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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hockey Hipsters: The Brooklyn Islanders

brooklyn islanders hipsters
Hat tip to my friend Mike for the excellent Photoshop.
With an uncertain future on Long Island, the Islanders, and owner Charles Wang, are looking at all available options to keep the once-great franchise in the greater New York area. It’s almost certain that the Islanders will leave Nassau Coliseum when their lease expires in 2015 because it is a horribly outdated excuse for an arena that resembles a poorly lit barn.

There are preliminary discussions between another Long Island county, Suffolk, and Charles Wang to determine if the Isles could fit there. Others suggest that the Islanders could move to either Queens or Brooklyn. I don’t know anything about Queens, except that Kevin James drives a mail route there, so I can’t vouch for its viability, but I do know that Brooklyn is absolutely perfect for the Islanders – at least culturally.

Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs in New York City and is home to Williamsburg, a hub for hipsters. Now hipsters don’t necessarily appear like the sports loving type, what with their oversized glasses and super tight jeans, but don’t let appearances fool you, there is enough about the Islanders that hipsters can grab hold of.

Well, for one, Islander fans are apathetic. That’s evident after years of paltry attendance figures and a dismal turnout at the polls to determine whether Nassau County should help finance Charles Wang’s new arena. But not caring about the Islanders is perfect for Brooklyn hipsters. Hispters love being apathetic, or at least looking apathetic. Having the Islanders in Brooklyn would at least make not caring about the team cool.

But there are also aspects about the Islanders that might turn cool Brooklyn apathy into genuine hipster love.

First, the Islanders are easily the least popular of all three New York area teams: the Rangers are a classic, original six team who routinely appear at the top of the NHL attendance leaders; and the Devils have won three Stanley Cups in the last two decades. In comparison, the Islanders have been run into the ground for over two decades and routinely draw sparse crowds. The only NHL team that might be less cool than the Islanders is the Coyotes and it’s only a matter of time until they move somewhere in Canada, thereby increasing their popularity immediately. The fact that no one likes the Islanders makes them hipster cool. I think the only team that hipsters could like even more is the California Golden Seals. Who are they? Oh, they’re some obscure team you’ve probably never heard of.

But the Islanders were popular during the 1980s, so you might think this should discredit them among their potential hipster fans. Well, no. You see, the 1980s is actually one of the most beloved decades for the modern hipster. Hipsters love 80s nostalgia, even though, for the most part, it was a decade they were born in, not the decade they actually grew up in and can remember.

Another reason hipsters would immediately adopt the Islanders is their love of facial hair. The Islanders in the mid-1970s began the tradition of growing their beards during the playoffs for solidarity. The tradition remained popular throughout the Islanders’ dynasty of the 1980s (hipster alert!), but was abandoned until the mid-90s, when it became permanently embedded in playoff culture. Hipsters love beards and moustaches, especially ones grown ironically, which is good because they can all show up to regular season games with ironic playoff beards, because, obviously, the current Islanders won’t need to grow any this post-season.

Additionally, if the Islanders do indeed move to Brooklyn, the fans can clamour for management to bring back the old Highliner uniforms: the ones with the fisherman logo that are routinely listed as one of the worst jersey designs in the history of the league. This might seem puzzling, but hipsters love to wear ugly things ironically. Supporting a team with one of the most hideous designs in the league will ensure that the hipsters rock the new Islanders’ gear all over Brooklyn. Plus, there is a fisherman in the logo and I’m pretty sure fisherman wear plaid. You know who loves plaid? Hipsters.

Moving the Islanders to Brooklyn would also take hockey arguments to a whole new level. New hipster fans could wax poetically about how mainstream Wayne Gretzky is and how Mike Bossy was actually the greatest goal scorer of all-time.

If the Islanders wanted to really make this work they could start advertising in Vice and play Bon Iver during the intermissions and Fucked Up after every goal. They could even sell PBR exclusively throughout the arena and official Islander super-skinny jeans in the gift shop.

This seems like a match made in hipster heaven.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is the biggest pile of fly-flicked horseshit I have ever read in regard to both my hometown and my hockey team.

While I do regard the entertainment value of this and chuckled, you probably have never been to Brooklyn and don't know what you are talking about in terms of who lives here. It's the 4th largest city in the nation and has a ton of Jews, Arabs, Asians, Latinos, Gays, Irish, you name it. And that is what makes it totally awesome, not just one rube of an enclave that is considered cool. This cutural bullshit phenomenon called the hipster has now come to define Brooklyn somehow for people who don't live here, and even for people who already have lived here. Hey farm boy, there have ALWAYS been a ton of people here who read lots of books, love the Smiths and The Jesus and Mary Chain, sport a lot of tats, wear outdated clothing, relish eating homespun artisan pizza (before THAT was cooooool), work odd hours and have a brain -- they just weren't looking to make it all so lo-fi cool in the digital age while listing BKLYN as their hometown on FB only to speak with an Arkansas accent. If I had a ton of money to burn, I'd go open up a store in the middle of hipster-mecca Williamsburg that blasted all music they/I love, and had organic this and that, but it'd be owned/run by REAL Brooklyn people selling traditional Brooklyn stuff, speaking with Brooklyn accents, trying not to impress everyone wrapped in the hipster fugazy Brooklyn flag.

Back to the Isles -- Brooklyn has always been in NYC's shadow, but no more. The Isles would not have to move here to be successful, they just have to win, and win consistently. And no marketer would dare bring back the fisherman jersey realistically. Everyone in Brooklyn who is a hockey fan mostly is a Ranger fan anyway, so it'd be tough to gain new ones for a bit, hipster or no. And these hipsters likely would not be running to attend games since eminent domain was used to ensure the building of the Barclays Center, something many highly-educated and politically active Brooklyn folks fought tooth-and-nail. According to the sterotype, most -- there's that word again -- hipsters would sympathize with that.

So yeah, your post had entertainment qualities, but is totally pigeonholing of a town you don't know crap about -- basically a 1-note joke or Twitter feed that turned into a sitcom. Come visit and jump off the Verrazano Bridge. s

TheMetalChick said...

Dont take it so serious, Anonymous... Brooklyn is awesome.

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading the second you called islanders fans apathetic... we as fans have been through so much crap with this team. we arent apathetic, we're hurt... And low attendance has nothing to do with the actual fans.. if you win, fans will come.. when a team has been at the bottom of the nhl for years, fans stop wasting their money... it happens with every team in every sport... fuck you

Matt Horner said...

I don't get you Anonymous #1. You say you get that it's a joke but then you take it really seriously and get mad. You are very complex.

Anonymous #2. Thanks for getting though three paragraphs.

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