Islanders: Why A Dragon For The Mascot?
By Matt O'Leary
Have you ever wondered why the New York Islanders mascot is a dragon? Today we dive into why it’s a little weird yet still makes sense.
If you’ve been to a New York Islanders game over the past 15 years or so you’ve likely seen Sparky the Dragon, the Isles mascot walking around or doing whatever it is that mascots do during a game when the team plays.
If you’re a real OG, you’ll remember the Islanders used to share the Nassau Coliseum with an Arena Football team, the New York Dragons. The Dragons played there from 2001-2008 before the franchise folded.
Sparky was also the mascot for the Dragons, which makes complete sense. A dragon named Sparky for a team with a logo that was a fire-breathing dragon makes sense, the Islanders also adopting Sparky is a little bizarre not going to lie.
For Dragons games, he would dress up in a Dragons jersey with his red skin but when the Islanders played he would change into his Isles jersey and blue skin:
I will be the first to tell you I’m no Dragon expert but why does his skin color change? After a quick google search, I found that bearded dragons change color on their body parts depending on social situations.
Again, limited knowledge in the animal kingdom but Sparky doesn’t look like a bearded dragon. Why not have two dragons, an Islanders and a Dragons dragon? Or just one dragon who changes jerseys but keeps his skin the same? So many questions.
When the Islanders moved to the Barclays Center, it was announced that Sparky wouldn’t make the trip to Brooklyn. After some poor ticket sales, the Isles brought him back on December 27, 2015.
Sparky was not the first Islanders mascot though, he was preceded by Nyisles who was a seafaring Islander. He, like the fisherman jersey, didn’t last too long.
There’s got to be something a little more Long Island centric than a dragon, no? And no, I’m not talking about a Nyisles rebirth or a Billy Joel mascot but what if the Islanders made the move once they went to Belmont?
A horse could make sense since they’re playing at Belmont Park. No hate to Sparky, I just don’t get the correlation to the Islanders especially now over a decade after the Arena football team is gone.
If the kids like him, I guess that’s all that matters at this point I know the mascot isn’t marketed for me but I always found it a little weird that they held onto Sparky all these years later.