Jordan Eberle got his first cheer from Islanders fans on Saturday - and he didn't even have to lace up his skates.
Eberle, the Islanders' marquee offseason acquisition, got an ovation from season-ticket holders and a Q&A and meet-and-greet at Northwell Health Ice Center, simply for just for walking on stage.
"There's a lot of passion that's for sure," Eberle said. "It's an amazing following they have, it's no surprise because it's a pretty historic organization. I think fans really revel in it, so it was awesome to be a part of it today."
Chris King moderated the event, asking Eberle a series of questions from the Isles season ticket holders. From his feelings on becoming an Islander - he's excited - as to why he chose the number seven - it was his number in juniors - the fans got to know the two-time all-star. Things got pretty in-depth, even diving into Eberle's favorite cereal, Vector. (If you don't know it, it's because it's Canadian.)
"It was cool because you got to find out a little bit more about Jordan, who he is," Tom LoFaso said. "It's really cool that he seems really excited to be here, which is awesome."
"He seems really interested and genuinely appreciative of the fans," LoFaso added. "For him to say our fan base as a whole is one of the best he's ever seen is really testament to how our fan base acts."
Eberle stayed and signed an autograph for every season ticket holder in attendance on Saturday, signing jerseys, shirts, hockey cards and helmets. Dennis and Erica Lemke, season-ticket holders and lifelong fans already had their kids, Hailey and Dylan decked out in Eberle gear and we're thrilled to meet and welcome the newest Islander.
"He seems to be down-to-earth, like most of the players are in the NHL. I think that's important," Lemke said. "He needs to see he has support here. He left a very good team up in Edmonton after seven years and I think the Islanders - with him - can make that turn."
The Lemke kids got their picture with Eberle, as did everyone in attendance. But Eberle was on the receiving end of a few gifts, too including a scarf from the Blue and Orange Army.
"It makes you feel good," Eberle said. "Any time you come to an organization that wants you and the fans are excited, it's awesome. I just want to get things started and produce for them."