2005-02-18 / Sports

“Birth Of A Dynasty- The New York Islanders”

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

It is one of the forgotten teams in New York Sports history. Sandwiched between two Roles Royce dynasties and local focus on more centric Big Apple teams, the New York Islanders of the early 1980s have found themselves lost in the sports fabric record.

With Nassau Coliseum being the furthest major sports venue from the center of Manhattan, the Islanders prided themselves on being a suburban organization, which also has caused their great teams of the past overlooked.

But that is a travesty.

When New York was looking for heroes during a disenchanted period, the Isles raised themselves above the fray and at the time took the hopes and hearts of the City and the sport

So Newsday beat writer Alan Hahn has put out a new book on the 1980 New York Islanders called “ Birth of a Dynasty - The 1980 New York Islanders ” (Sports Publishing, LLC, 165 pgs) and hopes that his narrative will put those great Islander teams back on the map in the New York fabric.

At 165 pages, Hahn is able to bring to you the details about a team that was played some of the most exciting hockey this area has seen. Obviously the bulk of the book is about the 1979-1980 season, but the author starts off with the origins of the teams in 1971 and the hiring of GM Bill Torrey. As you go through the pages, Hahn narrates a brief history of the Isles and the building of the championship team up to 1980.

Hahn goes into detail with what happened that faithful season. He tells it from a point of view from someone you can tell loved that team. He explains to the reader, in the beginning, how he was an Islander fan growing up in a Ranger household - and not only the events are told but what was going through the player’s minds during these proceedings. It is a good snapshot of the season and what hockey players, especially the Islanders, were like at the time.

The 1980 season is detailed not only from the team’s standpoint, but Hahn also weaves in what some of the Islanders prominent fans were doing at the time of these important Islander events. After the victory, not only do you know what the team was doing, but what life on Long Island was like. This allows the reader to relive the events in his or her own mind - and that only adds to the experience.

Furthermore, there are many references to what the newspapers were saying at the time, which gives the media flavor of the event. Whether it was Mike Lupica in the Daily News , Larry Brooks from the Post, or Patrick Calabria of Hahn’s current employer, Newsday , the reader gets to see what was said in the papers in the words

from page 79

from the scribes of the day.

Finally Hahn also put an epilogue in the book on what happened to the Islanders over the years. It is a fitting ending to a well-made book.

Dynasty ” is a must read for both hockey fans and New York sports fans. It gives a good overview of a forgotten event gone by. Hahn reflects on a piece of hockey history in a well written narrative that captures the attention of whomever picks it up - and once they do, they will have trouble putting it down.

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