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25 Years Later - The Goal That Shook Long Island

I remember where I was.

As an 11 year old boy growing up in Kings Park on Long Island, I had one passion above all others - my
New York Islanders. It started from the first time my father took me to a game when I was seven years
old (the Islanders lost to the Minnesota North Stars, 3-1). It continued through my five year tenure with
the Islanders in the Media Relations Department. It continues today. But on May 24, 1980, I know exactly
where I was when Bobby Nystrom scored at 7:11 of overtime in Game Six to give the Islanders, my
Islanders, the first of what would become four consecutive Stanley Cups.

I remember where I was.

Every person who grew up a sports fan has memories like this from their childhood. It might be the first
time they went to a game. It might be meeting their favorite player. It might be a feat of their own from the
Little League diamond. But memories like this are the ones that make a childhood what it is and always
should be - a collection of events that change and shape a life. Things that, when you look back at them
25 years later, you remember them as vividly as you did that night, when you couldn't fall asleep
because you were so jubilant.

I remember where I was.

I am one of the lucky ones. I got a chance most people dream of. I spent the first five years of my
professional life working for the team I loved as a child. And I worked in an office across the hall from the
man that was responsible for the greatest memory of my childhood. I met Bobby Nystrom my first day
with the Islanders organization, October 22, 1991. I was a bright-eyed, impressionable 22 year old, still
very wet behind the ears and living a dream, remembering every Islander jersey I owned growing up and
realizing the new meaning they had just adopted.

I remember where I was.

In my five years with the team, I got a chance to work with and know many of the members of those Cup
teams. Hall of Fame goaltender Billy Smith. Hall of Fame center Bryan Trottier. Stready as a rock
defenseman Ken Morrow. Butch Goring, the last piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle. Extraordinary role
players Anders Kallur and Gord Lane. The architect of the team, Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey. Hall of
Fame Head Coach, and one of my all-time favorite people, Al Arbour. And, of course, the man who
scored The Goal, Bobby Nystrom. To my friends who grew up Islander fans, this was the greatest thing
ever. And looking back on my time there, nine years after my departure, the time I spent there becomes
more special every day. It isn't every day you get an opportunity to live your childhood dream and be part
of the team you worshiped growing up.

I remember where I was.

The Spring of 1993 is still special to me. The Islanders unexpectedly advanced to the Eastern
Conference Finals and I got to live this playoff run firsthand. Now, not only was I living my childhood
dream of being part of the Islanders, but I was actually experiencing something that children who were
my age in 1980 might someday look back at as fondly as I do of May 24, 1980. The night of May 14,
1993, the night David Volek's overtime, Game Seven goal in Pittsburgh knocked off the two time
defending Cup winning Penguins and sent us on a flight from the Steel City directly to Montreal and the
Eatern Conference Finals, remains the greatest night of my professional life. It is the closest the
Islanders have come to a Stanley Cup since Edmonton ended the "Drive for Five" in 1984 (hopefully not
for much longer, of course).

I remember where I was.

These aren't memories I share very often. I've always believed in separating the personal from the
professional. But special anniversaries call for special rules. May 24, 1980 is one of the most revisited
days of my childhood. Nystrom from Tonelli and Henning lives in my mind forever. It was in my blood for
my five years with the organization. It is in my blood now. The next three Cups were awesome. They
meant the building of a dynasty - a legacy that will live forever. More importantly, they meant bragging
rights over all of the Ranger fans in school (and still do...I don't care who won more recently - the
Islander Cups were both quantity AND quality). It brought the sports spotlight in New York out of the big
city to Long Island, my home, of which I am fiercely proud. But the first one will always be the most
special.

I remember where I was.

Where was I? I was the den of our house. I had spent the time between periods playing hockey on the
driveway with friends (Frank Leone and Duke Durland, for the record), although they both went home
before overtime started. No one else was in the room as I watched. My parents were upstairs and, when
Bobby Ny scored, I screamed so loud they both yelled, fearing something bad had happened to me. I
even remember that afternoon, going to the 7-Eleven and hearing on the radio that the Islanders and
won the Stanley Cup and STILL getting goosebumps from the news. And those goosebumps come
back just thinking about that whole afternoon.

I remember where I was.

Do you?