Stephon Williams – Obtaining the Experience

Stephon Williams – Obtaining the Experience

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Stephon Williams taking a breather during Isles Mini-Camp

Stephon Williams taking a breather during Isles Mini-Camp

For most developing hockey players that have been drafted by an NHL team, the summer mini-camp is the place for them to show the powers that be – that they are improving and are worthy of the opportunity to grow and develop to be an eventual participant in the National Hockey League.  For 21 year old Stephon Williams, despite the fact of being drafted in the 2013 draft (4th round, 106th overall), this is his maiden voyage at camp.

“I had hip surgery in the summer last year, so I did not get the chance to experience this”, said Williams after his practice session at the Nassau Coliseum. “This is a great chance to feel a part of the organization, get to meet the guys and the coaching staff.  So it is a great couple of days so far, and I am looking forward to the game (Blue-White Game on Thursday night) and the rest of the week.”

Williams, in his second year at the Minnesota State University, his play according to him, “wasn’t as good as I wanted, but was definitely a learning experience.”  After a strong season where he was a First Team WCHA goaltender as a freshman, Williams only played 12 games last season with a 5-6-0 record with a GAG of 3.23 and a save percentage of 86.2. “Not every year will be what you wanted, but I am learning it and trying to handle it like a pro.”

Williams, moving on from his tough season in college, has really enjoyed the experience of his first NHL camp. “It’s been awesome.  Getting to meet new players, especially from all over the world (Sweden and Japan among the other countries represented).  Everyone is working hard.  It has been a real good time so far.”

Williams is also looking forward to getting a chance to play a game on the Coliseum Ice.  He is taking in all of the history of this building, as next season, the move will be made to Brooklyn for next year’s camp.

The 21 year old native of Fairbanks, Alaska, is working hard throughout the summer, with his plans to continue his off-season training at the Mankato, MN campus. “We want to get out of the first round of the playoffs (Minnesota State lost 2-1 to U-Mass Lowell)”, said Williams.  “We have goals for ourselves, and we want to get past that first round.  We are going to work hard on and off the ice to improve ourselves.”

Stephon after a save

Stephon after a save

Working hard, for Stephon, however has its price to pay.  Being an Alaskan, he is missing his fishing excursions  with his father.  Although he lives in the land of “10,000 lakes”, and will get the opportunity to dabble a little, there is nothing like fishing in the 49th state.  However, Williams is a true professional that wants to do whatever he can, in order to succeed moving forward.

Watching his determination on the ice yesterday, I believe that he will get the opportunity to do so.

Tomorrow, the Isles will play in their annual BLUE/WHITE game at the Coliseum.  Isles Talk will comment on the game on Friday.  Hope to see you there…

Josh Ho-Sang is quite interested in what the coaches have to say

Josh Ho-Sang is quite interested in what the coaches have to say

Other thoughts: Got the opportunity to see Josh Ho-Sang work with the coaches and players yesterday.  His stick wielding skills are “Tavares-like”, and you can see his vision as he is coming up the ice is not like most average players.  Defensively, this team is quite strong in the future with Reinhart, Pulock among others getting ready to move up to the next level.  The Islanders also brought an 18 year old from Japan (Yuri Terao), a rare Japanese invite to a NHL Camp, the 5’9″ 158lb Terao scored 11 points in 5 games in the World Under 18 tournament, and was voted an All-Star in said tournament.

Author

Gary Harding

Gary Harding is the Lead Writer of Isles Talk. A former President of the Islanders Booster Club, and a season ticket holder for over 24 years, Gary qualifies as a ‘long suffering’ Islander fan. He, and his wife, Claire, sit in row A of Section 317, and attend just about every game possible, as well as a few road games in the year, too. He has been a member of the“Islanders Blog Box” since 2008; a project that allows bloggers like him, to be able to obtain media credentials to Islander home games, and get the perspective of reporting a game, just as if he is a full blown member of the media. Starting in August of 2013, John Panarese and Gary are talk show hosts on SPORTS TALK 1240 - a Part of the Sports Radio New York group on WGBB AM-1240. John and Gary are on at least once a month - talking about New York Sports (with a little Islander influence). Gary, born and raised in Levittown, on Long Island, and worked for a major car rental company for almost 26 years, and now is a Process Improvement Analyst for Icon Central Laboratories. He has been married to Claire for 7 years. They met on a bus trip to see the Islanders play in Montreal. Gary also is a fan of the New York Mets, Long Island Ducks, New York Jets, Everton of the English Premier League, and is a big fan of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Gary is also an accomplished bowler, having achieved perfection on May 4th, 1994, by bowling a perfect 300 game. His highest league average ever was 219, and highest series was 798. Gary also just had weight loss surgery in May of 2013. In the four months following surgery, he has lost nearly 80 pounds, and feels great. For further information on bariatric surgery options, check out Long Island Obesity Surgery. Favorite Isles Moment – Everyone says the cups. They were great. However, I was not a season ticket holder, or going to the games, so my favorite, was the 1993 march to the semi’s – beating Washington and Pittsburgh – the best was seeing Darius Kasparitis punching Lemieux like a rented Mule! Funny how a few years later, they were teammates. Of course, Montreal had NINE guys on the ice when they scored in Overtime in Game 3 of the Semi-Finals. Favorite All time Isles player – Tie – Bossy and Trottier on Offense, and Glenn Healy at the net. (Remember Pens fans, Trottier TAUGHT Mario how to WIN!) Favorite Current Isles player – Okposo and JT – of course – with a close third to Michael Grabner; and with every day appreciating the play of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. This year, I am on the Matt Donovan bandwagon. (If I dont - his mother may hit go after me with a Skeet Gun!! LOL!) Favorite NHL City – Not Long Island – Vancouver with a close second to Ottawa – followed by Montreal (spot a pattern here?) Favorite player – not an Islander I like watching Ovie! – He is animated, funny and makes his mark. Also enjoy watching the Sedin twins play. Also - with his last name being the same as mine - Josh Harding of the Wild. Team I hate the most (what do you think?) Gary currently resides in Halesite, Long Island. His e-mail address is gharding14@gmail.com

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