Father and son meet John Tavares in Barclay Centre tour.
A special hockey experience has made a lasting impression on a pair of Cape Breton hockey fans.
JP Morris and his son Jack travelled to New York last week after winning a “New York Islanders Experience” draw that included the father and son attending a National Hockey League game among other special events.
Morris’ wife, Connie, purchased a $10 ticket as part of a fundraiser for the Well Wear Bombers major bantam hockey team from Pictou County. She purchased the ticket, knowing her husband and son were avid hockey fans.
In mid-December, Morris was named the winner and gave the trip to her husband and son.
“She’s not as interested in hockey as we are,” said JP Morris. “She was happy we were able to go.”
The Morris’ left for New York on Jan. 30 and were accompanied on the trip by Islanders alumni Jon Sim, who now lives in New Glasgow, as well as Harley Palmer (equipment manager for the Bombers), and Stirling MacLean (Well Wear Bombers major sponsor).
When they arrived in New York, JP and Jack had the opportunity to tour the Islanders practice facility, the Northwell Health Ice Centre in East Meadow, N.Y., as well as meet with the team’s players, coaches, managers and equipment managers. They also had the chance to see the Islanders’ gym and locker room.
“Every door that was open to us, we went in and had a chance with whatever personnel were there,” said Morris. “They were all gracious with their time — they gave us all the time in the world and answered any questions we had.”
After the practice, Islanders’ forward Josh Bailey joined the Morris’ for a snack, where he shared stories with the Port Hood residents. Later in the evening, they had supper with Islanders equipment manager Scott Boggs, who also shared stories about his career.
The next day, the Morris’ toured New York City, visiting Time Square, Radio City Music Hall, and the World Trade Center site, before eventually going to the Barclays Center for the hockey game.
They arrived at the rink around 6 p.m., and were taken on a tour of the 18,103-seat building, and later taken to their seats in the New York Islanders alumni booth, where they watched the Islanders, Capitals game.
“We were treated to everything including food — everything was there for us, it was great,” said Morris, a longtime Islanders fan. “They couldn’t do enough for us — we were well received by the team, it was incredible.”
After the game, an Islanders 3-2 win, the Morris’ went to the Islanders locker room and had a chance to meet superstar John Tavares, who had some advice for Jack, who currently plays with the Cape Breton West Islanders of the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League.
“The players were asking him if he played and what level, and things like that — he was very excited about that, and they were interested in him as well,” said Morris. “(John) Tavares told him one piece of advice was to work on his shot because you can never have a good enough shot.”
Before leaving on Feb. 1, the father and son duo also had lunch with Islanders forward Anders Lee, who like the other members of the team, shared stories about his career.
Morris said the whole trip was overwhelming for him and his son.
“I was surprised with how friendly and how open they were to us,” he said. “They made sure we enjoyed ourselves, and wanted to make our trip the best it could be.”
“I would like to thank the New York Islanders management staff and players as well as Jon Sim and the Well Wear Bombers for giving us this chance, it’s something we will never forget.”
JP Morris, left, and his son Jack, right, are pictured with John Tavares of the New York Islanders following the Islanders game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 31 in New York. The Morris’ won a trip to New York to see the Islanders play through a fundraiser in support of the Wear Well Bombers major bantam hockey team.