In the history of NHL hockey uniforms, few garner the absolute vitriol of fans in the same way that the fisherman logo uniforms of the New York Islanders do.
Pretty much the entire 1990’s should be washed from our collective uniforms loving minds, especially in the NHL. There were far too many failed experiments, typically with third jerseys. There were so many notable epic failures, and often the Islanders new design falls into this category, along with the LA Kings Burger King thirds, the never-used St. Louis Blues trumpet blasphemies, the Wild Wing Mighty Ducks third. There are so many bad jerseys from this time. The list goes on and on.
I don’t believe that the Isles new uniforms deserve to be lumped into this category. I will defend them. In fact, I kind of like them, and would love to get my hands on one. Secretly, I hope that they will bring them out of mothballs one of these days and wear them as their new third jerseys, or for a special throwback occasion. It will probably never happen, as fans will take to the streets in protest, but I think it would be awesome.
The Islanders are kind of cursed as being one of those teams with uniforms that are deemed to be classic. And granted, they are a nice looking set, and there are many great teams associated with those unis. Four Stanley Cups in a row is nothing to sneeze at, and fans rarely want to go away from tradition in that way. But the Islanders, always the distant second team in New York, have always been willing to rattle the cages and shake things up. They continue that tradition to this day, with their orange alts, and their currently well-hated black ones, that look like football uniforms reminiscent of the awful Atlanta Thrashers thirds.
The fisherman logo went away from the traditional NY in a circle logo that they had had since the beginning of their existence. They created a new logo, of an intimidating fisherman, holding a hockey stick, with Islanders written underneath. Granted, the man looked an awful lot like the Highliner Fish Stick man, but that is neither here nor there.
The Isles also went away from their traditional blue and orange colour palate, opting for a darker blue, some aqua marine, and a type of creamsicle orange. They continued to push, by creating the wave pattern on the uniform, which included wavy names and numbers on the back of the jersey.
People still despise this, but good luck on trying to get one, even on ebay. They have become collectors editions. If they ever do re-issue these guys, sign me up for a Tavares #91 right now.
I respect that the team was trying to do something different. They were trying to boost sales, trying to keep up with other teams and their constant uniform changes, and they were trying to break with tradition and start something new. I get it.
There was such an outcry over the fishermen unis, that it only took a year or two before they plastered their old logo on the new uniforms, and then eventually went back to their original designs. Which is too bad. With the fisherman, they had something new and unique, that still represented where they were from. Not all logos are able to be geographically representative like that.
I say bring back the fisherman, as a third jersey. Now that it has been years since its first appearance, it will be welcomed back with a kitsch value that we see with other logos, such as the old Mighty Ducks one. We hated it so much we wanted it gone, but now we kind of want it back. Sure those names and numbers on the back were a mess, but overall, this is a pretty solid uniform, and I’ll admit that the colours looked pretty good on the ice, and would now look especially good when watching them in HD.
Do it, Islanders. Bring back the fisherman.