A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to attend the New York Islanders’ annual “Pucks n Paws” calendar photoshoot. The Islanders partnered with America’s VetDogs, an organization dedicated to training service dogs for disabled veterans. Proceeds from the calendar, which will most likely be sold online and at home games, will go to America’s VetDogs in order to help them continue to train the dogs and get them to the people who need them.
At Northwell Health Ice Center, I was able to see a few of the sets for the calendar photoshoot, including the Islanders’ locker room at the facility, and I had the chance to step on the ice while Andrew Ladd and Cal Clutterbuck “faced off” for some staged pictures with an adorable service dog named Ellie. Cal Clutterbuck even offered to escort me as I struggled to walk across to center ice, but for some reason I turned him down (live and learn!)
For each of the players, being able to support a great cause like this in a way that’s fun and entertaining is something they all enjoy, because “Who doesn’t love puppies?” as Calvin de Haan said. De Haan also adopted a dog at the photoshoot last year, so he’s a big fan of these types of events with the Islanders.
De Haan was among the players I was able to speak to at the photoshoot, along with John Tavares, who was happy to help use the calendar as a way to raise awareness for America’s VetDogs.
“It’s a small thing that we can do to be here and try to promote and see what a great thing it is to have one of these [dogs] that are so cute and adorable and fun to be around. Anything that can help [veterans] move along and live as enjoyable, comfortable, and healthy life as they can, and having love and support which is something a dog provides, it’s great that we can support that.” Tavares said.
This man even says all the right things when it comes to puppies! Be our captain forever, Johnny.
I covered the photoshoot on my Twitter account, so you can check them out through this Storify.
If you want to view some more photos from the day, the Islanders posted a gallery on their website.
Some other cool moments from the event were walking by Butch Goring as he was leaving Northwell Ice Center, watching the incredibly amazing photography and VetDogs staff get these dogs to hold various gloves, helmets, pucks, and sticks for the pictures, and chatting with Mathew Barzal about how he’s never held a dog before.
The players were happy to help out the cause and play with some cute puppies, which created a great environment for everyone. It was a ton of fun to be able to spend a few hours with the Islanders and the adorable dogs from America’s VetDogs. Thanks again to Dan, LHH, America’s VetDogs, Brian from DKC, and the Islanders for having me there. Who doesn’t love a Thursday afternoon with puppies?