On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders not only played their first home game of 2023 but welcomed their one millionth fan to UBS Arena.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 10, 2023
And what were the odds that the one millionth fan would be attending her first-ever game at UBS?
One could say one in a million? Another would say that math may not be our strongsuit.
But that was the reality for Jennifer Belechto, her husband Randy, and their two daughters on Tuesday night.
“I’m a little bit in shock,” Jennifer Belechto, the one millionth fan said. “It’s our first time here. Longtime Islander fans, the kids too. So we’re excited, and then we walked into this, so it’s even more exciting.”
Both Jennifer and Randy have been lifelong Islanders fans, with Jennifer’s father owning a ticket package.
“We used to go to, and now we’re happy to bring our two daughters here,” Randy said.
The state-of-the-art arena in Belmont Park opened its doors for the 2021-22 NHL season, becoming the new home for the New York Islanders after a few years of bouncing around from Uniondale and Brooklyn.
Randy would root for this team wherever they were but is happy that they finally have a brand new home, and he’s glad to be in attendance.
“It’s great. I mean, I’ve always loved the islanders,” Randy said. “And I feel like no matter where the Islanders play, I’m going to love them. And you know, it’s great to be in this building, though, and see them play.”
“I mean, it’s a longer drive from Islip, but it’s certainly more beautiful.”
On hand for the special event was Sparky the Dragon, Nyisles, as well as owner Jon Ledecky.
“I think it’s great that the one millionth fan walking through, it’s their first time here as a family,” Ledecky said. “That says that more and more fans are hearing about how great UBS Arena is, and they’re coming in droves.”
“It’s wonderful to have such an incredible base of season ticket members and fans and families because once they come, they’re going to come back again and again.”
Jennifer and her family won a $5,000 Isles Lab store gift card, free beer for a year, an Islanders team-signed jersey, 1,000 Mega Million lottery tickets, and much more.
That’s a heck of a prize package.
Ledecky is always involved with the fan base, walking around the concourse and genuinely listening to what Islanders fans have to say about the building and the team. While he cannot help the team on the ice, he does what he can to make UBS Arena the best place for the fan base and loves that they speak their minds.
“What I love about our fan base is they love what we’re doing. But, the but is so important because you can always improve. And that’s what this is all about,” Ledecky said. “Sitting in the owner’s box is a wonderful thing. The one millionth fan, they’ll sit in my box, but I want to be walking around and finding out how we can be better.
“I can’t impact the product on the ice right now, but I can impact the product for the fans, and that’s what I want to do.”