For Tony Romano
, the 2009 Islanders Mini-Camp is a homecoming. Romano, who is a native of Smithtown, is thrilled to be back on Long Island, playing for the team he’s idolized since he was 5-years-old.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” Romano said. “I actually have some pictures of myself all dressed up in Islanders gear and I remember asking my mom: ‘Is this what I’m going to look like when I’m an Islander one day?’ So I’m almost there, I just have a little more work to do.”
Romano—who attended St. Anthony’s High School—was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and went on to play hockey at Cornell University in 2006. That season he compiled nine goals and 10 assists in 29 games.
He moved on to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League the following season, where he totaled 22 points in 66 games. But it was last season when Romano blossomed into a first-rate prospect. Playing for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, Romano led the team in scoring with 36 goals and 33 assists in 65 games.
Last month, the Islanders traded center Ben Walter to the Devils in exchange for Romano—who says it was a dream come true.
Romano is taking part in the Islanders mini-camp, where he will show-off his impressive speed and skills for Head Coach Scott Gordon and the Islanders coaching staff. The long-time Islanders fan then hopes to realize his dream to someday put on a regular-season Islanders jersey.
“I’ve put in a lot of time through the years,” Romano said. “I’ve worked hard all my life, and to possibly be one phone call away from playing with them is a great feeling. I’m a hometown kid and this is the team I grew up idolizing. Pierre Turgeon was my favorite player, and I remember going to the game when they retired Bryan Trottier’s number. It’s just real comforting to be here and be close to home.”NOTES
- Day 2 of Camp is being played at a much faster pace. There are a lot of battle drils and one-on-one confrontations, in order to raise the energy level.
- Shuhei Kuji is really impressing with his speed. Kuji, who plays for Wasata University in Japan and for the Japanese National Team, was invited to Mini-Camp by Islanders GM Garth Snow.
- Goalie pairings have returned to normal on Day 2, after a small problem on Friday—Kevin Poulin's equipment was nowhere to be found. It arrived thanks to a Fed Ex delivery on Saturday.
- Group Leaders who brought groups out to Islanders games and those who have signed up for the 2009-10 season were invited to a bar-b-que following Saturday's practice. All of the players came out to eat with the fans, sharing burgers, hot dogs and laughs.
- All of the prospects will attend Saturday night's Mets–Reds game at Citi Field.
CLICK HERE for video from Day 2 of Mini-Camp
- IMPORTANT ADVISORY FOR TOMORROW: The Islanders will be issueing a limited number of wristbands for admission into the Prospect Mini-Camp open practice at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset tomorrow, July 12th. Wristbands will be issued starting at 9am and fans are encouraged to arrive early as admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans must have a wristband in order to gain access to the rink to watch the open practice. Additional parking is available at the Syosset Long Island Railroad station just east of the practice facility.
CLICK HERE for stories, photos and video from Day 1 of Mini-Camp.