Islanders and Rangers Announce First
"Islanders-Rangers Charity Challenge"
Regular season series winner to be awarded
the LaFontaine Trophy
Uniondale, NY, November 22, 2000 - The scene in
the Club Room inside Nassau Coliseum was no
different than any section of stands when the
Islanders and Rangers get together - fans of
both teams exchanging mostly good-natured barbs.
Only this time, the fans were the owners as
Building on one of the most intense and
competitive rivalries in all of professional
sports, the New York Islanders and New York
Rangers announced tonight a charitable component
to almost three decades of on-ice competition.
The winner of the teams' best-of-five regular
season series will direct $100,000 to local
charities to be paid jointly by the teams.
The winner of the series will also receive the
newly established LaFontaine Trophy, named in
honor of former Islanders and Rangers star Pat
LaFontaine, who is known for his tireless
commitment to charities throughout the tri-state
area. "Pat is one of the most generous athletes
in the history of New York sports," said
Islanders co-owner Charles Wang.
"I give credit to Charles for the idea," said
Charles Dolan, Chairman of Cablevision Systems
Corporation. "I think it is an absolutely
LaFontaine played eight seasons with the
Islanders and ended his 15-year NHL career with
the Rangers in 1998. The Islanders-Rangers
Charity Challenge kicked off when the two teams
met tonight night at Nassau Coliseum.
The team that wins the LaFontaine Trophy will
have the opportunity to display the award at its
"When I first heard about this award I was
really overwhelmed," said LaFontaine. "The more
important thing is giving back and helping those
in need. I would really like to commend Mr.
Charles Dolan, Mr. Jim Dolan, Mr. Charles Wang
and Mr. Sanjay Kumar for a tremendous idea in
taking a rivalry and taking the positive out of
it and making it into a great cause."
LaFontaine, who scored 566 points in parts of
eight seasons with the Islanders and 62 points
in one season with the Rangers, did point out
one scenario he would like to see from his
vantage point as a former star of both teams.
"I think the best thing I could say is, come
March 30 (the day after the fifth and final game
of the series) I hope it's a tie. Does that mean
both owners give $100,000?
"In all sincerity, I'm humbled and overwhelmed.
This rivalry has been about two great
organizations, a lot of great players, great
fans, great history and to have my name
associated with this is an honor."
The Islanders will split their donation between
the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York,
Cancer Care of Long Island and St. Christopher
Ottilie Center. Cancer Care provides social care
each year for more than 80,000 cancer patients,
their families and friends. Make-A-Wish
Foundation of Metro New York is the largest
Make-A-Wish chapter in the country and has
fulfilled more than 3,500 wishes for children
with life threatening illnesses. St. Christopher
Ottilie, located in Sea Cliff, is a school for
handicapped children that Islanders center Dave
Scatchard is deeply involved with.
The Rangers will split their donation between
NYR SKATE, a division of the Madison Square
Garden Cheering for Children Foundation, and the
Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer
Research. The Cheering for Children Foundation
is dedicated to improving New York's
after-school programs, and currently benefits
more than 25,000 boys and girls in all five
boroughs. The Lustgarten Foundation supports
pancreatic cancer research, and was established
in the name of the late Cablevision Vice
Chairman and Madison Square Garden Chairman Marc
Lustgarten, who died of pancreatic cancer last
As part of LaFontaine's involvement, a donation
will also be made to his newest charitable
endeavor, "Hockey's All-Star Kids," which
benefits children's hospitals across North
America in each NHL city.
"The Islanders and Rangers have what many
believe to be one of the greatest rivalries in
professional sports," said Wang. "That's not
going to change. It's going to continue. One of
the first things Sanjay and I wanted to do after
we purchased the Islanders was to work with the
Rangers on a joint charitable initiative. And
we're so glad that our good friends Charles and
James Dolan were thinking along the same lines.
"For the thousands and thousands of fans in New
York who made this rivalry what it is today, it
was time to give something back to them."
Following the series' opening game at Nassau
Coliseum on Wednesday night, the clubs play the
next three games at Madison Square Garden on
Jan. 26, March 5 and March 28. The Challenge
will culminate at Nassau Coliseum on March 29.
In 171 meetings between the teams, the Islanders
hold a slim 78-76-17 advantage.