EAST MEADOW, Long Island (WABC) --It was a first for the New York Islanders on Thursday as they welcomed visually impaired children to their practice facility in East Meadow for a special skate.
Children from the New York Institute for Special Education, a nonprofit educational facility that provides programs for children who are blind or visually disabled, and Third Eye Insight, a fitness program for the blind, joined several Islanders players, such as captain John Tavares, on the ice after practice.
"The Islanders in general and the community on Long Island, there's always been such a close relationship between the people and the team and these kids have made it extra special today," Tavares said.
Cara Spier brought her daughter to the skate and was emotionally overwhelmed by seeing all the children out there.
"It's really indescribable. It's great to have her have a day where she can do things that normally she wouldn't be able to, so we're very grateful," Spier said. "This is so beautiful, to see all these kids and see how here they're just like everybody else."
The sentiment was shared by the players and the other parents, including John Schafer, who got to see his daughter Grace take part in something incredibly special.
I'm beaming inside and I can tell my daughter is. It's a wonderful event. I really appreciate the Islanders doing this, it's just great," Schafer said. "It's surreal that they get to be here with the pros because they can't see that well, so the fact that it's tangible, they could touch them and see them, it's just wonderful."