[On the day after Kyle Okposo's overtime goal in Montreal, there's no better time to share this email from a young man who can speak to what the Islanders' budding star is like away from the playing surface.
Justin Dolan, 19, is a former Islanders season ticketholder whose family moved from Smithtown to North Carolina when he was 14 years old. He is now a freshman at East Carolina University and is captain of the first-ever U18 Junior Hurricanes team...CB]
by Justin Dolan
I wanted to share with Islanders fans the kind of person you have in Kyle Okposo.
Kyle and I met at Shattuck St. Mary’s Hockey Camp about two years ago. He was just drafted by the Islanders and meeting him was a huge deal to me. We talked about how rookie camp went and how much he loved Long Island. He told me he was going to stick around and watch my game, “So go hard out there.” If that doesn’t pump you up, I don’t know what will.
He became a mentor and a pal before we parted ways at the end of the week. I was off to my season. He was off to his unbelievable rookie campaign at the University of Minnesota.
Later in the season, I was talking to Mark Anderson, one of my coaches from Shattuck St. Mary’s (a player at Colgate). I told Mark about some of the things I was going through in my life. My parents were getting divorced. I talked to Mark about how much thinking about meeting Kyle and the players at camp had meant to me. I thought about it all the time when times were bad.
About a week later, I received an email from an address I’d never seen before and opened it up to find out it was Kyle. I practically jumped out of my seat and was so happy to hear from him.
Hey buddy, I just wanted to see how you were doing man. We met this summer at Shattuck Camps when Mark and Taylor were coaching you. I loved watching you play and tear it up there and hopefully you will be back this summer.
Mark contacted me and told me you were going through some hard times with school and your family. You just have to believe that everything will work out for the best. Just remember no matter how tough things get, there are people out there who are much less fortunate than you and I.
Take it easy and keep on truckin!
I was in tears of joy knowing that a hero to me was there for me in bad times. Before every game I play, I read that letter that Kyle sent to me. It’s deep in my heart and I’ll never forget it.
We stayed in touch throughout the year and he told me he would be at Shattuck again the next summer so I made sure I was going. We got to hang out more during the week and it was one of the best times of my life.
Islanders fans have seen how great a hockey player Kyle is on the ice, but he really showed me the kind of person he is. The Islanders have a player they can really rely on for a long time to come. He is a potential star on the ice and, to me and I’m sure plenty of others, a hero away from the rink.
Hockey talk in this thread. Lighthouse discussion continues below.