With the same energy that will fill Nassau Coliseum
continues his post-playing career entrenched in philanthropy.
LaFontaine, a former Islander and Ranger, will be at the Coliseum tonight
to present the Pat LaFontaine Trophy to the winner of the game.
The trophy is awarded to the winner of the season series. Heading into
tonight, the teams have won two games apiece. The losing franchise sends a
donation to the charity of the winning team. Last season the Rangers won the
first LaFontaine Trophy.
This season, with both teams in a playoff race, LaFontaine is aware of the
"I've always said it's one of the best rivalries in sports," he said. "It's
passion and it's intense."
Those two words are often used when describing LaFontaine's work with
children's charities. His book, "Companions in Courage," has been a resounding
success along with his foundation that works to create interactive playrooms at
children's hospitals. This year he has associated himself with Microsoft to
create the Microsoft Hockey Challenge, which is a circuit of games to benefit
the Companions in Courage Foundation. The circuit will hit seven locations,
including Long Island April 6 at Nassau Coliseum. The game includes former
hockey stars, celebrities, members of the NYPD and FDNY hockey teams and a club
team from Microsoft. Among the host of former Islanders scheduled to play in
the game is the team's former coach, Butch Goring.
LaFontaine, who had a stellar 15-season NHL career cut short because of
concussions, said the idea of adding interactive playrooms and communications
centers for children in hospitals is something pro athletes can benefit from,
"So many professional athletes have relationships with kids and this would
allow them to stay in touch with them, even when they travel, with e-mail," he
said. "And, with video conferencing, if Michael Peca is visiting, let's say,
Schneider's Hospital on Long Island, kids from other hospitals can participate,
Schneider's Hospital is where LaFontaine plans to build one of these rooms.
The April 6 game at Nassau Coliseum will benefit that cause.
Tickets can be purchased through the Nassau Coliseum box office.
For more information, call 212-307-7171 or visit www.mshockeychallenge.com.