Islanders fans followed in the footsteps of their Jets brethren and, over the past 24 hours, have raised enough money through GoFundMe to purchase two billboards within a half mile of Barclays Center that will read “SNOW MUST GO” — a call for the firing of longtime general manager Garth Snow.
Jets fans, of course, orchestrated enough fundraising to buy three “Fire John Idzik” billboards back in 2014, as Gang Green slogged through a 1-8 start to the season. So this Isles’ gesture is far from original. But the drama surrounding it is certainly juicier.
According to the GoFundMe page, the Islanders fans reached their goal of $2,725 — the cost of one billboard — by 11 p.m. Wednesday night, merely hours after the donation page was set up. The fundraising organizer then doubled the goal to add a second billboard to the fans’ arsenal, and they reached that by 10 a.m. Thursday. The total amount reached nearly $6,000 before donations were disabled.
In an update Wednesday night, after the first goal was reached, the organizer wrote that any excess donations would go to forward Anders Lee’s Kancer Jam Foundation. However, on Thursday morning, Lee — who was drafted by Snow in 2009 — tweeted a message that said we would decline any donations.
Here’s the full note from Lee: “Islanders fans are the most passionate, dedicated fan base in the NHL. There’s nothing better than scoring a goal and seeing them erupt in celebration. For them to want to generously donate to my Kancer Jam foundation, is extremely humbling, however I do not feel right accepting money from a movement I do not agree with. The main goal of everyone in the organization is to win games. I know that’s a fact because I live it and see it every day. We all share that same goal. We also share the bond that we were brought here by Garth Snow. He had the faith to draft me in 2009 and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support, so I do not feel right accepting the donation. I appreciate the gesture from our fans and their efforts to support the Kancer Jam Foundation but ask that they use this money to support another fund that can benefit from this donation.”
The Islanders fans were then forced to change their foundation of choice.
“Without a choice in the matter,” the organizer wrote in an update Thursday morning, “we have therefore decided to donate any excess donations to the American Cancer Society. While we understand this was not the initial advertised charity, we hope Islanders fans will understand.”
Although not as awkward as what went down Wednesday night at Barclays Center during the Islanders’ 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets. The Isles surrendered 51 total shots in a listless defensive performance, and fans started chanting, “Snow must go!”