Before the days of UBS Arena, where seeing stars such as mega-star Shakira, and TV host Carson Daly has become a nightly occurrence, celebrity appearances at New York Islanders home games were far from common. We all loved the Nassau Coliseum for what it was, but Uniondale, NY, couldn't attract musicians, actors, or athletes the same way a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on Broadway did.
That's why it was a big deal when model and actress Christie Brinkley, Long Island's own "Uptown Girl," started attending Islanders games in the early 2000s, wearing orange and blue sweaters, dropping ceremonial face-offs, and appearing in team commercials.
Model Christie Brinkley explains how she became a NY Islanders fan
On Sunday, the 69-year-old actress and model appeared at a panel during Toronto's Fan Expo Canada for her role in National Lampoon's Vacation. Being in Canada, naturally there was a hockey question during the Q&A as one fan wanted to know how she started rooting for the Isles.
"My son said, 'Mom, do you think you could take me to an ice hockey game?'" Brinkley explained in the article published in Yahoo!. "He called me while I was on a set modelling and I said to my photographer, 'My son wants me to take him to an ice hockey game and I'm not sure how you find the tickets and stuff, and how do we do that?"
Luckily for Brinkley, his photographer knew people.
"He said, 'Oh, Charles Wang (former Isles owner) is my next-door neighbor. I'll let him know.' So before I even finished that shot, he had already called up Charles Wang, and Charles Wang said, 'Come down to the Islanders. ... You'll be in my box. I'll give you a place on the corner.' It was like a dream come true. My son couldn't even believe it when we got there, and we had so much fun."
It was Brinkley's now 28-year-old son Jack Paris Brinkley, who kept the Sports Illustrated cover girl coming to games, leading to her becoming more involved with the team. "Then I started doing their commercials, and I had a blog," Brinkley continued. "It turned into a whole thing, and for the next couple of years, I couldn't walk down the street without people going, 'Islanders!'"
In the aforementioned commercial, Brinkley opens up the ad by saying "You may know me as a cover girl, beauty and fitness expert, environmentalist or a Mom, but what you probably didn't know is, I'm a hockey fan and I love the New York Islanders."
And now you know how it happened.