Two years ago today, my life changed forever.
I’ve told the story probably 100 times. It comes up naturally in conversation when you’re dating someone. People will ask, “So, how did you guys meet?” I reply, “At an Islanders game.”
When I moved to New York in the fall of 2014, I had no idea this fantastic opportunity with MSG Networks would lead to meeting my best friend and future husband.
On March 28, 2015 the Islanders had a day game against the Anaheim Ducks. I was really excited because my Aunt Heidi and Uncle Chris were visiting from New Jersey.
At some point during the first period, Stan Fischler’s intern Sarah came over and said a friend of hers was at the game. “You remember Vinny, right?” I did.
He managed to get Sarah to the Isles-Rangers game earlier that season during a crazy snow storm. She went on to explain that he was at the game with a big group of friends and one of them really wanted to meet me. “Of course,” I said. “Just remind me when we wrap up the post game show.”
The Isles lost 3-2. After the final post game segment, Sarah came back over and asked if I could take a picture with the guy she mentioned earlier. Of course! The next two minutes happened in slow motion.
I remember turning around and seeing Brendan Gorey for the first time. If it was a movie, music would play and fireworks would go screeching towards the sky. I couldn’t speak. He was looking at me and I was just smiling. We introduced ourselves and I could tell he too was having a hard time coming up with the right words … so, I jumped in and said, “let’s just take a selfie.”
Hours later at dinner, my Aunt Heidi said, “Can we talk about the very handsome man you took a picture with after the game?” I started smiling and said, “Yeah, he was really handsome!” “You better get intern Sarah on that,” Heidi replied.
So I texted Sarah that night. The next day she gave me Brendan’s phone number and I texted to see if he wanted to grab drinks sometime. When he asked when I was free, I replied “Monday, Friday and Wednesday, April 8th.” Yup, it was the height of the hockey season. Our first date was set for the next night in Huntington.
We actually ran right into each other on the sidewalk outside of Besitos, where we planned to have drinks. Before I knew it, we were the last two people in the restaurant. We walked outside and parted ways at that same spot we met out front. Brendan made an attempt at the first kiss … I went for the cheek. We laugh about it regularly. Besitos means ‘kisses’ in Spanish.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, when the man I love brought me to that same spot on the sidewalk in Huntington. He dropped to one knee and my world started to spin. I was trying to take in everything. Brendan told me he wanted to spend his life with me. I couldn’t contain my excitement and was screaming, “Oh my God!”
A photographer Brendan hired, captured the perfect moment. I said, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” A car drove by honking with a man shouting, “LET’S GO ISLANDERS!” It all came together full circle.
That wasn’t the only surprise. Brendan arranged for both our families to be waiting just up the road at another favorite place. I’m pretty sure all of the North Shore heard my screams of excitement when I walked into Bravo Nader.
My parents along with my brother and his fiancé were there with Brendan’s entire family. They were in on the whole surprise. I was so happy to share the day with all of them.
Brendan is the most amazing man and I feel beyond blessed that God brought us together. But he had some help.
I’m giving Sarah Holzberg and Vinny Volpe the first assist. Stan Fischler asked if the scoresheet could show that he had the second assist. After further review, Stan along with Heidi and Chris Clarke get second assists.
They say the hockey world is a family and it really is. My MSG and Islanders family made Brendan and I feel so special yesterday. This job has brought me more happiness and love than I ever expected.
Rick DiPietro disrupts the intermission report to congratulate Shannon Hogan on getting engaged this past weekend.
Brendan and I are over the moon with excitement and can’t wait for the adventures ahead. Thanks to all of Isles Nation for the overwhelming amount of well-wishes ❤️