It’s been a rollercoaster month for the New York Islanders and its fan base. After another disappointing season where the Isles could not be considered much more than mediocre the brass new it was time for a change. It came suddenly, with Garth Snow and Doug Weight – the team’s GM and head coach – getting fired on the same day. Soon after, it was announced that Barry Trotz, fresh off a Stanley Cup victory, would become the new bench boss, while the legendary Lou Lamoriello would man the position of GM.
Everything was heading in the right direction, but there was still one matter that remained wide open – team captain, former first overall pick, and franchise player John Tavares was still not locked up.
It was an unusual situation, with a name as big as JT’s rarely hitting the open market. When July 1st rolled around it became clear that the Isles were on the outside looking in, and around 1pm the hammer dropped – Tavares was a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The emotions that would have been streaming through a Isles fan’s mind would have been tough to truly summarize. Betrayal? Understanding? Appreciative? Angry? The response was all over the place.
We saw jerseys being burned, we saw thank you letter being written, but overall people understood why Tavares made the decision he did. He was going home. He was going to the team he grew up loving. He was making his childhood dream come true. He even wrote an apology letter to the franchise, but it may have been a little too late.
Two weeks after the signing, one Isles finally seems to have nailed down the emotion they are feeling. It’s not necessarily the decision he made, it’s how he made it. They aren’t as much angry as they are hurt. To summarize the whirlwind of emotion, they penned it in the form of a breakup letter. The author, labeled only as IslesfaninJersey, had it published by Lighthouse Hockey – an division of SB Nation for Islanders fans.
The following is from Lighthouse Hockey:
It’s hard not to relate to that. While some hockey fans will undoubtedly say something along the lines of “stick a sock in it”, you know that it would have been important to Tavares to not hurt the fan base that loved him so much. No, he didn’t do anything wrong, but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have been handled better.
If you take a look at the comment sections on the article itself, or the Reddit Hockey post, fans are praising the accuracy, and it appears to be one of the more relatable summarizations of how Isles nation feels.
Breakups suck, and unfortunately in this case there aren’t as many fish in the sea quite as impactful as Tavares. But hey, that doesn’t mean Isles fans don’t have anything to be excited about.