Maven’s Memories Features Stan Fans: Vinnie Catania

Editor’s Note: This will be the first in a series about Islanders fans and their memories. The opener is New York Police Officer Vinnie Catania of Deer Park. Here’s what he told The Maven.

Take it off, Vinnie:

HOW HE BECAME FAN OF THE ISLANDERS:

“My first memories of hockey were watching the Islanders on television. My older brother was an Isles fan and it was fun for me to watch the games with him. It wasn’t all fun at first. I was not happy after Rangers. beat us in 1979, but that made me love the Islanders even more. My first favorite player was Mike Bossy. He was my idol when I was a kid and even now nothing has changed; still my all time favorite.

WHAT THE TEAM MEAN TO HIM AS A YOUNG FAN:

“The Islanders were the best part of my childhood. In the early 1980s, a lot of kids in my neighborhood were playing street hockey. I remember putting on my Bossy #22 jersey and my Mylec shin guards. . No matter what team I played on, I demanded that the street hockey team be called ‘The Islanders’.”

PLAYERS HE HAS CHOSEN AS MODELS:

“Once in a while I’d put on my brown plastic goalie pads and pretend I was Battlin’ Billy Smith. I had other favorites, but I would never pretend to be someone who wasn’t. an Islander. And when there was one on TV, I’d make sure I never missed it. Three months before I turned 10, the Islanders won their first Stanley Cup.

Video: Celebrate the Islanders’ 50th anniversary

HIS FIRST MATCH IN PERSON:

“I didn’t see a game at the Coliseum during the 1979-80 season, but I finally got to see a game during the 1981 playoffs; and what a thrill it was. It was the first game of the quarter-finals 1981 against Wayne Gretzky. and the Edmonton Oilers. And it was a game that had everything I could ask for. Clark Gillies had two goals and so did Denis Potvin. John Tonelli Bobby Nystrom, Butch Goring and Hector Marini also had goals. Gretzky scored once but I couldn’t care less.”

COME AT THE RIGHT TIME:

“We knocked out Edmonton in that series and then won the second cup. How special was that? From the ages of 9, 10, 11 and 12, I had the pleasure of supporting a team that won four consecutive Stanley Cups. But you have to remember that I was still a kid and I really didn’t understand how difficult it was to win this trophy. The Islanders had conditioned me to believe that everything was very easy.

HOW HE REACTED IN THE 1984 FINAL:

“I was 13 when my favorites lost in the final to Edmonton and I have to say after Game 5, with the team eliminated, it was one of the worst nights of my life. Frankly, I was depressed for weeks and I was sure we would win again soon.”

ALWAYS ROOT HARD THROUGH NON-CUP RUNS:

“The story turned out to be different in that the team was invincible again. In fact, the team’s failures over the next few years only made me love them even more. there I was old enough to go to the games on my own and as I got older I supported them as my favorites by always going to the games. I’m still buying Islanders jerseys, wearing Islanders hats and talking about the Islanders to anyone who wants to listen to me.”

Tweet from @NYIslanders: Join the Isles family for the historic 50th anniversary season and be at the center of it all.

HOW IT WORKS IN THE FAMILY:

“For me, the best way to express my status as an Islanders fan is to teach the Islanders to my six-year-old son and his friends.

But that’s the weird part; my wife is a Rangers fan. Besides, everyone has their flaws – and I decided to marry her anyway!”

WHY HE CONSIDERS THE ISLANDS AS “THE PEOPLE’S TEAM”:

“This one is easy. The Islanders have always played on The Island. And, remember, Brooklyn is still part of Long Island. have become integral parts of the community, with a number of players starting charities and starting businesses right here on the island.

HOW HE SEES PLAYERS AS NEIGHBOURS:

“Many times I would go out and meet some of my heroes. It was Nystrom, Gillies, Benny Hogue. In fact, Hogue became a popular kids’ hockey coach here. Over the years I would go to charity events organized by the Islanders and like to mingle with my heroes because – for a man – they are always friendly like my next door neighbor. Over the years these players – winners or losers – would be accessible to fans. For someone one like me, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

DESCRIBE THE LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN THE FANS AND THE TEAM:

“As a fan of all sports – I support the Yankees in baseball – I have seen how players in basketball, football and other professional sports react to their fans. In my opinion, there is no There’s no closer bond between a team and its fans than the Islanders and their roots. You don’t have to look any further than the 2021 playoffs. Islanders fans were all thrilled at every show before and after. We even have a chant for a big save. was BIL-LIE became VAR-LY. And when Sorokin was in goal, we have a chant of ILYA SOROKIN from his KHL days. L “blue and orange army always has a song for every occasion. Like this army, we march to the beat of our own drum.”

HOW HIS SON BECOMES A FAN:

“I teach my son all about the team. He learned that players like Bossy, Trottier, Gillies, Potvin and Smith are as important as Barzal, Pageau, Pelech and Pulock. he can be with me when he’s not on a school night. And when he’s playing ice hockey Islanders fans love that he wears the old school jerseys instead of the stars of today He lives and breathes the Islanders even though he’s only six years old. Although he’s a “Mama’s Boy”, even she can’t turn him to the dark side of the Rangers. He’s a loyal Islanders fan through and through. I couldn’t be prouder.”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ROOTING FOR NASSAUMEN:

“I thank God every day for being an Islanders fan. Frankly, I didn’t have the best childhood, but every memory I have has something to do with the Islanders. I could go on and on about heroes like than Trottier, Bossy, Gillies and Potvin. To this day, I’d take Smitty over anyone with money on the line. Goring, Anders Kallur, Ken Morrow, Gord Lane, Wayne Merrick and the Sutter Brothers; I could go on and on. The 1993 team was another one of the teams I really loved and I will never forget Patty LaFontaine, one of the greatest American-born players to put on a pair of skates. , I am grateful to owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky who wisely brought many alumni back to Nassau. They built a beautiful arena to top it all off and make you so proud to be an Islanders fan more than ever!”

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