One Year At TCL Isles For John Santamaria

The day was July 28, 2013, the first day I wrote on this blog and became part of a great team of writers covering New York Islanders hockey. Today, July 28, 2014 marks one year since I joined The Checking Line-Isles Edition. I wanted to take a trip down memory lane as I present my Top 10 TCL Highlights from the past year which was filled with many exciting and creative opportunities to write about. These highlights are broken up into different category titles while some relate to multiple reports.

10. Myself

My first post for this website was my personal introduction and since then so much has happened during the past year. I now have a Master’s Degree in Communication Arts and I am currently the Public Address Announcer for the Long Island Rough Riders soccer team. I am also another year older and gained more experience in areas of media through my year in graduate school and I look forward to continuing to share my posts with all of our readers.

9. Nassau Coliseum Redevelopment

The first story I covered was an important one for residents of Long Island and what the future holds for Nassau Coliseum when the Islanders move to Brooklyn. Last August, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano chose from 4 proposals to redevelop Nassau Coliseum. The developer chosen was Forest City Ratner Companies and you can read more here to recall the future of Nassau Coliseum.

8. Team News

Year round there is always something going on or off the ice, offseason news and I’ve covered all kinds of it for TCL. Different topics over the past year included the Thomas Vanek trade, Kevin Poulin’s role on the team last season, community appearances, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This gives our readers more day to day information of the team and what they could be keeping an eye for on game nights.

7. Doug Weight

This past season was a special one for Doug Weight. He was most recently promoted to Assistant General Manager which you can read here. In addition, Weight was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and that can be recalled here. Since his time as a player in the league and specifically with the Islanders, Doug Weight has made a major impact on the organization. I always liked him throughout his career and it was great to watch him play on the Islanders. He has a bright future ahead of him but I’m still not sure if it’s in coaching or the front office.

6. Howie Rose Book

For those who don’t know me too well, my dream job is to become a sports broadcaster. There is one person I look up to the most in the sportscasting business and that is Howie Rose, the voice of the Islanders on MSG Plus. In addition to the Islanders he is the radio voice of the New York Mets on 710 WOR during baseball season. Last year he wrote a book about his career and I wrote a review about it in addition to attending his book signing at the Garden City Barnes and Noble. It was great to hear his stories of both teams and other jobs he has held throughout his career. For those wondering, yes I opted to wear my Mets jersey that night because the event took place during baseball season. (Photo Credit: John Santamaria)

5. Multiple Home Venues

The 2013-2014 season saw Islanders home games at three different locations and I was able to visit all of them. The first one was for a preseason game but it’s an important part of the Islanders future. In September 2013 the first ever NHL game was played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn which becomes the new home of the Islanders next season. Next is the current home venue Nassau Coliseum where I have attended many games over the years as a fan or when I was doing assignments for my internships. The last venue the Islanders called home was Yankee Stadium for the NHL Stadium Series this past January. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience outdoor hockey and I was very fortunate to have tickets to the game and also able to cover it for the blog which you can look back to here. (Photo Credit: John Santamaria)

4. Most Unique Report

On February 16, 2014 two good friends of mine who I look up to like an older brother and sister got married. It wasn’t just any normal wedding you might attend, the Islanders were part of the couple’s special day as you will recall here. As a journalist I have learned while it’s not just informing readers of the news they need to know, finding unique stories to tell will also catch a reader’s eye. This was a great opportunity for me to bring our readers something different that connects them to the team. (Photo Credit: Silverfox Photography)

3. 2014 NHL Entry Draft

We recently introduced the TCL Discussion to our website where one of the staff writers leads a discussion regarding a specific topic. I recently chose to lead the discussion about the 1st Round pick the Islanders had in this past draft which can be viewed here. A group post is something I haven’t been part of in the past and it was something different to try and I really think it’s something we can develop even further as a staff. Covering the 1st day of the draft was important this year as the Islanders didn’t just have the 5th pick they also traded for the 28th pick in the Round 1. The recap I did informed you about the newest members of the blue and orange and what was happening at the Nassau Coliseum draft party.

2. Where Are They Now?

When I came to TCL Isles, I was also handed the job of reporting on our Where Are They Now feature that our readers have really enjoyed. This part has been the most interesting because you got to learn things about these players that you didn’t know about prior. If you would like to see someone featured here send me a tweet with your suggestion. Over the past year we checked in with former Islanders from the past 4 decades and those names are listed below…

Mariusz Czerkawski

Ken Morrow

J.P. Parise

Tommy Salo

Bill Guerin

Chris Simon

Pat LaFontaine

Rick DiPietro

Ted Nolan- shortly after this article he was named Buffalo Sabres Head Coach

John Spano

Ed Westfall

John Tonelli

Shawn Bates

Steve Webb

If you would like to see someone specific featured in this segment send us tweets or post on our Facebook page.

1. Pregame and Postgame Reports

This is by far most important part of our coverage. From October through the end of the regular season in April and the spring postseason this is where our focus is as the games are happening just about every other night. This past season the Islanders finished 34-37-10 missing the playoffs and throughout the ups and downs of an 82 game season grind we are always there to report on the team.

It’s been a fun year covering the Islanders for TCL. As I say with every position and I can say the same here is that I have continued to grow as a journalist as I chase my lifetime goals. Their will certainly be more stuff ahead in the coming months as training camp will soon approach and October will be right around the corner. This upcoming season of Islanders hockey should be memorable as we say farewell to Nassau Coliseum and new chapter begins at Barclays Center. (Photo Credit: NY Daily News)

My message to our readers and fans, thank you for always reading and supporting our coverage and making all my personal highlights happen and fun to write about. I hope to see many of you at the Coliseum this season rocking this old barn.

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles