The Islanders' Retro Reverse Jersey for the 2022-23 season features...

The Islanders' Retro Reverse Jersey for the 2022-23 season features the return of the fisherman logo. Credit: IslesLab.com

Books have been written about the twisted tale of the Islanders’ ill-fated Fisherman jersey of 1995-97.

But adidas Hockey also saw some long-lasting positives from that era, enough to revive the logo for the Islanders’ new Reverse Retro jersey. The new sweaters make their on-ice debut when the Islanders face the Hurricanes on Saturday night at UBS Arena and will be worn five more times through January.

“We would go to the Islanders’ team store or follow them on social and we’d see the Fisherman ID popping up,” adidas Hockey design director Matty Merrill said. “Almost every year, it seemed like it would come back. They’d do a backpack. Or they’d be offering T-shirts. I can only think of two other NHL franchises where the uniforms really haven’t existed for two or three decades but people still buy them. And that’s the (Hartford) Whalers and the (Quebec) Nordiques. Those were two jerseys that won Reverse Retro the first time around.

“(The Fisherman) still had this demand. The NHL, the team and adidas all knew that we wanted to try and get this one done. We literally called it the white whale. We’re going to go Ahab on this.”

This is the second iteration of the NHL Reverse Retro series – the Islanders’ initial design was essentially their current home jersey with a deeper shade of blue – and adidas Hockey senior director Dan Near acknowledged his company overall wanted to take a “more ambitious approach.”

“The first time around, we were just happy that everybody participated,” Near said.

Merrill said the standard timeline for creating a jersey – from the initial discussions on design to production – is typically about 18 months.

Time, too, was spent on convincing Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, never a fan of third jerseys, on the alternate design.

“There’s a guy named Nick Pizzutello,” Near said of the senior vice president for NY Hockey Holdings. “He works as a liaison in a process like this. He’s a smart guy. He did a lot of social listening the first time around and he came to us and said, ‘We want to be a part of this. We want to do it right. We want the fans to get what they want. But it’s going to be a process.’

“I think it’s fair to say, they were one of the very last ones we finalized. One of the most iterations (of designs). Because the process is sacred. What hockey players wear on the ice is important to Islanders’ leadership. It’s important to everybody. But this leadership is well known for that and we appreciate that level of rigor. At the end of the day we got there and we got there with something we think they’re super proud of.”

Notes & quotes: The Islanders were off on Wednesday and will practice on Thursday before facing the Devils on Friday night at Prudential Center. There was no update on D Adam Pelech, who left Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss to the visiting Blues with a suspected head injury.

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