It may not warrant its own ESPN special, like LeBron James’ infamous 2010 “The Decision,” but all eyes who view the hockey world through blue-and-orange-tinted glasses will be focused on Anders Lee come July 1.
That’s when the Islanders’ captain and left wing becomes an unrestricted free agent, and he’ll be looking for a big-money, long-term contract after eclipsing the 50-point plateau for the third consecutive time this past season. The Isles wouldn’t let their captain and best player walk for the second consecutive summer — after losing John Tavares to the Maple Leafs — would they?
“Our camps are still working on things,” Lee told amNewYork over the phone Tuesday. “I hope to be an Islander. That’s where I want to be.”
Lee, a Minnesota native who could find the Wild among his suitors on the open market, hasn’t gone anywhere yet and remains engaged in the New York hockey community. He will participate in “Jamathon” from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday on the Versa rooftop at the Renaissance Hotel in midtown. The event is hosted by The Jam Kancer In The Kan Foundation, which grants “wishes” to local children affected by cancer via their partnership with the Marty Lyons Foundation.
Lee and fellow “Jambassador” Kevin Shattenkirk, defenseman with the rival Rangers, have raised more than $600,000 collectively for the charity since 2017. The Isles captain was inspired to get involved after meeting Fenov Pierre-Louis, a New Jerseyan who was diagnosed at age 9 with neuroblastoma. Pierre-Louis succumbed to the disease last summer at age 17.
“I saw a speech [he gave] and was really inspired,” Lee said. “He was wise beyond his years, and we became good friends. I’ve been involved with Kancer Jam ever since.”
Lee and Shattenkirk have promised to bring along several teammates to mingle with and cheer on the teams participating in the “competition” Saturday, which centers around the popular backyard game Kan Jam. To play, teams must commit to raising at least $500. Interested spectators can pay $125 to attend, with tickets available here.
“It’s going to be a fun day, with a little friendly rivalry going on with Rangers and Islanders players there,” Lee said. “But, at the end of the day, we’re there for an important cause, raising money for kids and families dealing with pediatric cancer.”