WILKES-BARRE TWP. —When Tom Kostopoulos stepped onto the Mohegan Sun Arena ice on Friday night, he had a flashback of sorts.
All the way back to November of 1999 when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins played their first home game in franchise history against the Kentucky Thoroughblades.
Kostopoulos was a rookie fresh out of juniors, embarking on a career that would total more than 1,000 professional games.
Fourteen years later, Kostopoulos' memories of that first home game are vivid.
It was our first home game playing in this building and it was something special, he said after Friday's 4-1 win over Manchester. It's something I'll never forget. I think Greg Crozier scored two goals that night.
Now, 1,000 games later, Kostopoulos' career has come full circle. He reflected on the advice that Tyler Wright – the first captain in franchise history, gave him back in 1999.
I remember Tyler Wright telling me it goes by quick, so enjoy it. That's something I'll share with some of the young guys here.
In his first three games during his second stint with the Penguins, Kostopoulos has two assists and is a plus-2 skating on a line with Zach Sill and Adam Payerl.
He's enjoying playing with his new linemates and he's cherishing the chance to be a Penguin again.
On Friday, he got to share with the fans at the place where his career began.
It was fun playing in the building again and seeing all the fans and familiar faces, Kostopoulos said. It was fun being back here again.