John Tavares
Getty Images

Find out what promotional item the New York Islanders should giveaway for John Tavares’ return to the Big Apple. 

It’s going to take at least two years for the New York Islanders fanbase to emotionally get over the fact that John Tavares strung them on for over one year and left the team for unrestricted free agency this offseason.

Not only did Tavares leave New York, but he signed with an up and coming Stanley Cup contender in the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the Isles fans have already marked their calendars for Feb. 28, 2019, to “boo” their former captain when the Leafs come to town, New York should also consider having a unique promotion for that night.

On that Thursday night, for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop at the Barclays Center, the Islanders should have an Isles’ themed pajama-onesie night for, let’s say, the first 7,000 fans in attendance.


For starters, fans would probably get a kick out of the promotion and embrace the theme even if the team wasn’t playing the Maple Leafs. However, there’s a more important notion as to why the Islanders should consider following through with this epic promotional night.

On July 1, 2018, after Tavares had officially signed with Toronto, the former Isles’ first-overall selection (2009) tweeted out a throwback photo of himself as a youngster in obnoxious Maple Leafs’ themed pajamas.

It didn’t take long for the Orange and Blue faithful to mock their once beloved captain, either. The nickname, “Pajama Boy,” was officially designated as Tavares’ new codename for the remainder of his NHL playing days. Yes, it’s understood how “special” going back home to play for his hometown Leafs is, but Tavares had to have seen the backlash from this social media post; especially since he just left one of the biggest professional sports markets in the world.

As a friendly reminder on how the Islander faithful felt about his disappointing departure, and as a loud welcome back to New York, the Isles should mock Tavares in a humorous and friendly way with a pajama-onesie giveaway for all ages.

Now, team President and General Manager, Lou Lamoriello, more than likely won’t approve this promotion, but it’s worth a shot from a marketing standpoint. Yes, it’s rubbing something in the face of one of the franchise’s greatest players of all-time, but it’s also an item that would be fun for the fans to have regardless of who New York is playing.

A team such as the MLB’s, Tampa Bay Rays, did a pajama-onesie giveaway that was based on one of the team’s mascots (DJ Kitty), and it was a hit last summer at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

If the Rays can sell that giveaway as a well-accepted item for all ages, then the Islanders should be able to do it better.

Also, perhaps everyone in attendance can receive free bagels on their way into the Barclays Center…ok, maybe that’s too much to ask for two weeks after Valentine’s Day.

Still, the only thing better than having a pajama night this season would be having the Leafs’ first visit to New York take place at the old barn, Nassau Coliseum.

Follow Kyle on TWITTER

Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.