Last winter, the NHL announced that as part of the 2020 Stadium Series, the Colorado Avalanche would be hosting an outdoor game at Falcon Stadium on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The game was later scheduled to take place on February 15th against the Los Angeles Kings. For the second time in four years, the Avalanche are set to host an outdoor game, not only because of the favorable climate but more importantly because of the love for the game in the Rocky Mountains.
“We know how the state of Colorado feels about the Avalanche, and it has been a great love affair since they won.” said Commissioner Gary Bettman during a press conference at Falcon Stadium last month. “There’s a tremendous appetite and support for hockey at all levels here, including and especially at the youth and college level.”
Hockey is second to none in Colorado and the opportunity to play the game at historic Falcon Stadium was too tempting for the league to pass up.
As the game draws closer, fans have been eagerly anticipating the release of the new jersey to be work by the Avs. Then came the leaks Tuesday night:
Remember those beautiful Winter Classic jerseys for the Stars and Preds?— JB Designs (@jbrolley_design) November 13, 2019
Looks like the hockey gods have something... different in mind for the Stadium Series pic.twitter.com/O2an17PGUY
The reaction on Twitter was...let’s say mixed. There were some who liked the bold new design but for the most part, people hated them. Everything ranging from outright anger to fans in denial wishing they weren’t real. But they are. Above is a youth replica version, and here is the whole look:
Just had a buddy send me this picture. Said he saw it in a group on Facebook. Looks like they might be real. pic.twitter.com/nMqfmxaLA6— Jesse Montano (@jessemontano_) November 13, 2019
But you know what? I like ‘em.
I get it, they’re different and hockey fans don’t always like different. But in a league that has a tendency to celebrates blandness, it’s a welcome surprise to see a team step up and do something creative.
The new design borrows elements from the Avs’ current alternates. The negative space at the bottom of the A matches the rocky mountaintop from the crest, which itself is a reference to the old Colorado Rockies logo. The one nit pick I have is that it might look nicer if the A extended down a little further.
I also love the blue pants, gloves and (likely) helmets. The black/white pants and gloves the team usually wears simply don’t match well with the team’s look. It’s lazy and boring.
Aside from the current third jerseys that the team wears during rivalry games, the Avalanche have history of very underwhelming jerseys. Their current home and away jerseys are fine but nothing more than average in comparison to the rest of the league.
When he Avalanche previously hosted the Stadium Series, the team wore a white jersey with a variation of the Colorado “C” we see on the current alternate jerseys. These were lame. A throwback logo on white jersey with a couple over sized stripes on the arms - boooorrrrrriiiinnnnggg!
There were also the two sets of alternates that were nothing more than generic “create-a-team” jerseys with COLORADO written diagonally down the front.
And of course there were the horrendous home and away jerseys with the thin piping up the side that the team wore through the “Cody McLeod Years”.
For this new look, team could have taken the lazy route and defaulted back to another Rockies throwback - but what’s the point. It would have been boring and the team clearly didn’t want that. The Avalanche are pushing fomr something new and pulled off something that is very good - and almost got to great.
Maybe I need to set the scene. Picture this:
Snow falling over Falcon Stadium. The Rocky Mountains in the distance. Cale Makar weaving his way through four Kings players. A picture perfect pass to Nathan MacKinnon streaking in over the blue line. MacKinnon blowing around Drew Doughty and snapping a perfectly placed shot over the shoulder of Jonathan Quick. The roar of 45,000 Avalanche fans reverberates across the Academy. Pure Magic.
Or maybe we just need to see Gabriel Landeskog and his beautiful smile sporting this new look to win people over.
When professional sports teams try to be aesthetically creative, it’s often met with outrage. Hate for these jerseys was inevitable. For most, the rage will die down with a sober second look. For the rest, it’s ok not everyone shares the same taste.
But these new sweaters are going to look outstanding on the team. They’re bold, original and will give the team a special look to mark a special occasion. Now we get to look forward to what kind of new set up the goalies come up with for the game.