Over the past couple of months, there have been quite a few moments that have brought me to a pause. I think what has hit the hardest is realizing that this chapter has come to an end. All of the things that I love about putting on the Blue and Orange are now just a memory. Although it has made me emotional at times, I will always cherish those memories.
I want to thank not just this great fan base, but the people of Long Island as a whole.
This place is special. From the outside, I think a lot of people would agree. What’s not to love? But what really makes this place unique is the people. All of you. That’s why Long Island will always be home for me and my family.
From playing my first game in the Isles sweater at 19 to my last at 33, it has been quite a ride. Not always the smoothest of rides, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The tough times make you stronger and allow you to enjoy the good ones that much more, and we had plenty of good ones. I do recall some rather funny moments at the Coliseum. Some nights, if I was starting, the national anthem could be a vulnerable 90 seconds standing there at the blueline. (I heard it all — the encouragement and the “encouragement.”)
That passion is also what provided my teammates and me with some incredible memories. It’s what makes Long Island Long Island. In life, you have to earn people’s respect no matter where you are or what you do. In New York, you need to earn it that much more, and I hope that never changes.
I’ve had quite a few people come up to me recently and thank me for the past 15 seasons. That means so much to me and my family. But, in my mind, it’s backwards.
We can’t thank you enough for all the love and support over the years. Wherever it has been on the Island, we’ve felt the love over and over again. It has been an honor to live on Long Island, wear the Islander jersey, and help represent this great organization and our fans from all over. There are so many moments that stand out to me, but none compares to hearing the roar of the crowd after scoring in overtime in the playoffs.
And of course … hearing you all sing.
It still gives me chills to this day.
Until next time….