Is­lan­ders ex­pe­ri­ence

Fa­ther and son meet John Tavares in Bar­clay Cen­tre tour.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

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.”

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED/HAR­LEY PALMER

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.

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