With the recently released New York Islanders alternate jerseys making waves amongst the team’s fanbase, there has been a great deal of discussion about just where the new sweater ranks amongst the previous efforts from the team.
The Islanders have an interesting history when it comes their uniforms, and so with this latest re-design, we look to provide an answer to the question “what is the best Islanders jersey?”
Black and New York sports do not mix: just ask the Knicks and Mets who have both recently ditched the use of black within their logos and uniforms and returned to their original colors. Apparently the Islanders of 2011 felt that it was necessary to follow the lead of their borough brethren and introduce what can only charitably be called an absolute disaster.
Such a prominent use of black and grey, with an astoundingly boring depiction of the Islanders word mark combined to create what many derisively called the Islanders “lacrosse” jersey.
The only real tie-in with the previous looks for the Islanders are the two logo patches featured on the shoulders. The alumni despised them, and the players must have subconsciously worked at getting rid of monstrosities as well, sporting an 8-11-5 record while wearing them. The day they were retired, March 24th, 2014, should be an official day of celebration for Islanders fans everywhere.
8. The Fisherman:
Ah the fisherman; this infamous redesign has certainly not faded into the past, as nearly every change the Islanders present to their overall look at some point has the following sentence going for it; “Well, at least it’s not the fisherman jersey!” To say the 1990’s was a tumultuous time for the Islanders would be an understatement, with the exception of the miracle run of 1993, the team’s descent into mediocrity began in full force during the decade.
So in an attempt to shake things up, Islanders ownership decided a brand new look was in order, and not only a new look….but a new logo as well. And the results of that initiative came with the fisherman. To be fair, there were some very… shall we say interesting design choices that were featured by NHLers in the 90s, so the addition of teal and the sweeping wave lines weren’t all that unique.
So taken strictly from a design perspective, the jerseys weren’t successful. And of course we get to the fisherman himself; while I applaud the idea to continue honoring the nautical roots of Long Island, the logo lacks any sense of threat or motion. The chant of “fishsticks” was used quite often, referring to the similarities between the logo and the mascot for Gorton’s Seafood .
Islanders fans were incredibly proud of the tradition and history of winning that had been established during the dynasty years, and to watch the team seemingly want to eradicate any trace of what came before was a slap in the face to them. After getting pounded in the public, management decided to make a concession to the fans with the uniforms, but we will save that for later.
7. 2002 Alternates:
How dare you? How can you not have the “Wave” jersey in this spot? I will admit…I had a tough time deciding what to slot in the six position. But hear me out; as much as I enjoy the use of orange for the Islanders, and even with it having been around since the beginning, there’s that old phrase that comes to mind; “Too much of a good thing.”
The odd, diamond shapes that come shooting in from both sides of the jersey are an attempt to jazz things up, but come off as more a distraction than anything else. Then there’s the logo, which doesn’t nearly pop as well as it does on other sweaters, because of the surrounding abundance of orange.
One would have thought that making a primarily orange jersey for the Islanders would be a slam dunk, but we see here that design is just as important, and for all the good intentions that was present here, it’s an overall misstep.
6. The Wave:
Once Islanders ownership was sick of taking PR beatings for the fisherman, they decided to capitulate (sort of) and removed the logo from the jerseys. Taking its place, much to the delight of fans, was the traditional logo. Now, merely bringing back the “NY” design wasn’t enough to salvage the look of the jerseys; the colors and waves were still present but it was a step in the right direction. The “Wave” jerseys get the nod over their 2002 counterparts by a small margin; frankly the “Wave” sweaters have a better flow and you can see why certain choices were made, even if the choices were flawed from the beginning.
However, the inclusion of the original logo is the ultimate deciding factor here, along with a small hint of nostalgia to barely push it above the 02 alternates.
Oh Reebok, what were you thinking? When the edge style jerseys made their way into the league in 2008, the Islanders introduced changes to their uniforms as well. The result was taking what had been a mostly traditional sweater for the previous decade, and adding colors and paneling in places where they shouldn’t have been. These jerseys received a derisive name from the fans; the “clownfish” jerseys.
They do get points for still using the traditional Islanders logo, and for not going too crazy with a third alternate ala 2007. But the sleeves just do not work at all: Again when the Islanders utilize too much orange, things generally do not work out.
As you can see from the image above, the sleeves received most of the attention, adding curves to the formerly straight stripes, and making the primary color of the sleeves orange with the middle paneling altering between white and royal blue depending on the home and road set.
I’ll speak to the overall color decisions in an upcoming spot; not the best but decidedly better off than the fisherman and wave look.