Long Beach's Joey Diamond is living the dream.
Fresh out of a successful four-year career at the University of Maine, the former Long Beach Marine is ready for his first shot at the pro level starting at Islanders Prospect Camp at the Nassau Coliseum.
"For me it’s a dream come true," Diamond said. "The Islanders were my favorite team growing up. It’s a really cool feeling to be part of this organization now."
As a member of the Long Beach HS hockey team, Diamond recalls playing for a Nassau County championship at Iceworks in Syosset, which is where the New York Islanders practice. He owes a lot to his high school career, which he said made him the player that he is today.
"I had a great coach in Joe Brand," Diamond said of his former coach. "They really molded me into the hockey player that I am with my scrappy style. They took care of me in High School and made sure that I got out of Long Beach and took hockey into where I am now."
That scrappy style, is reminiscient of former Islander Mick Vukota, made him the University of Maine's all-time penalty minutes leader with 467 PIM in just 135 games played.
"I like that rough and tough style," Diamond said. "It’s a hard way to play, but it’s a very fun way to play."
He also still keeps in touch with his former Coach Brand.
"Oh yeah I still keep in touch with Coach," Diamond said. "He has a deli in Long Beach, ‘Brand’s Deli.’"
"I’m trying to get a sandwich named after me," Diamond joked.
How about a free sandwich?
"It depends how I play," Diamond said while laughing.
Unlike some of the other Long Island locals like Jimmy Mazza (Kings Park), Ben Rosen (Syosset) and Stephen Alonge (Lynbrook), Diamond can call himself an official member of the New York Islanders after signing a one-year contract with the team in April.
Diamond had a successful amateur tryout with the Islanders minor league affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, scoring two goals, three assists and compiling 27 penalty minutes in 10 games upon completion of his college season.
The impressive stint in Bridgeport was enough to ink his first professional deal.
"I was really excited to finally get to the pro game," Diamond said. "I was happy that I was able to get a couple of games under my belt and it gives me something to look forward to heading into next year."
This isn't Diamond's first prospect camp with the Islanders - he was invited in 2010. However, he's still trying to take as much of this week as his first goaround with the squad.
"I just want to have fun out there," Diamond said. "It’s great to interact with the guys and work hard out there."
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano stressed the need for locals like Diamond to just enjoy themselves.
“I just want them to have some fun and enjoy it,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Thursday night I’m sure they’ll be buying a few tickets (for family) to come watch the game. It’s a great experience for some of these kids, especially for them to come to a camp and not living too far away.”
It bodes true for Diamond, who still lives in Long Beach and sees many of the guys he played with.
"I see everyone I grew up with. It’s nothing different now."
There is one thing that's different though. Instead of a Marine, he can call himself an Islander.
That's a dream come true.