3. Reverse Retrospective: Looking Back at the Islanders Reverse Retro Jerseys
When the NHL announced the Reverse Retro jersey idea, it seemed like an opportunity for teams to do something fun and exciting with old, unused jersey designs of the past. Plus, with live gate and concession revenue lost due to the cancellation of the 2019-20 regular season, and limited capacities during 2020-21, what better way to get fans to spend money with the teams than by introducing new jerseys?
I was interested to see what the Islanders would do with the opportunity to get creative with jersey designs. I mean, I love the Islanders classic blue, white, and orange jerseys, but when it comes to alternates and jersey re-designs, they don’t have a great track record.
Some people like the fisherman, others detest it. The divide in that group seems to be a generational one, from what I’ve seen. If you were around to witness the Islanders dominate the NHL like feudal lords back in the early 80’s, you probably hate the fisherman. If you didn’t live through those glory years, you probably like it, or are otherwise indifferent towards it.
By the time I was born the fisherman was already being phased out. The first jerseys I remember the Islanders wearing were the Peca-Yashin era navy blues, which were nice, and pretty much looked exactly how the Reverse Retros do, and therein has always been my problem with these jerseys.
The Islanders took an opportunity to get creative and have some fun with a niche idea, and they chose the most boring option possible. Yeah, the Reverse Retros look nice. But that doesn’t change that they’re utterly boring and uninspired retreads of the jerseys this team wore in the aughts.
I understand the “I don’t care what they’re wearing as long as they win” argument, but I don’t agree with it. Buying jerseys is fun. Gimme a fresh new design like the team did in the aughts with the orange alternates. Those were, in my opinion, the best alternate this team has ever had, and if they had reimagined those I would’ve absolutely bought one.
Instead, we got these, which are essentially an Islanders home jersey with a darker blue and the sleeve stripes flipped. Yawn. If you liked these, great, I’m glad you did. If you bought one, great! I hope you like it!
But for me, why would I buy this when I own a jersey from the early 2000’s? I have pretty much this exact jersey sitting in my closet somewhere. The design is slightly different, and it’s a Koho, plus it’s a kid’s size, with a name and number on the back of a player who hasn’t played in the NHL for almost a decade.
To wrap up my thoughts on this topic: The Islanders were far from the only team to miss the mark on this Reverse Retro jersey project. The Red Wings ended up with a practice jersey design. The Hurricanes and Avalanche flipped the bird to cities which their organizations formerly inhabited. And the Dallas Stars look like a Monster Energy Drink advertisement on skates. But, out of all of them, the Islanders committed the worst infraction of all, they weren’t creative, and totally boring.