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The Vukota Tradition

Mick Vukota's son Alex is playing in the Islanders Mini Camp this week

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

There was a familiar, unique name on the back of an Islanders jersey at Thursday's Blue and White Scrimmage. 

Alex Vukota, son of popular Islanders enforcer Mick Vukota, was skating for Team Blue/White, carrying on the family Isles tradition, even if just for a scrimmage and mini camp. 

"I'm very proud of him," Mick Vukota said while keeping a watchful eye from the stands of Northwell Health Ice Center. "The fact that he's got the opportunity to come to the mini camp experience the tradition and respect of this organization, absolutely means a lot."

Mick Vukota played 10 seasons for the Islanders from 1987-97, becoming a fan favorite for protecting the likes of Pat LaFontaine, Pierre Turgeon and countless others as a iron-fisted enforcer. 

Alex was born on Long Island after Mick's final game with the team and grew up in Martha's Vineyard, but found his own way back to Long Island. The defenseman spent last season with the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, with six points (2G, 4A) and 28 penalty minutes in 35 games. 

Alex, now 20, said he had an idea of who his father was when he was a kid, but now that he's living in Garden City, it's pretty clear what Mick meant to the Islanders fans. 

"Honestly, not until I came out to Long Island is when I really heard all about him and how popular he was," Alex said. "It's cool, but it's also tough because you want to live up to the name, but I think it's cool, everyone telling me about him. It's good to hear."

Growing up Vukota meant lots of stories about Al Arbour, the Islanders and learning to play a tough game. 

"I raised young men to defend their teammates and respect their team, but obviously the game has changed a lot and I hope they never had the mentality I had," Mick Vukota said. "But they are hard working, respectful, good teammate type of character and I'm proud of them immensely."

Alex said he sees it a little more like a Tie Domi-Max Domi situation, where he can play physical, but is trying to leave his mark another way.  

"I definitely play physical and every time I get the chance I want to play the body and get a big hit," he said "But I try to generate offense every time I touch the puck and create chances on defense." 

Alex's brother is slated to play for the Jr. Islanders next season, so two of the Vukota boys will be on Long Island. And while there's a familiar name on the ice, expect to see a familiar one in the stands and around the Island. 

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