For at least 12 months now, NHL fans have been waiting in anticipation for the rollout of Reebok's new league-wide jersey system. Ever since we first heard the jerseys would be changing (it was originally slated to happen this season, but was put on hold for a year), rumors have been flying, ranging from the minor (teams would change back to white jerseys at home) to the severe (every NHL team would have their jerseys and logos redesigned). So it was with great anticipation that we looked forward to the NHL's official unveiling this past Monday. Finally, all our questions would be answered.
Except they weren't. Turns out, there wasn't much to Monday's event - the only jersey shown were the All-Star jerseys. No team unveiled any new jersey designs - heck, they didn't even announce which teams might change their designs. Gee, it's not like the NHL to botch something in the PR realm. Oh, wait.
- Third jerseys do seem to be going away next year. Or, rather, teams are going to need to pick just two jerseys to go with. Ostensibly, this is so that Reebok can get the jerseys manufactured in time, although I suspect there might be an eye to maximizing jersey sales as well. You can bet the alt jerseys will be back, and it wouldn't surprise me in a few years to see teams having multiple alternates and fashion jerseys.
- Looks like home teams will still wear dark uniforms. This might be one of the few changes that make me happy.
- All teams will be able to change their jerseys next season. According to Lukas, 6 teams are considering making changes, although, in typical NHL fashion, which teams remain a big secret. Boston, Washington and Dallas have been the three teams most frequently mentioned as getting new jerseys. Only Dallas seems to be semi-officially confirmed (again, kudos, NHL for that top-notch PR staff).
- Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News describes the new Stars as follows: "From what I've heard, they are very simple and basic. The white one has black striping with green in the letters and the old logo. The black ones have "DALLAS" in a semicircle across the front. Both have numbers on the front (I don't like that much) – the whites with the number on the shoulder and the black with the number underneath the "DALLAS." The striping is traditional around the arms and on the bottom of the sweater."
- As mentioned above, teams don't necessarily have to ditch the 3rd jerseys. The Minnesota Wild are dropping their green jerseys and using their 3rd jersey as their home jersey next season
- The Columbus Blue Jackets are replacing their main logo with their 3rd logo (a good move, IMO).
- There were several published reports that the Maple Leafs would be unveiling a new logo at the break as well, but now there is no confirmation that they are making any changes.
- Oh, and if you are planning to buy a new jersey next year...save up. Sounds like authentic jerseys will be $400+. It was also rumored that replicas would be available in only one color (don't remember if it was dark or white), although I'm not sure this has been substantiated.
That's what I have for now. I'll update as I stumble across more info. And, again, a big thanks to the NHL for completely ignoring a large contingent of fans who take jerseys very, very seriously.