“Isles” is an official moniker of the New York Islanders ice hockey team. The name and the nickname seem quite logical, as the club resides primarily on Long Island, an island in New York.
In 1970, the National Hockey League approved the proposal of Roy Boe, the owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, to found and include a new Long Island-based team in the NHL. In 1972 the alternative hockey league called World Hockey Association was founded to attempt to challenge the NHL’s supremacy. Being threatened by the possible WHA expansion, the NHL approved two new franchises. WHA planned to found its team New York Raiders in the Big Apple and to use the brand-new constructed Memorial Coliseum for training and host games. Nowadays, the given Coliseum is the second oldest hockey rink in the NHL. No wonder, it is often mentioned as an outdated barn slated for replacement. But in the 1970s, the arena was a tidbit, the NHL President Clarence Campbell lavished praise and compliments upon. Generally speaking, no prize-winning, the WHA League wanted to place the Raiders exactly here.
However, the Nassau county officials (the arena owners) did not consider the WHA a major league and tried to keep the “unborn” Raiders out. So, they leased the Coliseum to the NHL club. In 1972, the old league hastily agreed to found a new franchise called the New York Islanders. The Islanders’ first host game and first loss came on October 7, 1972, in a 2-3 match against the Atlanta Flames.
Initially, it was expected to name the team as the Long Island Ducks, but then the owner decided to choose the New York Islanders as its name. Herring-like Long Island is located on the East Coast of the United States. Impressed by its outstanding elongation, the Dutch settlers called it Lange Eylandt in the 17th century. Its length is about 200 km from the head to tail. The island is surrounded by water. Long Island is the land situated between numerous lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.
The New York Islanders’ original logo is a silhouette of Long Island without its extreme western part since it is the New York City boroughs. Thus, the logo depicts only Nassau and Suffolk counties. However, it did not prevent the team from calling themselves “Islanders” and to exploit the wordmark “New York” in the name.
The new team had few fans, but they were incredibly loyal and hated the New York Rangers, the main rival of their favorites. In the 1980-1990s, one of the most popular fan chants in the NHL was “Nineteen-Forty!” to remind the Rangers the last year they won Stanley Cup. Alas, the Curse of 1940 vanished in 1994, so these days the chant seems antwacky.
In the 1990s, Islanders remained competitive, yet in Don Maloney’s times as a general manager, they began facing stiff contesting from division rivals. It was all downhill from there.
The mid-90s were generally remembered as the years of fantastic, wild, and brilliantly miserable sports styles. The Islanders’ new management went too far in pursuit of fashion even by the standards of that time. It was the most destructive move in the NHL uniform history. The team ditched their royal blue and orange jerseys in favor of navy blue, brighter orange, grey, and aquamarine. The backs of the jerseys featured names and numbers distorted to follow the contours of the bottom stripes. Uneven motley stripes somewhere near the groin resembled humps more than waves. The shoulder patch included the Montauk lighthouse image, located on the eastern part of Long Island. The main logo featured a rather creepy fisherman with a hockey stick, wearing a raincoat, and a sou’wester hat.
It was hard to imagine a better gift for the Rangers’ fans. They immediately noted a striking resemblance of the new logo to the Gorton’s emblem. Since the company produced fish sticks and other frozen seafood, the Islanders got a new moniker – Fishsticks. The taunting chant “Fishsticks!” can be heard in Madison Square Garden during the Big Derby matches even these days.
The fisherman logo was widely criticized by both Islanders players and fans and ultimately fell out of use in the following season. In 1996, in part one of making things right with fans, the Islanders placed the old alternate logos on new jerseys. In 1997, the fisherman was solemnly put to death, while the circle with the stick inside became the main club logo again.
On jersey introduced in 1988, there was no lighthouse or the waves. The original New York Islanders logo was brought back, and the only change to the logo was its colors. Since the team had replaced its original royal blue with the navy, the logo was recolored to match. Besides, there were no stripes on the pants, but the right shoulder patch included four white and orange bars as symbols of the Islanders’ Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s. It was a kind of big excuse for the fans who survived three years of horror, watching their favorite team.
Sparky the Dragon is a mascot for the New York Islanders hockey team.
Meaning and History
Since 1973, the New York Islanders have changed their logo four times. The main color scheme incorporated blue, orange, and white. The first and the last two logos did not differ much from each other, but the logo of the 1996-1997 season was a complete contrast, it was the worst move the Islanders management group has ever made.
1973 – 1995
A graphic designer Jacob Morris Strongin was hired by John Algona, an advertising director, to create the very first logo for the New York Islanders. The logo looked like a dark blue circle with red Long Island, white letters “N” and hockey stick-shaped “Y” atop the island and white-and-orange puck inside. The red-scripted name of the team “Islanders” was located at the bottom of the logo.
1995 – 1997
Before starting the new NHL season, the ownership attempted to give the Isles a fresh look. The previous logo was replaced by one featuring a fisherman in a raincoat and hat. He held a blue hockey stick in his hands, standing in front of a red-and-blue hockey goal. The fisherman crowned the white-scripted word “Islanders,” outlined with orange and blue colors. The wordmark was washed by orange and two blue waves. This New York Islanders logo was the worst in the team history, making the Islanders a complete joke of the NHL.
1997 – 2010
The old logo was restored in the 1998 season. The ownership convinced that they had made a huge mistake and misunderstood the underlying passion of the fans. In general, the Islanders were the first to realize that dashing the 90s was a big mistake. They quickly “drowned” the fisherman and returned to the classic logo, alternating the color scheme to a darker one. Thus, royal blue was changed to navy blue. The logo was encircled in bright orange. The drawing of the island was improved as well. The letters “NY,” the hockey stick, and the image of Long Island remained unchanged.
2010 – 2017
The penultimate Islanders logo was introduced eight years ago, in 2011. It combines the features of the first and previous logos. It is designed in royal blue again. Besides, on the “Y,” there are now four stripes instead of three. The significance? Of course, four Stanley Cups the Islanders won.
2017 – until now
In the current version of the emblem New York Islanders, cardinal changes have not occurred. The outer orange rim turned blue, and the orange edging was shifted inside the emblem.