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Top Long Island hockey players enjoy chance to skate at Islanders Mini Camp

Monday, 07.19.2010 / 11:06 AM ET / News
By Alex Silverman
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This summer, Islanders Mini-Camp gave a group of top unsigned players from Long Island the chance to skate alongside Islanders prospects and show their stuff. Fourteen unsigned Long Islanders participated in the mini camp skates, workouts, and events.  As undrafted college players, the opportunity to perform for an NHL organization is second-to-none.  To do so for their hometown team makes the experience all the more incredible.

“I was honored,” said Michael Marcou of Kings Park.  “You grow up watching this team play and then you go out there, trying to be a part of it.  It’s something really special.”

Marcou, whose older brother James attended the camp in 2007, has been very close to the Islanders from a young age.  In fact, the family connection to the Islanders runs deep.

“My mom used to cut hair for Patrick Flatley and Mick Vukota,” Marcou said.  “My older brother also plays and he got me really into it too.”

Getting invited to the Islanders camp isn’t only exciting as an Islanders fan, but it represents an incredible accomplishment as an amateur hockey player.  Ryan Agosta of East Meadow couldn’t be more thrilled about being selected.

“This is the highest [achievement] for kids going into college,” Agosta said.  “This is the best accomplishment to have.  This is where everything starts.”

With the accomplishment of being invited to camp comes an opportunity to take a step towards ultimately playing professional hockey.  For this reason, each of the camp invites hopes to turn some heads and get noticed.   

“I’m just looking to make an impact,” said Zak Stone of Roslyn.  “I just want to get one person to at least say ‘oh wow look at that Stone kid.’  I want people to get to know my name so in the future they can recognize me, see me somewhere, and they’ll remember back to this camp.”

Still, even with the pressure to make the most of the opportunity, many of the invites agreed that it’s best to just keep things simple, try hard, and enjoy the moment.

“I just want to play as hard as I can and have fun,” said Joey Diamond of Long Beach.

Diamond’s hard work paid off on Saturday night in the Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage.  In front of a crowd of almost 5,000 Long Islanders, including friends and family, Diamond put on a show, scoring a goal and making his presence known on the ice throughout the game. 

Danny Markowitz, an offensive defenseman from Jericho, also represented Long Island on the scoresheet, tallying the first goal of the game for the Orange team.  Markowitz started the play with an outlet pass to Casey Cizikas, the Islanders’ 4th round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft.  Markowitz then joined the rush, creating a two-on-one for the Orange team.  After gaining the offensive blue line, Cizikas sent the puck back to Markowitz on the left wing.  Markowitz did the rest, firing a quick wrist shot for the goal.

“Growing up on Long Island and going to games at the Coliseum and then getting to play here just makes scoring all the more sweet,” Markowitz said.  “Cizikas made a great play, drew the D-man and the goalie right over, and I just put it in.”

For Markowitz, scoring on the big stage at the Coliseum was the culmination of a lifetime of playing hockey on Long Island. 

“There’s a ton of great trainers and coaches here and you just have a great opportunity,” Markowitz said.  “I think [Long Island] is a very special place for hockey.”




J. Tavares 78 33 37 6 70
K. Okposo 79 22 42 -4 64
F. Nielsen 81 20 32 1 52
B. Nelson 81 26 14 -3 40
N. Leddy 81 5 35 -9 40
A. Lee 80 15 21 -2 36
J. Bailey 81 12 20 -7 32
C. Cizikas 80 8 21 4 29
R. Strome 71 8 20 -9 28
M. Grabovski 58 9 16 3 25
T. Greiss 23 11 4 .925 2.36
J. Halak 18 13 4 .919 2.30
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