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Islanders Share Alternate Jersey Controversy With Mets

26 Mar 1997: Center Claude LaPointe of the New York Islanders skates down the ice during a game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York. The Islanders won the game 3-2.
26 Mar 1997: Center Claude LaPointe of the New York Islanders skates down the ice during a game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York. The Islanders won the game 3-2. /
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The New York Islanders and New York Mets typically run parallel. New York fandom typically aligns Islanders-Mets-Jets and Rangers-Yankees-Giants. Both blue and orange teams have donned jerseys that are polarizing.

The Islanders have had predominately the same uniforms since they took the ice in 1972. More often than not throughout their history, they have donned a vibrant blue and orange sweater.

That traditional blue and orange were uprooted before the 1995-1996 season, and the infamous “fisherman” jersey was born. Unfortunately, the fisherman jersey was the product of a total rebrand.

Not only did the Islanders have a completely new uniform that season, but the fisherman logo replaced the traditional Islanders crest. The rebrand was followed with an abysmal season that saw the Isles finish with the third-worst record in the league.

Poor play and an uncanny resemblance to the Gorton’s fisherman led to taunts of “fish sticks”. By the 1997-1998 season, the Islanders went back to their original logo, though still wore the navy wavy uniforms.

Fishing For a Comeback

Nowadays the opinion of the fisherman jerseys typically falls into two segments: one group loves it and would like to see it back, while the other despises it and everything it stands for.

While I’ll never advocate making the fisherman jersey their primary jersey, I believe it would make for a great alternate “third” jersey. The Isles themselves have stuck their toe back in the waters, as they have been selling fisherman merchandise at games.

The New York Mets are another blue and orange team that has worn fairly traditional uniforms since their inception in 1962. The Mets rolled out an alternate black jersey top in 1998.

There are two main differences between the Islanders and Mets new jerseys:

  1. The Islanders fisherman became their main jersey, while the Mets black tops were an alternate.
  2. the Islanders were an awful team at the time, while the Mets actually had success.

The Mets narrowly missed the playoffs in 1998, then proceeded to make the postseason in 1999 and 2000.

The black tops were worn through the 2012 season, but have since been replaced with alternate blue tops. Mets star Pete Alonso wants the team to bring back the alternate black tops.

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Not all were fans of the black jerseys, and some, like Andy Martino of SNY, even call them trash. Both teams have aesthetically pleasing primary uniforms, but both the Islanders fisherman and Mets black jerseys would make for excellent alternative choices.

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