It's rare that we here at Puck Drunk Love have the ability to write a positive story about Rick DiPietro. The injuries, the crushed expectations and the bloated contract make it awfully tough for a writer to find the bright side of what has been a devastating stretch for the Islanders netminder.
On April 1st, DiPietro gave us a reason to say something positive - and it isn't an April Fool's joke (that we know of). The Islanders are hosting their Fan Appreciation Day on April 1st, and during a time that is meant to thank the fan for their loyalty and devotion, DiPietro has personally desired to thank fans with his own cash. The first 5,000 fans at the game can get a hot dog and small soda all on DiPietro's time - lunch is on him.
The first 5,000 fans could pick up their vouchers at the box office, but you could also thank the goaltender personally as he was handing out vouchers himself as fans filed through the gates.
In a quote from the team's official site, DiPietro said, "I just wanted to show the fans how much I appreciate them and how much I appreciate being a New York Islander," DiPietro said. "It's just a gesture to show the fans how much I care."
It's rather refreshing being able to praise DiPietro for something, though it is a shame it has to come off the ice. Still, it's always great to see a player, especially one that has been ridiculed as frequently as DiPietro, giving back to the community.
It has to be said, but DiPietro should have no issue affording it. He is in the sixth year of his 15-year, $67,500,000 contract he received prior to the 2006-07 season. That translates out to $4,500,000 a year.
According to some detective work from Carlos Figueiredo, it appears the Islanders charge $6 for a hot dog and $4.50 for a small soda. It's safe to assume DiPietro got some sort of player discount, but if he didn't he shelled out approximately $52,500 based on the regular pricing.
Regardless of what the final total was, it's a genuinely classy gesture from DiPietro.
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