Are you a game-used hockey memorabilia collector? Are you an Islanders fan? Well, pretty soon you'll have the opportunity to purchase plenty of game-used equipment from the hockey team formerly known as the "Fishsticks". The Isles and Steiner Sports Memorabilia are going to be announcing a partnership pretty soon where fans can own Mike Sillinger's stick, or maybe Rick DiPietro's leg pads, or maybe even a lovely smelling glove used by Chris Simon.
In case you aren't into sports memorabilia, Steiner Sports is probably the biggest in the business and have brought game-used items directly to the customer. A few years back Steiner made a splash in the industry by signing an exclusive deal with the New York Yankees to sell game-used items from players as well as stadium artifacts. Since then, customers can purchase Derek Jeter's jersey (including dirt stains if he made a diving play or slide), collages featuring slices of a player's bat or infield dirt, authentic Yankee Stadium signs that could be seen around the concourses, and even the Opening Day bunting that is hung around the mezzanine levels, amongst other interesting collectibles.
Full Disclosure: I used to work for Steiner in another life for a couple of years, so I am very familiar with their game-used division
The game-used memorabilia industry has been growing over the years, so it makes sense for the Islanders to do a deal like this as it will give them another revenue stream as well as satisfying fan demand. When the Steiner deal was completed with the Yankees, there was years and years worth of items in the basement of Yankee Stadium to sort through, including game-used Thurman Munson pants. Apparently George Steinbrenner didn't like to throw things out. I have no idea how far back the Islanders game-used catalog will go, but it'd be cool for fans if they could get their hands on a Billy Smith stick (including ankle chop marks!), or maybe even a Ryan Smyth game-used jersey, which he didn't wear for long.
What fans can also expect are some very creative items to be available. I can imagine seeing some plexi-glass collages, game-used net plaques maybe some ice/puck combinations, blade/photo collages, or some nice pieces featuring just the numbers from a worn jersey. Not only does the Yankee-Steiner deal have memorabilia, it also includes some special VIP Cocktail Parties with players and on-field clinics, which would be very cool for any young Islanders fan to hit the ice with their favorite player and skate with them around Nassau Coliseum.
How much will the game-used stuff cost? Well, if look at the Yankee-Steiner items, you may be scared off by the price, but realize it's the Yankees, the crown-jewel of baseball merchandise sales and the major-league team with the most history. Prices for Islanders merchandise should be much more affordable, with lower name players probably coming dirt cheap. Depending on the amount of inventory Steiner Sports is acquiring, there could be special sales to dump items out of stock. Steiner is known for doing a "3 bats for $99" sale, featuring no-name players every once in a while, as well as a "bat lottery" where for a nominal fee for each entry you bought, you had the chance to win a bat from a lower-level player or someone like a Derek Jeter.
National Hockey League teams have been selling game-used memorabilia for a while now, mainly through their team stores and charity auctions. It's the first I believe, between a team and a memorabilia company (if I'm wrong, please let me know!). Knowing some of the products that Steiner creates with its' game-used product, I can assure Islander fans that they will not be disappointed and will have the chance to own some very cool items, many, one-of-a-kind.