New York Islanders

Former New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo penned a touching tribute to a passionate Isles fanbase on Monday.

Those living under rocks haven’t heard the news that Kyle Okposo signed a seven-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres, but everyone else has.

The New York Islanders faithful clamored for Okposo to thank the fanbase, going so far as to infiltrate his social media accounts with negative comments to receive a proper sendoff.

Despite this reaction, in a beautiful article for The Players Tribune entitled “Thanks for the memories, Long Island,” Okie delivered a heartfelt tribute to the Isles’ fanbase.

Oftentimes, players will begrudgingly compliment their former organization. Not Okposo.

In reference to the Ol’ Barn on Hempstead Turnpike:

Fast forward a few months, and I was playing my first NHL game with the Islanders. It was against the Toronto Maple Leafs at a place that would grow on me like ivy on an old house: Nassau Coliseum. At times it was only filled to half capacity when we were going through down years, or on the night of a bad winter storm. Other times it was filled with 16,250 fans who were so loud I couldn’t hear Cappy call the next line to go on the ice. Those were the best of times.

In reference to Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinals:

I remember hearing the noise of the crowd while we were sitting in the locker room before the game. It was shaking the building — literally shaking. The floor was bouncing and guys’ suits were banging off the walls of their lockers. Nothing needed to be said before that game because we were all so jacked up to play.

That sound. That energy. I’ll never forget it, it made you want to run through a wall for your fans.

In reference to the Isles diehards:

I’m not a perfect player. I went through some pretty rough times with my game. The Isles’ fans and organization stuck by me. I’ll forever be grateful for that. The organization could have easily cast me aside and gotten rid of me, but they helped me through it. When I would go to an autograph signing or an appearance during those tough times, the fans would say, “Stick with it,” or “We love your game.” Those things brought a smile to my face.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.