The NHL and Adidas released the new uniforms for all 31 teams this past week in Las Vegas. The ADIZERO jerseys are lighter, cooler, and more durable. For fans, not much of that matters. At least for me, it doesn't. I care more about how they look. So, how do they look?
Every single team had a new look, sort of. Whether teams actually changed their design or not, they now featured a common collar, even if teams have laces. The collar is the same type of collar that was featured on the World Cup of Hockey jerseys, wider, and inexplicably for some teams, only the back half was coloured in. Hopefully, those teams will come to their senses as soon as next year and fix this problem. Other than that, for most of the league, the jersey design was the same, except now, hem stripes followed the curve of the hem instead of being straight across. With the Reebok jerseys, that created a very ugly whale tail effect, while with the new Adidas jerseys, they are more hidden. Of course, they could have just made it with a STRAIGHT hem in the first place, eliminating the stupidity of that particular design.
Thirteen teams, including the Vegas Golden Knights, were said to be getting a makeover, some minor while others a completely new look. Unless I missed it, there was one more team that revealed a brand new home jersey, to the complete surprise of everyone, and it was a most pleasant surprise.
The Carolina Hurricanes had switched up their jerseys in 2013 and were immediately being compared to Team Canada. For whatever reason, the home and aways did not match. Black was only found on the logo, collar, and trim of the numbers on the home jersey. They fixed that problem with their new home jersey that features a sublimated hurricane flag pattern that was featured on their original set. Unfortunately, they chose to keep their road uniform.
Many teams quickly changed their jerseys following the initial Reebok Edge roll out in 2007. The Avalanche should have been one of those teams. Finally, they righted a wrong, but going back to their mountain design to the delight of their fans. It's a simpler version, dropping a stripe. Strangely, the only blue and black found on both jerseys are in the logos, numbers, and collars. They will still wear a black helmet at home and black pants, which may have been a missed opportunity to adopt a Burgundy or blue helmet and pants.
Vegas Golden Knights
The new kids on the block, Vegas becomes the first team in NHL history to wear a grey jersey full time as their home uniforms. It's an okay design, one that seems to have gotten love from a lot of people, although I am more: bleh. I don't hate it. It's just okay to me. The logo features some fancy embroidery (which I like), and is also featured on the gold stripe on the sleeves (which I don't). Going with grey instead of black on the road whites was a poor decision in my opinion, as it looks washed out. Hopefully, the white gloves was more for show and won't actually be worn on the ice by the players.
The Wild have a pretty good jersey history. They may not always be perfect (or match), but they are pretty nice. Their new home uniform continues that trend, as the team returns to green as their permanent home colour after being in red since 2007. It is similar to their white road uniform (which they are keeping the same), but moving the hem stripes to the middle like Montreal and Florida. I would have much prefer had they put the stripes on the hem, which is why the jersey is not quite perfect.
The first team to announce that they would be changing their uniforms, going with orange at home, but tweaking the colours slightly. While the Oilers have fully embraced orange, unlike any other time in their NHL history, it was a curious decision to not be wearing blue at home.
Most fans assumed they would be rocking the third jerseys which they had worn throughout the playoffs. Instead, they shocked everyone by unveiling a brand new orange uniform that mirrors their regular uniforms. Opinion has been mixed about the design. Upon seeing a leak of the design, I was not a fan. However, I've come around to it a bit after seeing a better picture of them. They still should be a blue team, though, and it will be interesting what happens next year when teams will be allowed to have alternate jerseys again.
The Western Conference Champions needed to do one thing and one thing only. Actually, two things. Switching the socks on their road jerseys to be the way they should be, with the blue on the bottom and yellow on top to match the jersey. But, the major thing they needed to do was get rid of the vertical stripes that run down the sides and intersects with the hem stripes. It marred what was a really nice jersey.
On their new jerseys, those stripes have been removed, but I guess the designer decided to keep on going, removing a stripe from the sleeves. Gone are also the "fangs". That leaves a jersey that is rather bottom heavy, losing some of the character that came with the now old jersey. They would have benefited from at least finding a way to keep the "fangs" without the vertical piping or by adding a blue shoulder yoke. It's still a decent looking jersey, just not as interesting. The guitar string treatment with the back numbers now finds their way onto the sleeve numbers.
The road whites were not released and it will be interesting to see how they look. I have a feeling the sleeve stripes will mirror those of the old socks.
New Jersey Devils
All of the teams that have made significant changes have been good to decent. Now comes the truly bad in the Devils. It's not a good thing when fans take to twitter to voice their displeasure with the new look and the response is this:
The Devils had a uniform that did not need to be changed, rivaling those of the Original 6 in looks. Done right, though, it could have brought in new revenues (isn't what this is all about?) Done wrong, well you get the backlash, and maybe ownership questioning their decision to change. Would it be surprising to anyone if they have another new look in a couple of years?
The sleeve stripes are similar to the old stripes, but pumped up with steroids, making them over-sized. The hem stripes were dropped for a single, thin black stripe at the bottom. With Lou gone, everything goes now in New Jersey, I guess.
The truly weird part is how the Devils are embracing their past. The past, being the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Scouts, where the Devils once played, but have never acknowledge before hand. Considering how bad and inept those teams were, it's curious as to why now. I guess they needed a story to sell the new jerseys.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the few teams to release their road jerseys. They had good reason to do so as they have decided to drop Tampa Bay from them, simply going with the logo. It's a good move that makes for a cleaner look.
It's weird how some of the teams that announced changes were something as simple as changing the number font like Boston, who dropped the double outline on the NOBS and numbers. Then, there is San Jose with a new shoulder logo, not coming out with an announcement at all, waiting for the teasers to drop to let everyone know about the change. The new shoulder logo is a vast improvement on their the previous one, which was simply the full body shark. It was too big for a shoulder logo, which may have been the reason for the change, as I have noticed that all shoulder logos seem to be closer to the collars than before.
Other teams like Calgary and Buffalo have finally dropped the piping and pit stains that go to nowhere. What they didn't do, to the dismay of their fans, was to change their looks altogether. Buffalo fans would like the team to return to royal blue, while Flames fans would like something, anything, better than what they currently have. That might have to wait until they get a new arena, which at this pace, might be never.
Just like Boston, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators have new, more traditional block number fonts.
Design wise, the shift to Adidas is a much more pleasant one compared to when Reebok introduced the Edge Uniform System in 2007. There were too many teams using the same templates and weird piping that do not belong on a hockey uniform. It would have been nice had Adidas made right which was the most stupid thing about the Reebok jerseys, which was the curved hem. They did and didn't, reducing it, but not eliminating it all together.