The Islanders are surprising families going through tough times with free playoff tickets.  Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

Jon Ledecky was in his glory.

The co-owner of the Islanders spent the better part of Friday afternoon traveling Long Island’s roadways as part of the franchise’s “Surprise and Delight” visits.

He and team employees gave four families tickets to the Stanley Cup first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes at UBS Arena. Games 3 and 4 will be at UBS Arena.

Ledecky acknowledged that one of the people most responsible for the Islanders’ berth in the playoffs is Patrick Roy.

“We’re so happy that the team has made the playoffs and Patrick has done an excellent job with the players,” Ledecky told Newsday. “When you do your press conferences with him, you see his command of hockey and his command of the room and his command of really working with the players in a very positive way. I think Islanders Nation has adopted Patrick and we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”

Which is why Ledecky, along with team mascot Sparky the Dragon, team employees and a handful of media members, spent the day visiting four families who are facing physical, emotional and mental challenges as part of the Islanders’ “Hockey With a Heart” program.

The initiative is multi-pronged. According to Ledecky, during the regular season, 50 organizations are promoted on the UBS Arena scoreboard and are allowed to “go through the entire arena promoting their cause.” Those organizations work with Ann Rina, the Islanders’ director of community relations, to select families who need assistance.

“When we receive those messages, we reach out right away to see how we can help,” Rina said.

To that end, the Islanders chose Kevin Brohm of Merrick, 26-year-old Brendan Lauth of Holbrook, 12-year-old Anthony Musso of Kings Park and 15-year-old Dan Grogan of Farmingdale and their families and friends to offer playoff tickets and team merchandise.

Brohm has been fighting colon cancer for 2 1⁄2 years while raising his two children — 9-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Ben — as a single parent after his wife died unexpectedly in the fall. Lauth recently overcame leukemia. Musso had been hospitalized for an extended period and Grogan just finished chemotherapy treatments.

To keep the visits a surprise, the family members and friends did not clue in any of the four what was going to happen. Instead, they learned in real time when they opened the doors to their homes and were greeted by Ledecky, Sparky and a small battalion of Islanders staffers.

“I was just in shock,” Lauth said. “I didn’t even know how to react because you know I wasn’t expecting Sparky and Mr. Ledecky. I was expecting my family members to be at the door.”

At each stop, Ledecky took photos with the families and friends. He shared hugs with person after person. He listened to their stories. And he celebrated the fact that the Islanders are going to begin to play meaningful games with them.

“We are truly blessed as owners,” Ledecky said. “[Majority owner] Scott Malkin [and co-owners] Oliver Haarman, Dewey Shay, John Collins and myself — the ownership group — we just pinch ourselves every day and we have the opportunity to be the stewards of this incredible franchise that means so much to the community.”

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