For one night only, the New York Islanders brought their infamous Fisherman logo (a.k.a. the Fishsticks) out of mothballs, as modeled by team captain John Tavares on Tuesday before facing the Florida Panthers.
(Not to be confused with this John Tavares Fishsticks Jersey Foul, which really shouldn’t exist in nature.)
Why? Well, we assumed it was some promotional deal with Gorton’s or Aquafresh, but it turns out is part of their season-long farewell to Nassau Coliseum and a chance to raise some money for charity, as the Islanders auctioned off the players’ jerseys and fans who won the auctions will pick them up at the game.
The Fishsticks jersey was worn from 1995-97 by the Islanders, part of a rebranding of the struggling franchise that failed harder than Mike Milbury as the team’s GM, and that’s saying something. The colors were mocked. The logo was mocked. They whole thing was a disaster, although they wore it well as a last-place team.
The end of the jerseys in Fall 1997 was rather dramatic. From the Islanders, in a 2010 story:
Rookie right-winger Steve Webb stood at center ice wearing the infamous fisherman jersey of 1995-97. The teal, blue and orange jersey has a grimacing fisherman logo with giant letters reading Islanders across the chest, and waving stripes around the bottom.
“There was actually a lot of energy in the building, going out onto the ice,” said Webb. “Actually, I was a little nervous not really knowing what I was supposed to do. Skate to center ice, rip it off and then what? I didn’t really have a script or anything so I didn’t really know what to expect.”
Webb reached up to his chest and ripped fisherman jersey off of his back, revealing a similar jersey with the original Island logo and NY hockey stick, instead of a fisherman.
“I skated out there all alone and ripped it off and the people loved it. It was exciting. The fans were very excited. The place erupted. And again, the fans were very enthusiastic to get back to the original jersey.”
Not only were they enthusiastic, but it also brought an end to the “No more fish sticks” chant.
“When the fans started really chanting ‘no more fish sticks’, it was the loudest cheer in the building and that’s what they were cheering for, not the production on the ice, but getting rid of the jersey logo,” Webb said. “You could tell it was affecting the way they [the fans] thought and the way they viewed the team.”
So why bring them back during such a great season for the Islanders? Well, it’s just for warm-ups. And they aren’t the full jerseys, with the ugly teal. So maybe they won’t be dragged to the ocean floor by the Fisherman this time.
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