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AN OPEN LETTER TO ISLANDERS FANS
FROM GARTH SNOW

Dear Islanders Fans everywhere,

I understand last Tuesday was an interesting day for you, to say the least. I'm a sports fan, too. My head was spinning for a while there. I can only imagine how you guys felt.

But now that the dust has settled and we're moving on, I wanted to reach out to you.

First off, thanks for your kindness and support during my four seasons as an Islanders player. I loved playing here, and so much of that was because of you. Long Island is a special place. My wife Erica, son Glenn and I have cherished our time here and plan on being Long Islanders for a long time.

To that end, and just as importantly, I'm not going to stand for anyone taking shots at this franchise. My philosophy during my 13 years as a player was that members of a team back each other up. It's one of the many reasons why I'm so happy to get to work with Ted Nolan. That's the way Ted's teams play. Starting in October, I have no doubt that you're going to be excited and proud to root for this Islanders team.

My philosophy as a manager is the same. Now, I don't want you to think I'm going to be a bully with the press or heckling fans. That's not my style and I accept it as part of the business. But I will make my feelings clear at all times: on or off the ice, don't take a cheap shot at our guys.

I need you to know that I'm counting on Islander fans to continue to back us up during the highs and lows. Let's not forget where the Islanders were before Charles Wang saved the franchise because he felt it was right for Long Island. Don't forget that this team went two presidential terms not making the playoffs, often not even able to compete, before Charles took over. After making the playoffs three years in a row, we fell short last season. This summer we added several quality veterans and our work is not yet done. Our one and only goal is to contend for a Stanley Cup, but we can't do it without you.

When the puck drops on October 5 in Phoenix, what happens on the ice will be about Coach Nolan, Rick DiPietro, Yash and Miro and the rest of the players. When we open at home before a packed Coliseum crowd of Islanders faithful on October 14, it will be the home debuts of Brendan Witt (I hated watching him throttle my guys!), Chris Simon (ditto), Mike Sillinger, Tom Poti - and who knows who else?

I believed this as a player and believe this as a manager: the Islanders are about the men wearing the orange and blue and the map of Long Island on their crest. As a sports fan like you, I love the home-grown guys. That's why Jeter and Bernie are immortal Yankees, why David Wright and Jose Reyes are so dear to the hearts of Mets fans. Of course, we love all of our Islanders, but how can you not be excited about DiPietro…Robert Nilsson…Ryan O'Marra…Petteri Nokelainen…Jeremy Colliton…Kyle Okposo…Blake Comeau…Sean Bergenheim…Chris Campoli…and so many others.

I shared the same ice surface with all of them. Take my word for it. Something special is happening here. Thanks to our scouts, the present and future are very promising.

Ted Nolan, Bryan Trottier and the rest of our staff are going to present a team that battles hard for each other and for the Islanders' crest. Our team will be a combination of our draft picks developed properly and veterans leading the way. Just as important, we will have players who want to be here, players proud to be Islanders and players that will get involved in our community.

I understand that I need to earn your confidence and respect over time. Over the next few weeks, I want to hear from Islander fans. I've asked the team to set up an email address where you can send questions and I'll answer as many as I can on the site. (Don't worry; my days are long enough to manage the team and address your questions). Comments are encouraged, too. Let's communicate and let's get behind the Orange and Blue.

I'll see you around Islanders Country.



Garth Snow
 
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