"The whole team has really enjoyed putting on these new sweaters," said Captain Bill Guerin. "The colors are great and they definitely get the guys thinking about the tradition of the team."
|Mike Chiara and Matt Ricci |
While the players donned their new jerseys for the first time on the ice, many fans who were in the stands had their first glimpse of them. For some, it was a double take, as they remembered that Islanders blue and orange from the mid-1970s.
Joe and Kathy Gordon, season ticket holders from Copiague, are two fans who remember the Islanders during the 1970s very well. As lifelong Islanders fans, they thoroughly appreciated "Throwback Night." Joe likened this year's team to the early Islanders teams of the 1970s.
"I like these young guys," said Joe. "They remind of the first Islanders teams, who also had young players. They go out there and work hard every night and really try to get the win. This team gives everything they've got, just like the early teams."
|Art Calamar |
When speaking about past Islanders teams, Joe lit up recalling players like Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, but it was one player in particular who stuck out as his favorite.
"I had a friend who worked for the Islanders about 30 years ago," recalled Joe. "One day I got to go down to the locker room and met the players. Gary Howatt came up to me and gave me his stick; it was a great feeling."
Another season ticket holder who remembers the early Islanders years well is Art Calamar from Oceanside. "Throwback Night" created a stream of memories for him.
"The Islanders in the 1970s were electric," said Calamar. "They were a well-coordinated team. They knew when to hit, when to skate, and when to pass. It was a team that knew the game. Mike Bossy in particular was electric. When he started those 50 goal seasons, you knew something would happen whenever he touched the puck. He and Trotts were quite a tandem."
|Joe and Kathy Gordon |
"Throwback Night" wasn't just about the new jerseys, it also featured organ playing by Paul Cartier, who played both National Anthems without vocal accompaniment. Both the Canadian and American National Anthems were accompanied by thousands of fans signing along.
The new Islanders "Third Jersey" went on sale for the first time Saturday night at the Coliseum, and fans wasted no time grabbing the newest look,
Two fans that were among the first to purchase the new sweaters were Mike Chiara from Malverne and Matt Ricci from Valley Stream. Chiara bought a Mark Streit
jersey, while Ricci donned a Josh Bailey
sweater. They proved that the Islanders tradition doesn't just belong to those that experienced it, but that the younger generation of fans also understands its history.
"They're very comfortable," said Chiara. "I like how the team paid tribute to older days of the team."
In addition to the new uniforms and 1970s music throughout the game—not to mention the disco ball hanging from the scoreboard—the night brought back many memories for Islanders fans.
"It was different being a kid back then," said Joe Gordon. "We played hockey on the streets and everything seemed simpler back then. It was much easier being a kid then."
And while the Islanders were thinking back, many of the fans were looking ahead.
"I got the third jersey with Bailey because it holds onto the past, but looks ahead to the future," said Ricci.
Your can purchase your "Third Jersey" at the Nassau Coliseum. Click here
to see an IslandersTV video on the Islanders' third jersey, featuring Bill Guerin.