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Islanders are bringing back their most hated jerseys

The Fisherman jersey is back.

The Islanders will be donning their doomed look of the mid-1990s six times this season as part of the NHL’s reverse retro jersey initiative, the team announced Thursday. The jersey has the same Gorton’s Fisherman-esque logo as it did back in 1995-96, when originally introduced, though the color scheme is slightly different.

The look’s debut will be on Dec. 10 at home against the Hurricanes. The Isles will also wear it for home games on Dec. 23, Dec. 27, Jan. 12, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28.

“I like the throwback stuff,” Zach Parise said. “I like the different looks, the different colors. Not the change, but just for a different look. It’s always neat for the fans. It’s fun for the players, too. You walk in the room and you see a third jersey or a different jersey, it gets exciting.”

Zigmund Palffy in the Fisherman jersey during the 1996-97 season.
Zigmund Palffy in the Fisherman jersey during the 1996-97 season.
NHLI via Getty Images

The embrace of the logo, which was disliked at the time by Islanders fans upon its original release, is a drastic change from two decades ago, when the Isles phased out the Fisherman jerseys as soon as they could. That also reflects a different attitude among the fan base — coach Lane Lambert noted Thursday that he believes the jersey is likely to sell well.

It’s not the first time the Isles have donned throwbacks with that particular logo. In 2015, they did so during warmups ahead of a game against the Panthers.

“It’s like trends, you know what I mean? They come and go,” Parise said. “I like that it didn’t get abandoned.”

Marketing around retro jerseys, while old hat for other leagues like the NBA, is newer territory for the NHL.

“I think we’re definitely way behind the other leagues as far as marketing,” Parise said. “I think there’s a ton of room for improvement that we can just grow the game. … I’m not saying that’s just 14 different jerseys for every team, but there’s different areas we need to explore to grow the game.”

Time will bear out whether the reverse retro jerseys, and the Fisherman specifically, are a success. But there has already been a considerable amount of buzz around it.

Ryan Strome on Feb. 3, 2015 when the Islanders wore the Fisherman jerseys in warmups.
Ryan Strome on Feb. 3, 2015 when the Islanders wore the Fisherman jerseys in warmups.
NHLI via Getty Images

“It’ll be fun to watch,” Lambert said.

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