We'll start this series with Carlos Mendes. In case you weren't familiar with Mendes, he is a professional soccer player from Mineola. He is the captain of the North American Soccer Leagues' New York Cosmos, who play their home games right across the street at Shuart Stadium, and he has also played for the MLS's New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew.
Islanders Point Blank sat down with Mendes following a recent Cosmos practice to talk about some of his memories at Nassau Coliseum as an Islander fan.
So you've been an Islander fan your whole life?
CM: "I've been an Islander fan my whole life. Growing up in Mineola, I'm ten minutes away from the Coliseum. I'm obviously a little bit disappointed to see them go soon, but at the same time I'll still support the team and we have this year now to enjoy at the Coliseum."
Who was your favorite player growing up?
Carlos Mendes (right) celebrates a goal.
CM: "I used to love Pierre Turgeon and Pat LaFontaine. Those were probably two of my favorite players I remember I loved to watch."
What is your best memory of being at the Nassau Coliseum as an Islander fan?
CM: "Well, I was young in the '80s, obviously, when the dynasty was around, but I was around and my parents would bring me to some games. And just the last time they made the playoffs. I got to go watch them against Pittsburgh and it was exciting to see the Coliseum with a great atmosphere again and full. So, that's fun. I love hockey, I enjoy it and I've played it. I definitely always support the Islanders."
What was the most memorable game you've attended?
CM: "That playoff game. They actually lost to Pittsburgh at home, but like I said the atmosphere, being in the playoffs again and watching them play Pitt was probably the most exciting recent game I've been to.
Was that game three or game six?
CM: "Both, but game six though. But I went to both games."
What makes the Coliseum special for you?
CM: "I think the history. Obviously, [the Islanders] were a dynasty there in the '80s and it's really a good atmosphere in there. When it's full, it's loud. I mean I think that obviously the Islander fans get excited. So I think just being there, the atmosphere and -- even though it's an older building -- it's still excellent."