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Sports Then and Now



The Strange Saga of John Spano 1

Posted on November 25, 2013 by Martin Banks

New York Islanders fans have uttered many a profane word in the last few decades regarding the failures of their beloved team, but none so vile as “Spano.” It is rare, in sports history, to find such a bizarre story of deceit, grandstanding and unabashed bravado as you’ll find in the saga of businessman John A. Spano Jr.’s attempt to purchase the New York Islanders. Recently ESPN has chronicled the tale in one of their incredible “30 for 30” documentaries entitled “Big Shot.” Let’s take a look back at one of the NHL’s most embarrassing follies.

In the 1990’s, there was nothing left of the brilliant Islanders dynasty teams of the 80’s save for the Stanley Cup banners in the rafters and the memories of depressed fans. At the start of the 1995-96 season, Mike Milbury (whose name also is used as a swear word by Islander faithful) had been placed behind the bench as the team’s head coach. It was also the year of the much maligned “Fish Sticks” jersey, which closely resembled the Gorton’s Fisherman logo.

Islanders fisherman

 

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      As the 2021 hockey season heats up, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the all-time greats in Chicago Black Hawks history.

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