Islanders host hockey instructional for Elmont children


One hundred local children learned how to play hockey at an instructional event held during the last week of July by the New York Islanders and organized by Gateway Youth Outreach, a community-focused organization that organizes programs for the youth of Elmont.
GYO Executive Director Patrick Boyle said the goal of the program was to familiarize the students it serves with hockey, a sport almost all of its students had never played before.

“Most of our students are not familiar with hockey,” said Carol Reyes, program coordinator at GYO. “Broadening horizons and introducing youngsters to possibly unfamiliar sports is of great benefit to our young people,” she added.

Boyle noted that GYO has hosted instructional sports events in the past, often teaching Elmont introducing students to sports they do not play in school, such as golf.

At the event, the students were split apart by grade level and groups of 15 to 20 students per group to ensure each student received personalized instruction from the Islanders floor hockey team, which taught the students basics of puck handling and provided an overview of penalties and shooting technique and skill development in hockey.

Boyle was surprised by how well the 100 students, who had never played hocked before, performed following instruction from the floor hockey team.

“It’s really interesting how a bunch of kids who had never been introduced to hockey were actually very, very good,” said GYO Executive Director Patrick Boyle.

The Islanders later provided each of the 100 students that attended the hockey event with a t-shirt, water bottle, ball, drawstring bag, and hockey stick.

Boyle, who is a hockey fan, said that with the Islanders first season at the new UBS Arena in Elmont set to kick of this fall, now is a great time for Elmont children to become interested in hockey. He added that many students he spoke to after the event told him that they were excited to learn a new sport and be able to watch hockey in Elmont this fall.

GYO released a statement on August 13 that thanked the Islanders for its partnership at the event: “GYO is extremely thankful to the New York Islanders for providing this opportunity and giving young people the tools to enjoy playing and watching hockey,” the statement said.

“The Islanders were extremely generous,” Boyle said, expressing gratitude for the hockey club’s partnership with GYO.