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A Sense of Community

Jon Ledecky, co-owner of the New York Islanders, stressed the importance of community and shared experience during a free-wheeling fireside chat with EisnerAmper partner Michael Breit at the firm’s Long Island Business Summit held on October 30 at the Old Westbury Golf and Country Club.

Jon initially realized he wanted to be an owner of a professional sports team very early in life, and he says it was because of the shared community of watching live events. And while acknowledging that viewing habits have changed with the advent of digital and social media and the advances that allow people to watch a game anywhere, sports are still watched live. “Nobody binge-watches 40 hockey games,” he said. In a somber moment, he noted that sense of the importance of a close community was something he shared with his predecessor owner, the late Charles Wang. He told the crowd he “feels truly grateful” that he was chosen to succeed Mr. Wang as the team owner, and that he learned a great deal by witnessing his compassion and his sense of the importance of the team rather than focusing on individuals alone.

Some other valuable points:

  • Long Islanders will see real economic impact when the new Belmont Park Arena is constructed; estimated completion October 2021. The development has provided Ledecky the opportunities to meet and have discussions with the nearby communities as he attempts to address any concerns they might have.
  • He’s very happy to have the opportunity to bring in two of the team’s most recent additions: new head coach Barry Trotz, who just last year won the Stanley Cup with his former team, and Lou Lamoriello, president of hockey operations and general manager, who has three cups of his own and is known as someone who stresses the importance of the team and community.
  • The New York Islanders are very proud of their commitment to diversity and inclusion and recently became the first pro sports team to participate in the LGBT Network’s National Coming Out Day and will have their first LGBTQ Pride Night this season. They have also announced a partnership with educational technology company EVERFI, Inc. to launch Honor Code, an initiative that will bring a new digital, anti-bullying program to Long Island schools in an effort to empower students and teach leadership skills. Additionally, U.S. Women’s National Team hockey player and Olympic Gold Medalist AJ Mleczko recently joined MSG Networks as a studio analyst for Islanders games.

As Ledecky closed out the Summit he left attendees with a few motivational ideas, reminding everyone to be 1,000% in tune and in touch with their communities as well as the idea that no one will remember the individual person whom impacted the community but they will remember their legacy.

Melissa Gottlieb is a Financial Services Group Senior Manager focusing on broker dealers, asset management companies and private equity funds.

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