Damien Woody's journey to Wednesday night's Isles-Leafs game all started with a tweet.
A week ago, Woody, the two-time Super Bowl champion offensive lineman-turned ESPN analyst, aired his frustration with New York sports.
To summarize, he was disappointed that New York wasn't fielding winning teams, despite having two of each in the four major North American leagues.
Well, with one exception, the New York Islanders.
Woody's mentions blew up with Islanders fans letting him know the team was on a serious heater, having won nine-straight games at the time.
"My Twitter feed got flooded by a bunch of Islanders fans cause usually the Islanders and Jets kind of go together," Woody, a former New York Jet from 2008-11, said. "They were like 'D Wood, you gotta check out the Islanders' cause at the time they were on a nine-game winning streak. Then the team chimed in and said 'don't forget about us, we're doing pretty good over here.'"
He took the Islanders up on their offer to come watch Wednesday's game, but on the condition that he could bring some fans with him. He held a contest via Instagram, inviting eight fans to join him for the night in his suite.
"If you're going to do it, you might as well go all-in with it," Woody said outfitted in a number 67 Isles jersey. "I figure I'll be a fan all the way with the jersey, hat and everything else."
Woody was admittedly more of a casual hockey fan, but Wednesday's experience likely changed that. The lineman sat on the glass for Mathew Barzal's opening goal, learned the Yes! Yes! Yes! chant, tossed t-shirts to the crowd, met Sparky, appeared on MSG's second-intermission show, met Olympians Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps and more. Everywhere he went, Isles fans stopped him and asked for pictures. As the newest member of the Isles family he happily obliged.
"First Islander game, the fan experience has been great," Woody said. "When you're right there in the stadium, you just have a different appreciation for the game. That's what it's been like for me watching this team. They seem like they're well coached. They're very skilled. They move on the ice really fast. Anything that's fast, I'm all in."
As a former lineman, he also appreciated the physicality of the game.
"Just seeing these guys slam up against the glass, I'm like 'these guys are still playing?' That's not even the half of it. I like a little violence."
The Islanders rewarded Woody with a win on Wednesday, sending him and his family home happy. And on the ride back, he took to social media, where this whole Isles journey started and showed the team some love. He wrote on Instagram:
"Boy talk about a game! Thank you @ny_islanders for being gracious enough to provide a wonderful fan experience! The Barn was rockin tonight and I'm all in on the Orange & Blue!"