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New York Islanders

New York Islanders partner with Guide Dog Foundation to raise and train Monte

The Guide Dog Foundation, a New York based-non-profit that provides guide dogs to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, is thrilled to partner again with the New York Islanders in their “Puppy with a Purpose” program supported by Canidae. In celebration of the Foundation’s 75th anniversary, the Islanders will train future guide dog “Monte.”

Monte, a 9-week-old, male black Labrador puppy, made his debut with the Islanders on October 11th during the team’s fifth annual ‘Pucks and Paws 2022’ calendar photoshoot. The calendar, benefitting the Guide Dog Foundation and supported by Canidae, will go on sale in time for “Black Friday” shopping.  Calendars will be available for purchase online via the Islanders website and at home games.

Monte, a black Labrador, will undergo basic training and socialization with the Islanders’ staff, fans and public for the next 14-16 months. The Islanders will host Monte at community events and select home games to assist in raising him to be a confident and calm future guide dog. Fans can follow Monte on Instagram at @NYIslesPup to stay up to date on his training and local appearances.

Following his puppy raising, Monte will return to the Guide Dog Foundation campus in Smithtown, NY to begin his formal guide dog training. Concluding his training, Monte will be matched at no cost with an individual who is blind or visually impaired.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to partner again with our friends at the New York Islanders to help celebrate the Guide Dog Foundation’s 75th anniversary,” John Miller, President and CEO, Guide Dog Foundation said. “What’s better than to be here in our hometown on Long Island to continue this partnership for the third time with the New York Islanders? The partnership is outstanding. Ownership, coaches, the team, and fans, all have embraced the program and we couldn’t be any happier to continue this life changing program with the team.”

Monte is the third dog the Islanders has partnered with the Smithtown based organization to raise and train. In June, the Islanders and America’s VetDogs, sister organization to the Guide Dog Foundation, placed service dog in training Tori with retired U.S. Navy Veteran and FDNY Lieutenant Chris Roberto. The Islanders first dog Radar was successfully placed as a guide dog in August 2020 with gold medalist Paralympian swimmer and Long Island native Anastasia Pagonis.

It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of the VetDogs’ services are provided at no charge to the individual.  Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, and service and fraternal clubs.

ABOUT GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION

For 75 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (www.GuideDog.org), has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs. The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving clients from across the United States and Canada. The Foundation relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities.

America’s VetDogs service dog in training Tori has completed training and been placed with retired U.S. Navy HM2 Corpsman Chris Roberto. The Islanders partnered with America’s VetDogs, a Smithtown based non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities, to raise and train service dog Tori in 2019. Tori has been trained to assist Roberto, a Bronx born and raised resident, with several tasks and cues to help mitigate her veteran’s disability including PTSD skills such as rest, positional cues such as ‘turn’ and ‘center’, shake and everyday companionship.

The Islanders welcomed their second Puppy with a Purpose ‘Tori’ in conjunction with their partnership with America’s VetDogs following the Isles first pup ‘Radar’, who was placed as a guide dog for individual who is blind or visually impaired. Islanders fans submitted votes to determine the name ‘Tori’, named after Islanders legendary General Manager Bill Torrey.

For the past 18 months, Tori underwent basic training and socialization with the Isles staff, players and public. The Isles hosted Tori at every home game prior to the COVID-19 shut down, as well as select community events, s to assist in raising Tori to be a confident and calm service dog. Following her puppy raising, Tori returned to the America’s VetDogs campus in Smithtown, N.Y. in February 2021, to undergo her formal service dog training with Service Dog Instructor Gabi Lugo. The VetDogs’ assistance dog program was created to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities free of charge.

Roberto enlisted in the U.S. Navy reserves in 2003 and was deployed to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks to assist with the search and rescue help. Shortly after, Roberto was called to active duty as an HM2 Corpsman attached to a Marine Unit in Kuwait and Iraq. After serving five years, he retired from the U.S. Navy and quickly joined the FDNY as a fireman working his way up to Lieutenant of the 3rd Division, Engine 40 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Isles fans were given an all-access look at Tori’s journey through her Instagram account, @nyislespup as well as blog posts on the Isles’ website.

About VetDogs

Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel. America’s VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation and serves clients from across the United States.  VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence.  It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual. America’s VetDogs has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

Taking a  break from the ice, New York Islander players Anthony Beauvillier, pictured above, and Tom Kuhnkackl visited pediatric patients at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Cancer Center on Dec. 13. The two athletes came bearing toys and gifts, signed autographs and posed for photos with some of their smallest fans. The event, which was organized by Stony Brook Children’s Hospital’s Child Life and the Islanders, helped to add some extra cheer to children who are ill, especially those with chronic conditions who may be spending their holidays at the hospital.

New York Island players Anthony Beauvillier and Tom Kuhnkackl visited pediatric patients at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Cancer Center.

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Charles B. Wang, right, stands with Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. after receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the school in 2015. Photo from Stony Brook University

Charles B. Wang, minority owner of the New York Islanders hockey team and founder of the software company CA Technologies, died Oct. 21 at the age of 74 in Oyster Bay, according to a statement from his attorney John McEntee of Farrell Fritz P.C. in Uniondale.

Charles B. Wang. Photo from CA Technologies

Wang was born in Shanghai, China, Aug. 19, 1944, and moved to the United States with his family when he was 8 years old. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics.

Wang donated $52 million to Stony Brook University, which led to the opening of the Charles B. Wang Center, in 2002, an Asian and Asian-American cultural center. At the time, it was the largest individual donation in State University of New York history, according to SBU’s website.

“I am deeply saddened to have learned about the passing of Charles Wang and extend my deepest sympathies to his family on behalf of myself and Stony Brook University,” SBU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement. “Charles’ legacy will live on at Stony Brook University in the iconic and vibrant Charles B. Wang Center, opened in 2002 as an international hub bringing Asians and Americans into a common space, a marketplace of cultural awakenings and ideas for the 21st century.”

Stanley said in the statement the center offers a respite for students.

“It is a proverbial bridge between cultures, and a welcome home to all students of every nationality, every race and religion,” he said. “It is a monument to his vision and will continue to be for generations to come. The world needs more like Charles Wang.”

In 2015, Wang received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. During his acceptance speech he stated his beliefs in four points: “1. You can make a difference; 2. Integrity and loyalty are only words until tested; 3. Love life to the fullest; and 4. Have fun.”

In 1976, Wang co-founded Computer Associates International, now known as CA Technologies, serving as chairman and chief executive officer, according to his attorney.

“I am deeply saddened to have learned about the passing of Charles Wang and extend my deepest sympathies to his family on behalf of myself and Stony Brook University.”

— Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

In 2000 Wang was asked to purchase the Islanders, for which he remained majority owner until 2016 when he sold his majority stake. The entrepreneur had only attended one hockey game in life before ownership, and the new role led to him creating Project Hope, an international program in China to develop education through ice hockey.

Another philanthropic venture of Wang’s was Smile Train, of which he was the founding member in 1999 and chairman of the board. The nonprofit provides free surgery to children in developing countries who have cleft lip and palate.

“Charles was the driving force behind Smile Train and the reason why so many deserving children continue to receive the care they so desperately need,” Smile Train posted on its website. “His unwavering passion, commitment and dedication to children with clefts was unmatched. Our Smile Train family will miss him beyond words, yet we take comfort in knowing his legacy will live on forever in the smiles of the faces of the children we help and in the hearts of everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.”

In 1998, Wang endowed the Charles B. Wang International Foundation, and, in 2001, he established the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation, dedicated to supporting children and youth organizations, according to McEntee’s statement.

Wang was also chairman of the board of NeuLion, a digital video technology company, from 2008 to 2016 and is the author of “TechnoVision: The Executive’s Survival Guide to Understanding and Managing Information Technology” and “Wok Like a Man,” a cookbook of his favorite Chinese food recipes.

Wang leaves behind his wife Nancy Li; children Kimberly (Chris), Jasmine and Cameron; grandchildren, Charles, Kingsley and Kendall; mother, Mary; brothers Anthony (Lulu) and Francis (Laura), and his nieces and nephew. He was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Smile Train or the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation.