Islanders-Rangers Rivalry’s Return to Nassau Coliseum For First Time in 5 Years Features Smile Train Fundraiser

Kyle Okposo, 21, of the NY Islanders battles Michael Del Zotto, 4, of the NY Rangers along the boards at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. Photo by Joe Nuzzo, 2020

The New York Islanders and New York Rangers will face off Thursday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, marking the first time in five years that the cross-town rivalry hits the ice in Uniondale.

Aside from the storied Metropolitan Division rivalry returning to Long Island, Thursday will also be dedicated to raising funds for Smile Train, a nonprofit founded by the team’s late former owner Charles Wang. The group is dedicated to helping kids with cleft lip and palates. The initiative is part of the Islanders’ Hockey With a Heart program.

Smile Train CEO Susie Schaefer will be dropping the game puck when the game starts at 7 p.m. The game will feature short videos and PSAs about Smile Train screened throughout the match-up. And Smile Train fundraiser tables in the concourse will include an initiative by Islip’s Sylvan Avenue Elementary School, who’ve raised $30,000 for the cause, as well as sales of branded rally towels, raffle tickets, and more.

Related Story: The Islanders-Rangers Rivalry

The Isles last played the Rangers at the coliseum on March 10, 2015, which ended in a 2-1 Rangers win. Since then, the Islanders moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and are now building a new arena in Elmont. They’re playing home games at the coliseum this season during construction of their new home.

The Isles are currently ranked third in the division. The Rangers are in seventh. But the Blueshirts routed the Isles 6-2 Monday at Madison Square Garden in their first match-up of the season. The Islanders are banking hometown advantage Thursday will help this time.

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