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Islanders owner Jon Ledecky surprises families going through trying times with playoff tickets, swag packs

Ahead of the New York Islanders’ quest for a Stanley Cup, some of the Long Island faithful got the surprise of a lifetime on Friday.

The Isles are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a third year in a row, and the sixth time in seven years.

It wasn’t an easy trip, though. They fired head coach Lane Lambert and brought in Patrick Roy in a stunning move, and it worked pretty well, as they went 20-12-5 after Roy took over.

There’s no fanbase quite like the hockey fanbase, and it holds especially true for the Islanders.

So, owner Jon Ledecky, the uncle of Olympic swimmer Katie, decided to give back to fans who have been through tough times recently for what the team called “Surprise $ Delight” visits.

Ledecky, who became the organization’s majority owner in 2016, traveled to several Long Island homes of fans to hook them up with playoff tickets and swag packs.

One of the fans Ledecky visited was 26-year-old Brenden Lauth at his home in Holmbrook, who says he was motivated by the Isles’ roller coaster season to get through his leukemia battle.

Jon Ledecky at Isles press conference

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“It’s actually funny. I recently had been thinking about it, the season, the team, and all the adversity that they went through, it just helped me get through it,” Lauth said. “The team was struggling during some moments in the season, and it was great to see how they ended up overcoming a lot of that stuff, a lot of the adversity. And now, to find a way to be here, be in the playoffs, a lot of that was really a driving factor of helping me get through a lot of things.

“I watched a lot of games with my dad. My dad and I, because I couldn’t really go out too much, my dad and I would spend time together watching the games and enjoying ourselves when we were watching them.”

“They’re scoring the ultimate goal,” Ledecky said. “When they recover from GI surgery or colon cancer or from other diseases and other things that are going on in their lives, the loss of loved ones, the loss of parents at a young age. It’s showing that they want to put the puck in the net, and that they’re still here, and they’re going to fight every single day until they get that victory.

“What’s great is the spirit and the lack of self-pity and the fact that these folks are so joyful when Sparky shows up and rings that doorbell. They’re so happy, they can’t believe it. You look at the surprises on their faces, whether their 12-year-olds today or 26 -year-olds today, the look of surprise and delight on their faces really touches my heart, and I know it touches the heart of all of our fans, too.”

Jon Ledecky cheering Islanders on

Since owning the team, Ledecky has headstarted the 2021 opening of UBS Arena at Belmont Park and has been building up the surrounding areas. Earlier this season, the team opened “The Park,” a state-of-the-art hangout spot with two pond hockey rinks, carnival games, food trucks, fire pits, heated igloos and other backyard games behind the arena where fans can bring their own six-pack of beer.

Game 1 of the Isles-Canes series begins at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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