by Nicholas Hirshon
Back in the 1980’s, the New York Islanders had won four consecutive Stanley Cups and the organization was on fire. But things got bad and worse in 1994 when their top rival, the New York Rangers, beat them in the first round of the playoffs. So the organization decided something needed to be done to change things.
The unfortunate decision was to change the logo with the letters NY on it over a map of Long Island with a cartoon looking fisherman wearing a rain jacket while grabbing a hockey stick. Fans were puzzled and everyone thought it was eerily similar to the mascot for Gorton’s frozen seafood. This caused the opposing fans to chant “we want fish sticks!”
This cartoon character was around for three seasons during the rebranding phase of the Islanders. During that torturous time, they unveiled the mascot, new players, new coaches and a new owner expected to return to the glory years. It didn’t happen. It became a 28 month or pure hell for the New York Islanders fans, players and front office as the humiliation continued.
None of these things worked as the player they traded for refused to report and eventually was banished by ownership. The coach they sought after has issues with being too aggressive towards the players and reportedly spit on them. The billionaire owner had issues and eventually turned out to be a con artist and was given a prison sentence.
This book, “We Want Fish Sticks” takes the readers through this period as they interview those people that lived through this time frame in the history of the New York Islander.
Thanks to the Nebraska Press for sending the book in return for a fair and honest book review.