Throughout Joey Diamond’s childhood, he would come to the Nassau Coliseum to watch the Islanders.
Now, as a 23 year-old, he’s still coming to the Coliseum — but now he’s on the ice instead of in the stands.
Diamond, a Long Beach native, took to the ice Tuesday for the first day of the 2013 Islanders Mini Camp, his first camp as a member of the organization. Diamond signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Islanders in April.
“This is the building I knew and grew up coming to so it’s very exciting for me to be a part of this organization now,” Diamond said.
After finishing up his college career with Maine this year, Diamond joined the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers — the Islanders minor league affiliate — near the end of the season, tallying five points in 10 games. Though he led Maine with 14 goals this season, he was known for something different in college.
Diamond loved to mix it up with opposing players and his scrappy style often landed him in the penalty box. In fact, he might have landed in the penalty box too much — he ended his career at Maine as the all-time leader with 467 penalty minutes.
“Leading the team in penalty minutes — you look at my size and people don’t believe it,” the 5-7 Diamond said. "My game, the way I play, is more molded towards the pro game than college and I think that was one of the main reasons I lead Maine in penalty minutes.”
Though he’s only been a professional for a few months, Diamond has already sensed the difference between college and the pros.
“You make a mistake in the pros, they’re going to capitalize on it,” Diamond said. “You didn’t always have that in college or in juniors, so you have to be more aware of your positioning and stuff like that.”
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