So here we are, May 4th, the day right after the Islanders eventual fall to the Carolina Hurricanes. Rather than focus on the bad, which is quite obvious, I’m going to focus on the good that came out of this.

First, this year was truly amazing in the sense it brought hope to this franchise and gave us all fans something to look forward too. You never wanna talk about the off-season but facts are facts and its certainly going to be a busy one. I have complete and total faith in this organization to fix what needs fixed and to continue to make the team competitive and relevant. The future is bright. We need a center but our pipeline is insane and Barzy is only going to get better. He’s still a kid and I know how arrogant I was (and sometimes still) at that age. He’ll be fine. Barry Trotz, Lou Lamoriello, and everyone else know what needs to be done and it’ll happen. We got some of the best owners in the league and it glowingly showed from last off-season to this season, I expect it to keep rolling.

The biggest thing I want to do is recognize those that helped make this season so special for me.

First and foremost, my wife for dealing with my hockey problem and supporting the meetups and going only because she knows how much it means to me. Those tickets to the Caps game were truly one of the best birthday gifts. Second, my kid brother for also turning coat against the local Pittsburgh Penguins and following me in this journey. We finally got our first win together in Philly and it was a hugely memorable experience for me as a brother. Thirdly, my new friend Jay, the OG viewing member of the group. Never missed a Meetup, even when he was sick as dog. #onlydiehards. Can’t forget his family that also was there every step of the way and came to all the viewings as well. It means a ton to have that consistency and support from people I didn’t 6 months ago. So thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for coming every time and supporting like you guys do.

I also want to thank the rest of the meetup family for the support, the conversations, the laughs, the beer pics and everything else we’ve shared together. We’ve created a true friendship that will last for years to come. There’s so many of us now that it would take so long to individually thank you all but I have to recognize Devin and Mikey for reaching out and helping me the very evening I decided to start the group. You guys are cornerstone of the group and I truly appreciate what you guys have done and allowed me to do. Sorry for always blowing up our DM’s on Twitter Mikey, maybe this season we can work on it 🙂 James in DC and Bret of Philly, also thank you for having me out to your in-game viewings, awesome work fellas, can’t wait to see you all again. To Mike Carver, thank you for the shout-outs, the support, and the brief conversations we got to have at Philly. Loved meeting you and your family and I look forward to the next time.

Lastly, thank you to the New York Islanders. You guys all compiled an amazing season and defined “us against the world”. Nothing but heart every step of the way. Its brutal the way the season ended but there’s only 2 ways it could have. Thank you for making this first meetup season a success and bringing out the fans all over the world. That’s what the whole purpose was of starting these groups and it’s been beyond successful.

While talking about the Islanders, and this goes deep: thank you to Robin Lehner. You’ve been a huge inspiration to so many of us, and your story is a huge reason people got help they needed while also bringing mental health awareness to a large stage. I can’t begin to express how much you have touched this fan-base and I’m 100% that no matter what happens during this off-season you’ll continue to get the support from all of us. I know I’ll be wearing your jersey no matter what this coming season.

So that’s it. 2018-19 is over. We have a lot to look forward to. I have a lot of work to do but no matter what the isles meetups are going to grow and Pittsburgh will grow as well. It’s only a few hours removed from the defeating loss but I’m already really excited for the off-season, the upcoming season and beyond. I haven’t had this much fun with anything in years. 2019-20, here we come!