on the community outreach that other NHL teams are doing, but it seems to me that the model the Islanders are using here could do wonders for teams around the league and the game as a whole. But what do I know?

Anyway, a tap of the stick to the I.C.E. Tour. Check out the full calendar here.

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