Make no mistake about it, if you a fan of the New York Islanders, you either love the fisherman jersey or you hate it and it honestly feels like there's no in-between. The fisherman was born in 1995's rebrand of the Islanders but quickly died in 1997. Gorton's fisherman crest was short-lived before being replaced by the original Islanders logo in 1996 on the wave jersey that would remain for the next few years. Many NHL teams called back to the 90s in recent history, and now fans speculate if the fisherman jersey could make a return.
In an attempt to recoup money that the NHL lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, the league introduced the "Reverse Retro" jersey initiative for all 31 NHL teams. This even included the Vegas Golden Knights who didn't have a retro jersey to call back to, but they came up with an eye-popping red alternate jersey.
The Islanders participated in the 2020-21 jersey initiative, despite how involuntary it appeared. When the Isles Reverse Retro jersey was revealed, most fans were underwhelmed with its lack of creativity. The jersey appeared to just be a darker shade of their current home jersey. However, when the full uniform debuted on the ice, fans were pleased with a clean, sharp uniform in its entirety, however, it still lacked creativity.
The jersey Islander fans got appears to be a callback to the dark blue jersey's the Islanders wore from 1998 to 2007. If we're being honest, there was nothing wrong with the uniform, especially given the fact that the Islanders performed so well while wearing them. The issue was there was nothing retro about it.
In fact, there was a concept jersey floating around that had Isles fans at odds with each other. But, by the true definition of retro, said concept jersey would have hit the nail on the head:
This fisherman concept is every definition of the word "retro." Some refer to this callback as the darkest era in Islanders' history, meanwhile, others hope for the nostalgic look referring to the 90s to return. The NHL has announced that the Reverse Retro initiative will be returning for the 2022-23 season, and there is reason to believe that the Islanders could finally resurrect Gorton's fisherman.
The merchandise shop at UBS Arena, Isles Lab, has held no shortage of Gorton's fisherman merchandise. In addition to the team store selling actual fisherman jerseys, the Gorton logo, as well as modified variations, can be found on a number of hats, shirts, stickers, pucks and plenty of other merchandise in the Isles Lab.
In the most recent Islanders membership email, members received a promotion for the "Fisherman Fever" line of clothing as well as a promotion to "ride the wave" that features the wave jersey the Islanders switched to in 1996.
At the end of the day, this is all just pure speculation, but whether you like it or not, it does appear that ownership is pushing Gorton's fisherman on the fanbase. The Islanders wore the fisherman logo on a warmup jersey before puck drop in 2015, and there is reason to believe the fisherman could finally make its return to in-game action in the NHL's 2022-23 Reverse Retro jersey initiative.