We all know Sparky the Dragon as the lovable beast of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He's that big team colored seven foot dragon parading around the Coliseum full of team spirit with high dedication to entertaining the fans. Whether it be taking photos with children, skating victoriously on the ice after a win, or in the stands getting the crowd loud, Sparky is one of a kind. Mascot for both the New York Islanders and the New York Dragons Arena Football team, Sparky is a gentle soul who loves kids, sports, and the occasional glass of hooch.
It seems like a simple, happy life doesn't it? Watch and work at fun sporting events, hit the red carpet from time to time, hob nobbing it up with celebrities and atheletes, but the story of Sparky's life has much more depth to it, more drama and scandal than his friendly grin would imply.
The origin of Sparky has been occasionally questioned from time to time. There is no record of Sparky pre-90's. It is believed that he was a child of the 1800's and maybe was spawned in Conneticut. *Note: One dragon year is equal to like 20 human years.
Sparky was wrapped in an over sized and dirtied Slayer shirt, native and clueless so Nyisles took in the young creature, making home for it in the lower depths and dungeons of the ancient Coliseum. Nyisles raised little Sparky in secrecy while nurturing him, teaching him the game of hockey, and building up proper skills to be a tamed dragon.
All throughout the 90's, Nyisles would manage working games and parenting Sparky all while earning extra revenue as a janitor at Hofstra. When Sparky reached his young adulthood, he began going down a slippery slope of hard liquor, gambling, and street racing on Hempstead Turnpike. Surrounding himself in a bad crowd with the likes of Trash, the Atlanta Thrasher mascot with an escort service on the side, Sparky was heading down the wrong path, spiraling into a deep depression. It was even during this time that the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" was written highlighting some of Sparky's frowned upon activities.
It was a golden haired Russian hockey player who showed Sparky the path to enlightenment. It was in the the summer of June 2000 when the hockey legend, Oleg Kvasha, was traded to the New York Islanders from the Florida Panthers. During the first few weeks of that season, Oleg accidentally stumbled upon the dragon's dungeon in the basement Coliseum after getting lost in the cavernous halls of the old barn. At first, Oleg was cautious in approaching the glum dragon, but the dapper slapper took it upon himself to fix Sparky and make him a good seed.
Over the season Oleg taught Sparky yoga, fine dining, jazz music, the works of Shakespeare, and spiritual cleansing. After being cultured and deemed stable, Nyisles knew that Sparky would be safe in to roam around the Island.
Being deemed so, Nyisles temporarily left his post at the NVMC during the off season to take his fishing boat on a journey down the eastern coast but his voyage took a tragic turn and he was never seen or heard from since.
At the beginning of the following season, Charles Wang signed Sparky to a long term contract, with an added signing bonus to be the franchise mascot for a good hunk of years. Sparky continues to follow in Nyisles footsteps as a respectable and bold mascot all while sustaining the way of Kvasha. True story.
Today, Sparky still lives in the Coliseum, but upgraded his digs into a swanky bachelor's pad. He believes in the fundamentals of reading and is a big advocate in the Lighthouse project and the youth movement. During off nights, Sparky is usually seen at Savannah or the Crazy Donkey, shopping at the Roosevelt Field Mall, and enjoying the year round beauty of the beaches. An avid golfer and surfer, Sparky also spends his summers in New York whether it be Montauk, the Hampton's, or in Manhattan.
Sparky's hopes and dreams are to one day win the Stanley Cup, settle down to have a family, and name his first dragon son Oleg Nyisles the Dragon. He has since cut his ties with Trash and that crowd, now surrounding himself with kind souls such as Carleton the Maple Leaf Bear and Youppi, that ginger Hab mascot who 'makes a mean poutine.'
But don't let the association with soft mascots fool you, Sparky the Dragon is still a fiery person, no pun intended. Even though he has learned to ease his Mexican jumping bean temper, double cross Sparky and you'll regret it. Just ask Howler the Colorado Avalanche Yeti, oh wait you can't because he's dead... I mean 'retired'.
Sparky is a true and warm hearted mascot, diehard Islander fan, and key preacher in the Church of Oleg. Next time you see his big orange and blue body walking through the concourses of the ancient coliseum stop and give him a high five, hug, or just a pat on the back. Even though he's a creature, we're all Islanders.