Several posts yesterday surfaced from from ESPN’s Katie Strang and other respected reporters that Islanders top prospect Nino Niederreiter had asked to be traded. Featured writer Rob McGowan of The Checking Line – Isles Edition offered a well-written account that sheds light on the rumors and misinformation that was being reported. (Dave Csorda captures one of Nino's many celebrations in this photo.)
As a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Booster Club (BSTBC) I attended the annual ‘BSTBC Snowflake Dinner’ on Tuesday evening and advised my editor, McGowan that I would ask Nino about the reports that were appearing online. Held this January at The Riverview Bistro, the ‘Snowflake Dinner’ is a very casual opportunity for the fans to get to know and interact with the players on a more personal level, not a night for interviews.
However, given the fact that these reports were nearly as important as news about Subway's eleven-inch foot-long, I asked Nino if the reports were true.
You will find a ‘Booster Club’ in every sport, at every level, and the members of these clubs are always shaking their cans and asking for money. Donate this, donate that, buy one of these and contribute to our ‘fifty-fifty raffles’ are what you hear. What few of us see or realize is all of the good work done by these groups of volunteers.
It is almost with embarrassment that I admit, that after several years as a season ticket holder for the Sound Tigers, only this past season did I join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Booster Club (BSTBC). I watched as sweaters and coats donated and the cans of food collected were delivered to some less fortunate people that have no interest in hockey or the Sound Tigers. I saw the smiles in the eyes of physically challenged children playing with physically gifted hockey players while BSTBC members hosted one of their many charitable events. My promise to the BSTBC is that I will take a more active roll this coming season in what ever I can do.
There are traditions within the Sound Tigers fraternity as there are all such of organizations. Some involve rookie chore or duties, i.e. preforming the chicken dance at the annual Booster Club (BSTBC) winter dinner, other snare the pranks and hazing’s you find on any college campus.
One tradition was the annual Super Bowl Sunday trip to the casino. I have no idea which players won or lost on the 2/7/10 trip for Super Bowl XLIV but one player who turned out to be a big winner that day did not make the trip.
There are many differences between National League (NHL) and American League (AHL) players. Talent and dedication do not make that list. Perhaps that is why Islanders coach Jack Capuano refers to ‘call-ups’ as American League players and not minor leaguers. It may be because he coached the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, it could be that he himself was successful at the NCAA, ECHL, AHL, and NHL levels. No distinction. When Cappy makes the call to Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson to fill a need, the Isles will get a talented, dedicated player who fits in seamlessly into the system.
The biggest difference (my opinion) is the fan experience. Parking? Not a problem and free to season ticket holders. Tickets available? Most likely and you can more often than not move to another seat as you wish. Drunken Flyer’s fans in the building? Not in Howard Saffan’s house! Player accessibility? Let’s talk.