Pat LaFontaine, a New York Islanders great, accumulated 545 assists in his illustrious career, but last night I got to witness his greatest assist by attending his Companion’s in Courage golf outing.
Back in 1993, after recovering from a knee injury, his wife urged him to get out of the house and do something productive. He headed out to the local children’s hospital to visit some sick kids and became inspired to build interactive kid/teen hang-out rooms called Lion’s Dens. In every Lion’s Den, there are video games, TVs, and computers available for the kids.
Since 1993, with his friend Jimmy Johnson, they have built 20 Lion’s Dens throughout the United States and Canada. Their charity has impacted over a 250,000 kids. Celebrating the charity’s 16th year (which happened to be his number) was quite a special event. In attendance were other Islander greats Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies etc.
Clark Gillies led the way with 8 standing ovations, evidently a Companions in Courage record for which he was actively campaigning all throughout the night. We also learned that while Pat LaFontaine was still in the league and playing for the Islanders, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy decided to hide LaFontaine’s shoes on a lamp post leaving him shoeless for a good part of a road trip. Also, Benoit Hogue told me other hijkinks of when he disassembled Ray Ferraro’s entire hotel room and stored it in his bathroom.
It was truly a special night and they raised a great deal of money for a wonderful charity founded by Pat LaFontaine.