The New York Islanders new threads have arrived.
The Islanders unveiled their new third jerseys Wednesday, a Brooklyn-themed alternate jersey, coinciding with the team’s move to Barclays Center.
A team of mite hockey players were the first to try on the jerseys, after being surprised by Islanders captain John Tavares Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the jerseys were delivered to the rest of Tavares teammates, where they got to hold, feel and wear the sweaters for the first time.
“When I saw them [in pictures] on Johnny this morning, it looked really cool,” said Frans Nielsen, who said he’s also a fan of the Brooklyn Nets jersey. “The white and the black together, it looked pretty cool.”
Seeing the jerseys in person had an impact on the team. A grainy picture was leaked in early September and didn’t do it justice, according to Anders Lee.
“They look really good in person,” Lee said. “We had a chance to put them on today. It’s up and live and we’re really looking forward to wearing them. Black helmets, black pants, it’ll be really clean.”
Lee added that adding black to the modified Stadium Series jersey – the Islanders previous alternate with a similar NY on the chest – gives the Islanders a “mean” look.
That sits well with Johnny Boychuk, who wears black suits a la Johnny Cash and wore black with the Boston Bruins. He said there’s an added intimidation factor that comes with the look.
“The black will make us look more intimidating,” Boychuk said. “We’re one of the teams that hits the most throughout the league. I played in black jerseys before and they make you look a lot bigger than people think.”
One of the defining features of the alternate jersey is the four white stripes on each arm, as well as on the players’ socks. The four stripes represent the franchise’s four Stanley Cups, though Tavares and company would like to see a new addition on the jersey.
“It’s obviously a big part of history of the team and very important to the organization and the fan base,” Tavares said. “As players we recognize that and want to add another one.
The arrival of the predominantly-black, alternate is another checkpoint in the moving process to Brooklyn. While Boychuk has been spotted around Barclays Center a few times, checking up on the locker rooms, most Islanders are just returning to Long Island. Wearing the jerseys makes everything feel a little more real.
“It’s definitely feels like we’re moving there now when you see those,” Nielsen said.