Have you ever wondered how the New York Islanders incorporated a dragon as a mascot? Did you know the Islanders had a mascot prior to Sparky? Well, I am here to tell you that and other facts that you didn’t know about the Islanders’ mascots.
Sparky The Dragon Was The Official Mascot For A Defunct Arena Football League Franchise
The New York Dragons were once an AFL franchise that played their games at Nassau Coliseum, hence why Sparky The Dragon was the mascot for the team. The Dragons played from 2001-2008 before the league shut down in 2009. The owner, Charles Wang, happened to be the owner of the Islanders as well, incorporated the mascot into the blue & orange in 2010 and the rest is history.
Sparky Was Not In The Cards To The Move To Brooklyn
On September 22, 2015, it was announced that Sparky would not return as the Islanders mascot at Barclays Center. As the 2015-2016 season progressed, unsatisfactory ticket sales prompted Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark to try and further appeal to the Long Island-centered fan base. On December 27, 2015, during the first intermission of an Islanders vs. Maple Leafs matchup, Sparky was officially back as the Islanders mascot.
The Islanders Once Had A Mascot Who Looked Like A Fisherman
The Islanders in 1995 changed their classic logo to a fisherman logo and also came up with a mascot. Nyisles (pronounced Niles) was a “seafaring Islander” that the New York Islanders used as a mascot. He was a seven-foot fisherman caricature with a 15-pound plastic head and a red flashing light atop his head. Like the Islanders during that time, Nyisles didn’t fare well. Because of losing, fans would boo him.
Rob Di Fiore, the man inside the costume, who was paid $75 per game, was subjected to endless abuse. At one game, a young boy punched him and kicked him in the groin.
An angry Di Fiore changed into street clothes and later found the boy in the stands. He bent down and whispered in the child’s ear, “I know who you are.” The kid never bothered him again.