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Weird Islanders - Episode 8 - Capital District Special (with guest Bob Dittmeier)

Six hours in a car with Butch Goring listening to the Grateful Dead. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Dan and former AHL reporter Bob Dittmeier reminisce about the Capital District Islanders, the New York Islanders’ upstate-based farm team from the early ‘90s and players like Graeme Townshend, Greg Parks, Jamie McLennan and more.

Bob takes us through the Capital District Islanders’ unique founding (that eerily mirrored its parent club’s), and talks about some of the players he covered that would go on to be short time NHLers. From Townshend’s intelligence and scary injury that inadvertently caused an entire other franchise to fold, to younger versions of Dean Chynoweth and Kevin Cheveldayoff being destined for coaching and management roles, we go around the locker room with the reporter that was there for the franchise’s entire three year history.

Along the way, they cover the birth of the River Rats, being locked out of an arena by burly security guards and a six-hour drive home with dedicated Dead Head and Capital District coach Butch Goring trying to get Bob to rent his house for the summer.

Thanks again to Bob for coming on. Bob is a longtime LHH reader and has contributed some great FanPosts like this one that still resonate.

WEIRD BONUS MATERIAL!

  • Here’s Graeme Townshend’s one-and-only goal as an Islander. I wish there was better video of it.
  • This is the scary injury to Townshend that Bob talks about. We only see the aftermath, but it eventually led to the entire Adirondack Red Wings team simply leaving the area.
  • Townshend is now a youth hockey and spreading the message of hockey inclusivity. Here’s an interview he did with Shannon Hogan a while back. It’s great to see him as part of the Islanders alumni.
  • Here’s Dean Chynoweth getting tuned up by rookie Bob Boughner in 1992. Both went into coaching so I don’t think they’d do this today.
  • Wayne Doucet had a number of fights for Capital District over the years. If you want to fall down a 90’s AHL rabbit hole on YouTube, he’s your guy.
  • The same video of Townshend scoring has a cameo by a young Jamie McLennan. I forgot he was also with the Blues for a long time. Sorry, Dom. Still, I thought his Islanders tenure was much longer than it was.


What makes a “Weird Islander?”

We’re always open to suggestions about other Weird Islanders to discuss. Remember the criteria. Candidates must fulfill one of the two of the following:

  • Played one (1) season or less for the Islanders or very short stints over multiple seasons.
  • Be a veteran NHLer who is not generally associated with his time on Islanders.

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Theme song: “Knuckles” by Björn Falk. Hear more of his music on Spotify and at Bandcamp.

Drum sfx via Zapsplat.com.