UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) The New York Islanders postponed their annual holiday hospital visits due to the ongoing mumps outbreak in the NHL.
Team members were scheduled to go see children at various hospitals on Wednesday, but the Islanders said Tuesday those visits will be rescheduled.
''We're extremely disappointed that the event has been postponed, but understand the circumstances,'' forward Kyle Okposo said in a statement. ''This has always been one of our favorite events to take part in because seeing a child smile when we give them a gift or take a picture with them is what the holiday season is all about.
''We're happy the children will still receive the gifts and look forward to visiting the local hospitals soon.''
The toys that were purchased through donations from Package All Corp. and the New York Islanders Children's Foundation have already been given to the hospitals to distribute to children.
No makeup date for the visits was announced.
The postponement came in light of the Pittsburgh Penguins saying forward Beau Bennett is the latest NHL player diagnosed with the mumps. He had attended a function at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital last week with the team.
The hospital said in a statement Monday that children who haven't received an age appropriate vaccine will be put in isolation and monitored for symptoms.
Islanders players and coaches have received the mumps vaccine, and the team says no player or staff member has shown any signs or symptoms of infection.
However, in order to assure the health and wellness of hospitalized children, the team said it has decided to be extremely cautious and postpone the event.