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Isles on Point with “Tradition on Ice” Sales
Coliseum team store packed with commemorative memorabilia
Over the summer, the New York Islanders released a special “Tradition on Ice” logo to commemorate the final season of play at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Aside from some marketing campaigns that work well with the “Tradition on Ice” slogan, I wasn’t sure how the team would capitalize on the logo. I took a trip to the team store at the Coliseum the day prior to Opening Night and was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of assortment available.
You can find everything from photos and pucks to pennants and apparel. There really isn’t much you’d hope for after a visit to the store. The sales staff did a solid job in creating sellable items with the new commemorative logo.
For many, this final season at the Coliseum seems like a hockey funeral. Some are completely against the logo and commemorating such a horrible point in franchise history. But a logo is a logo and it honors the history and tradition of the Coliseum. You can’t argue that.
Among the top items available for sale at the team store (while supplies last, of course):
*Canvas print, in white or blue, featuring the Coliseum “Tradition on Ice” logo
*Lineage banners, showing all of the franchise anniversary logos
*Apparel, including special hats, sweatshirts and tee shirts, some from ’47 Brand
*Ticket stub holders to collect as many tickets from the final season as you can
*Mini copies of retired jerseys and championship banners
If you’re looking to just purchase the patch that the players are wearing on their jerseys, you’re not going to be happy. According to members of the store sales staff, you can only get the patch on a jersey, not by itself.
‘Big Shot’ Nets Sports Emmy
Isles fan, director Kevin Connolly takes home hardware
Image: Instagram account of Doug Ellin
If you haven’t seen the Islanders documentary “Big Shot,” an ESPN 30-for-30 film, you should.
Directed, written, narrated and produced by Long Island native and Islanders fan Kevin Connolly, the film was recently honored with an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sports Documentary Series.”
The film breaks down the misguided and criminally stirred ownership stint by John Spano. It’ll make you laugh at just how bizarre the time period was in franchise history. It’s eye-opening, interesting and engaging for hockey fans.
The Beginning of the End
Isles set to kick off final season at Coliseum
Perhaps the greatest line written about the Islanders pre-season game against the Devils in Brooklyn was from the Isles Point Blank blog on SNY: “After two trips to the Barclays Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano wasn’t ready to say the building felt like home.”
“It’s a great venue,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told Point Blank. “There’s no question it’s a beautiful place. We know we’re going to be here at a certain point, but it was good to come. Preseason and now we have to focus on the Coliseum and our fans there.”
Barclays CEO Brett Yormark told Newsday that this year’s pre-season game felt like a dress rehearsal compared to the first go on ice in 2013.
“We’re that much closer to it being a reality and we’re trying to refine the experience for our fans,” he told Newsday.
There were between 11,000 and 12,000 fans in attendance, but not near the 15,000 full capacity the Barclays can hold. The Coliseum, if all goes right, should see more sellouts this season then usual, and possibly the most since the 1980s.
—Former Isles goalie Rick DiPietro just grabbed himself a regular gig on ESPN Radio. He’ll join former Islanders beat writer Alan Hahn on Friday’s from 7-10 p.m. on air, according to Newsday’s Neil Best.
—The team has not yet updated its shop website with any “Farewell Coliseum” items. Check “Orange & Blue” sometime in October to see what the team is doing in the team shop at the building.
—It was announced that Denis Potvin’s mini locker will be available to fans who have full-season tickets. This is part of a season-long collection of locker stalls, which also include Billy Smith, Clark Gillies and Bobby Nystrom during the first half of the season. There will be others in the second half as well. Potvin will be on-hand at the Coliseum on Nov. 29 as the organization honors him.
Isles Offer Mini-Lockers For Promos
The Islanders recently announced they will give out mini-lockers as promotional items during the 2014-15 season. The lockers are a representation of the team’s final season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom and Clark Gillies lockers will be released during the first half of the season. Expect all other players with retired numbers, as well as team captain John Tavares, to be released in the second half of the year.
Mini locker dates:
-Billy Smith, Nov. 22
-Bobby Nystrom, Dec. 6
-Clark Gillies, Dec. 13
One issue that popped up with this … Billy Smith’s locker has a regular player helmet and not a goalie mask. It’s all in the details! Let’s hope the team corrects this prior to the release in November.
The team said fans will be able to purchase merchandise that honors the history of Nassau Coliseum throughout the season.
Promo wish list
Some other items that would make sense as promos:
-Bobblehead of something historic that happened at the Coliseum (“The goal”, perhaps)
-Canvas art of a historic moment at the Coliseum
-Mini Coliseum statues (either in color or one metal tone)
-Pucks with the “Final Season” logo on them
An Isles Fan Not From Long Island
It’s possible that Islanders fans are all not from Long Island. Not individuals who moved from the area and not family members of former Long Island residents.
I never thought this was possible, but then I met an Islanders fan named Chris when I was on business in Seattle last week.
On a tour of Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, a gentleman saw my Sachem Football Long Island champions hat and immediately came over and asked if I was from the island and if I supported the New York Islanders.
We stayed talking for another five hours through the stadium tour and through a Seahawks pre-season game next door at CenturyLink field.
Chris is originally from Nova Scotia and most hockey fans from the east coast of Canada gravitate towards the Canadiens. Not Chris. He witnessed the Canadiens beat the Islanders two straight years in the semifinals in 1975-76 and 1976-77 and grew closer to the boys from Nassau than his country’s proudest franchise. He’s unique, no question.
The Islanders, who jumped onto the NHL scene in 1972, were an instant success. They made it to the semifinals of the playoffs four out of five seasons from 1974-1979 and eventually won four out of five Stanley Cup Finals from 1979-1984.
It was a very impressionable and exciting time to be an Islanders fan and Chris bought in.
Chris, who was on a road trip of the northwestern states in America, lives in Alberta now.
He has never taken a trip to Long Island or visited a home game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. That will change this year.
With the franchise moving to Brooklyn after this season, Chris vowed to make a trip to the hallowed ground on Hempstead Turnpike and visit the building where Islanders greats made the franchise one of the most successful in hockey history.
He stays up to date on the franchise with the Internet and digital media and occasionally catches them on road games in Canada.
Nothing, however, will be as special as seeing his favorite team in their friendly confines in the final year of its existence. Stay tuned for another blog about his reaction to the Coliseum after he visits this season.
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