The next person involved with the Nassau Coliseum Memories series really needs no introduction. Kyle Okposo made his NHL debut on March 18, 2008 and has become an intricate part of the Islanders' core. Last season, Okposo recorded 27 goals and and 42 assists for 69 points while playing on the wing of John Tavares. Okposo was also a candidate to make the 2014 US Olympic hockey team.
Okposo took some time to speak with Islanders Point Blank about some of his favorite memories from the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.
IPB: What is your favorite memory from Nassau Coliseum?
Okposo: Well, I’ve got a couple; Playing in my first NHL game against Toronto was pretty cool. Pretty special to me, I’ll obviously remember that for the rest of my life and that playoffs against Pittsburgh. It was such a fun experience and probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey in that building. It was so loud and it was crazy.
IPB: What do you think you’re going to miss most about Nassau Coliseum?
Okposo: Just the atmosphere. It’s so loud and the way that the fans are kind of right on top of you they seem like they can blow the roof off. Those Ranger games are always fun in "The Coli." It will be similar intensity in Brooklyn, but the Coliseum seems to bring out another level.
IPB: What do you think makes that building so special for Islander fans?
Okposo: They just remember the tradition and the rich history that the Islanders have. With winning the four cups in the eighties and that’s most likely never going to be duplicated again. Those people remember that and the fans do, and that’s what they grew up, a lot of them, watching those teams. So that’s what makes it special.
IPB: Do you have a story or memory from the Coliseum that really sticks out to you?
Okposo: Not really, just walking into the locker room for my first game. Seeing all those guys like Billy Guerin and Mike Comrie and Miro Satan, and Josef Vasicek. Those guys you grow up watching really and have been in the league a long time. It was kind of a wild moment walking into an NHL locker room and preparing to play that first game. It was pretty nerve-racking.