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Fantucchio: So Long, Long Island

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Long Island felt alien to me when I first arrived three years ago. 

I had never been to the area beforehand, which is part of the reason why I chose to go to college at Hofstra University, nearly 200 miles away from home, where I knew no one and no one knew me. Looking back, I barely knew myself. 

What I did know was that I wanted to become a sports journalist by any means necessary. I eventually got there. But before I get to that, I must start with where I came from. 

I was a horrible student as a kid. Rarely did I bother to show up for school, and I was often late when I did. It was only by the skin of my teeth that I managed to graduate high school. Soon after, I began taking courses at a community college and working a job waiting tables on the side. Although I excelled at both, I was unfulfilled. 

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I took the time to re-examine my life, the path I had taken and the choices that determined it. I knew I wanted more for myself, but it took a while for me to figure out what exactly that meant.

So, without much of an idea of what I was looking for, I blindly began my search to transfer schools and chose to enroll at Hofstra in the fall of 2021. Feeling like I had wasted so much of my life up until that moment, I dove head-first into my second chance. 

I joined the student newspaper, the Hofstra Chronicle, as well as the school’s radio station, WRHU. I didn’t consider the work I was doing all that special, but for the first time, it was work I genuinely cared about and only wanted to do more. 

I got that chance when I was asked to be one of three producers for the New York Islanders radio network for the 2022-23 season. By the end of that season, Dan Kingerski hired me to cover the Islanders for National Hockey Now. 

There was so much I wanted to do during my first year on the beat, but quickly realized those aspirations were far more than what I was capable of while still a full-time student. I fell short of my own expectations and was left humbled time and time again as I learned what it really takes to be a beat reporter. 

Having learned those lessons and without anything else holding me back,  I now feel ready to take my next step as I switch over to covering the Boston Bruins

Before I do, there are so many people I need to thank. 

Thank you to Dan Kingerski and the rest of the National Hockey Now team. Your support and trust in me this past year have been immense, and to take on this new role is truly an honor.

Thank you to my fellow writers on the Islanders beat; Andrew Gross, Arthur Staple, Ethan Sears, Stefen Rosner, Joe Pantorno and Scott Charles, all of whom do incredible work and whose example has left a lasting impression on me. 

Thank you to the New York Islanders, their players, coaches, executives and public relations staff, especially Kimber Auerbach, Jesse Eisenberg and Julia Winberg. The opportunity you’ve afforded me over the last year has been a dream come true and the privilege of a lifetime. 

There are many, many more people who deserve thanks. Those of you know who you are. I love you all, and none of this would’ve been possible without you. 

Finally, I must thank you, Long Island.

You helped me find myself, and that is what I am most thankful for.

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