The New York Islanders will include Pat LaFontaine among former players who are honored as part of this final season at Nassau Coliseum.
That and several other commemorations were included in the team's announcement that individual game tickets for the second half of 2014-15 will go on sale to the general public on Dec. 22.
Because LaFontaine's exit as an Isles player came via holdout and trade demand, and his exit as a team exec came in a resignation the same day "Real Deal" Neil Smith was fired, and his name would surface in every other outlandish "part of a group looking to buy the team" rumor, there is some checkered history between the franchise and the player who amassed 566 points in 530 regular season games wearing an Isles uniform.
At Lighthouse Hockey we've certainly had our fun with that history and fans' varying response to it, including a satirical promotional schedule for this season that suddenly isn't quite as funny. (Unless LaFontaine's night is canceled, that is. Then it's really funny.)
LaFontaine's return will come on March 24, when the Isles face the Minnesota Wild on Trade Demand Night. (Okay, that last part is a bad joke. The lines are really blurring here.) The announcement phrases it as LaFontaine "return[ing] for one final salute at the Coliseum."
Regardless, good to see this player, who many fans remember fondly and would like to see honored -- some even think 16 should be retired -- coming back to the scene where the majority of his NHL career occurred.
Other Promotions and Special Events: Trots, Boss, Tonelli(?), Fishermen and '72
The Isles also announced a couple more mini-locker nights featuring members of the dynasty:
- Bryan Trottier Mini Locker Night, Friday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
- Mike Bossy Mini Locker Day, Thursday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. vs. Boston Bruins
Perhaps as important to many fans: John Tonelli may be among other former Islanders getting their own night. Arthur Staple of Newsday reports Tonelli is among others that are unconfirmed but in the works:
Not confirmed yet, but in the works: Night to welcome back multiple past #Isles, including John Tonelli.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 16, 2014
The tenacious Tonelli is a longtime fan favorite -- his heroics against the Penguins in 1982 preserved the dynasty -- and he'll be a very, very welcome site at the Coliseum if they are able to nail it down.
Also a couple of historic jerseys will make comebacks, in different ways:
- As previously reported first by Newsday, the team will wear their mid-'90s "Fisherman" jerseys for warmups for one game: Tuesday, Feb. 3, vs the Florida Panthers.
- And in an appropriate close to the non-playoff portion of the Coliseum's life: On April 11, the final regular season game at Nassau Coliseum, the Isles will wear jerseys from the inaugural 1972 season with orange numbers and no nameplates.
Fans will have the opportunity to bid on both sets of jerseys in advance of each game, with the proceeds going to the Islanders Children’s Foundation.
The team announcement also includes promotions like specific bobblehead nights, if that's your thing.