Entries by Chris (777)


Loose Threads: Alternates & Adidas

It's not quite time for the first JerseyWatch 2014 yet, so consider this a warm-up.

Penguins pondering another retro third jersey

The Pittsburgh Penguins are considering a new third jersey for next season, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. And it could make a lot of fans' dreams come true. (I'm thinking of one regular reader in particular. He knows who he is.)

The only details came by way of an article published on Dec. 13, the day the Pens unveiled their Stadium Series jersey, which the article confirmed will only be worn once.

There are tentative plans for a new alternate jersey that could debut next season. A design is not finalized, but under consideration is a jersey similar to the ones the Penguins wore during their 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup runs.

Who's excited?

If they're smart, they'll move forward with these plans. Such a jersey would probably sell well, especially among Icethetics readers. But don't take my word for it. Check out the rating for the Penguins concept I posted yesterday.

Islanders' Stadium Series look may endure

While the Pens are ditching their Stadium Series jerseys after their big game, the New York Islanders are going in the opposite direction. Isles beat writer Chris Botta tweeted last week that we're certain to see at least the new crest sticking around.

That NY look on the Islanders' stadium jersey? Yeah, it's confirmed that you'll be seeing more of it in coming seasons.

He followed up with a few details.

Expectation is that the NY crest jersey, or something very close to it, will be the Islanders' 3rd jersey by 2015.

This effectively means the black third everyone loves to hate is on the way out. Perhaps only one more season of it — if that. Maybe the Isles will surprise us and have the new sweater ready by the fall. But it's more likely they'll wait and launch it with their move to Brooklyn.

By the way, check out their current Twitter profile image.

Ducks may promote third jersey, add white road version

If you don't follow me on Twitter, you may have missed this nugget. Orange County Register writer Eric Stephens says the Anaheim Ducks may have new home and road sweaters next fall.

This was his tweet back on Dec. 3:

Plan is for current Ducks third jersey to become main home sweater, perhaps next year. I figure next alternate will be orange-based.

No more wordmark! Wahoo!

Stephens doesn't specifically say there would be a white version added as a road jersey, but it makes sense the team would want matching sweaters.

That news followed the unveiling of the Ducks' Stadium Series jersey. It would be simple enough for that to become the new third — though it may not be popular enough among fans. But I've seen mixed reviews from Icethetics readers. You've got those that love it, hate it and are indifferent to it — in seemingly equal parts.

If the Ducks were to follow in the footsteps of the Penguins, what would you think of an orange Mighty Ducks jersey? Again, I'll point you to the Concepts page to see any number of ways that could work successfully.

Adidas may replace Reebok jersey branding

In the world of hockey jerseys, the word Reebok has become synonymous with repulsive to many. But that's not why parent company Adidas may soon swap out the name seen on the back of every NHL sweater.

CBC's Elliotte Friedman included an interesting tidbit in his 30 Thoughts article posted Monday. Specifically, he wrote:

Small business item: Reebok has the rights to make NHL jerseys. Its parent company, Adidas, apparently is considering putting its own name there instead of Reebok. As part of that, we may see an extension of the current contract, which runs through 2016-17.

This isn't totally unexpected. Adidas has been trying to reposition the Reebok brand back to its focus on runners — like it has been historically. From their mission statement:

At Reebok, our innovation focus is on fitness and training, where the priority is creating products that provide a material benefit to the consumer's fitness activities (e.g. flexibility or lightweight).

Hat tip to Matt Johnson for the link.

That said, I would've expected to see Adidas reposition CCM as the big name in hockey — as it has been historically. Plus, this is a brand that still has a very good reputation among folks who appreciate (and buy) hockey jerseys.

Then again, Adidas is a bigger name with better brand recognition — even if people like me associate them solely with soccer. Regardless of any branding changes, I would not expect the Edge uniform system to be replaced anytime soon.

Lots of news here tonight. Take your time digesting it all. I'm taking a long weekend in California!


24/7 Finale's Sweater Treat

Hope everyone caught the finale of 24/7 on HBO last night. In case you missed it, though, check out the video above for the opening sequence. Beautifully shot and edited, it shows the process of turning blank Winter Classic jerseys into what would identify every man on the ice.


Top 13 Concepts of 2013

After the Blog, the Concepts page has always been a favorite of Icethetics readers. It's updated daily with fresh concept art designed and sent in by fellow readers with a knack for the artistic. And at the end of the year I like to take a look back at the highest-rated designs.

13 ∙ Team Germany by Bastian Schmülling

If there was a list of the top rookie concept artists of the year, Bastian Schmülling would certainly be among the leaders.

His consistently solid work impressed many in 2013. But it was a design for his home country's national team, posted April 28, that earns him kudos on this list.

Now if only Germany had qualified for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Keep an eye out for more of Bastian's work later in this countdown to the top concept of the year. 

12 ∙ All-Stars in Anaheim by Matt McElroy

If you consider the IceHL Project to be Icethetics' premier concept design contest, then Matt McElroy was easily the breakout star. He was responsible for designing the winning visual identities for five teams over the summer.

But on July 23, we got a look at his take on what would be Anaheim's first shot at hosting the NHL All-Star Game. Of course, we now know Columbus will take on those duties in 2015.

Matt's excellent design is definitely in the same league with other NHL All-Star logos we've seen in recent years. And voters recognized his talent with their ratings.

11 ∙ Senator Stripes by Nevill Carney

In a season where the Ottawa Senators will participate in the NHL Heritage Classic, we got a look at a stripe-filled concept from Nevill Carney on Nov. 28.

In fact, Nevill originally submitted this design back in October 2011, so it took two years for him to get his proper due. (Sometimes my inbox gets backed up.)

He actually created these jerseys as companions to the black Heritage Jersey the Sens had just released at the time.

In the email, he wrote, "Hopefully, they can find a home on Icethetics at some point."

Sorry to him — and to you guys — for taking so long to get them posted.

10 ∙ Toronto Throwback by Victor You

Cracking the top 10 is Victor You with a well-received retro uniform set for the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 14.

Maybe it was the extra dark shade of blue. Maybe it was the updated to a classic crest. Whatever the reason, Icethetics readers loved this one!

Neonix called it a "wonderful piece of art." Etrusken Raider asked, "when will this be on the ice?" And Simon wrote, "my god, this is perfect."

High praise well-earned on this one.

9 ∙ Winnipeg Throwback by Bastian Schmülling

Back-to-back throwbacks mark this point of the countdown thanks to the efforts of the talented Bastian Schmülling.

On Aug. 22, he helped us imagine a great third jersey for the Winnipeg Jets. He matched the striping and number style of the existing uniforms, but wowed us with a classic crest and colors.

"Absolutely perfect," said DanC. "This one gets 6 stars out of 5," added Kevin Y.

By the way, I can't imagine it'll be too much longer before the Jets introduce us to a real third jersey.

8 ∙ Ohio Pride by Avi Stein

Avi Stein felt like the Columbus Blue Jackets should do more to promote themselves as "Ohio's team" so he came up with this simple alternate jersey idea.

He called it Ohio Pride and it went over huge with readers!

"Why isn't this already their regular white jersey?" asked jonathanc. "These are amazing," added d'sA. "The new best I've seen on this site."

Some readers were also keen to point out out the Ohio-shaped captain's patch — a great callback to the Cleveland Barons.

7 ∙ Heritage in Vancouver by Ryan Haslett

The highly-anticipated 2014 NHL Heritage Classic — being hosted in Vancouver's B.C. Place — was the subject of one of the best concepts of the year.

Coming in seventh in 2013 was Ryan Haslett's take on Canada's only outdoor NHL game of the season.

It was the middle of summer (Aug. 17) so it was pretty hard to think about outdoor ice hockey, but we found a way.

Ryan reimagined the opposing teams in more modern colors — the Canucks in blue and the Senators in a cleaner white. Though he did manage to keep the overall feel of the game we'll be seeing this March.

6 ∙ Fixing the Flames by Laurent Elbaz

Not long after the Calgary Flames debuted their new third jersey, we were reminded by Laurent Elbaz of what they were leaving behind.

His retro-inspired Calgary sweaters were among reader favorites in 2013. He also included a third jersey design that was strikingly similar to the Flames' new look — a design he came up with long before the leak revealed the design.

Of course, the black-free set is what got voters excited on Oct. 22. Shawn V said, "Love this. It's a perfect renewal of old style, making it worthy of a new team. Ken King needs to see this, in all seriousness. Well done!"

5 ∙ Retro Blues by Tristan Mani

In 2010, Icethetics readers voted the St. Louis Blues' logo the best in the NHL. So it's not surprising to see a classic jersey design featuring the Blue Note rounding out our top 5 concepts of the year.

Tristan Mani's simple yet stunning design garnered major acclaim from his fellow readers on Nov. 6.

Ryan M may have summed it up perfectly with the first comment on the post. "Where can I buy one!!!!!"

The design even broke down barriers. Joe wrote, "Love it! Not a Blues fan at all... but this sweater is great!"

Not to spoil anything, but don't bet on this being the last time we see Tristan in this countdown!

4 ∙ Minnesota's Winter Classic by Matt Madore

You may know Matt Madore as the designer of the IceHL's Milwaukee Lagers jersey — the only IceHL jersey that actually exists in the real world!

In fact, Matt also joins our 2013 concept countdown at number four with his idea for an NHL Winter Classic matchup hosted in Minnesota in 2016.

He not only designed jerseys for the Wild and their proposed opponent — the Blues — but also included a unique logo for the game. Click on the graphic to the left to see the full post.

The Dec. 7 concept also marks the debut of Matt McElroy's IceBorn jersey template in our countdown. Mr. Madore put it to great use here. And readers agreed.

"Both of those are absolutely fantastic," Tyler wrote. "Especially the Blues."

"That Blues jersey is absolutely perfect," said Kris K, "and I wouldn't mind it if they wore this full time!"

Take note of how the Blues seem to be taking over as we inch toward the top.

3 ∙ The Red Blue Jackets by Matt Madore

Look who's got back-to-back entries in the countdown! Matt Madore takes the third spot and it all started with an outside-the-box proposal for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 26.

As the title suggests, this concept post started with an unusual red jersey for a team with "blue" in its name. And while that design was well-received on its own, the numbers soared when Matt brought the blue with a revised design later in the day.

Icethetics readers loved this one!

"Matt Madore, bravo!" cheered Henry Stebbins. "This is a wonderful set. I hope this finds its way on to someone's desk in Columbus."

2 ∙ Christmas Sweater Redux by Matt McElroy

Readers felt a bit of deja vu this past Christmas Eve as the Concepts page played host to another holiday sweater by Matt McElroy.

And you might be feeling it again as it enters our countdown as the second most popular concept design of the year. (Matt's 2012 holiday sweater was seventh in last year's countdown.)

Apparently you guys really love a good holiday sweater. Who knew? But after two years in a row, will Matt do another for 2014? And will he be able to top himself?

He's got 354 days to figure it out.

As for now, it's time to reveal the top concept design of the entire year...

1 ∙ Retro Blues (revised) by Tristan Mani

The last stop in our countdown brings us to a familiar place. Remember Tristan Mani's retro St. Louis Blues concept back at number five? Apparently, you loved his encore even more!

The highest-rated concept of 2013 was the white version of Tristan's Blues jersey from Nov. 6. As a matter of fact, it's the only design on the entire site that still averages a full five stars after almost 700 votes! That's unheard of!

Big Jim Sports wrote, "I don't know about anyone else, but I tweeted the Blues directly about this concept. You deserve to have them see this. THIS is what the blues should be wearing. These are gorgeous. Amazing work!"

The praise was well-deserved. Congratulations Tristan on having some of the best concepts of 2013!

Who will be on this list at the end of 2014? Stay tuned to the Concepts page all year long.


Bolts Represent Formative Clubs

Photo from Tampa Bay Lightning (via Facebook)

Players sport junior and college jerseys on road trip

Hey look! A reason for me to write about the Tampa Bay Lightning! The team posted a Facebook photo on Monday morning that any Icethetics reader should love.

The Bolts assembled for this week's west coast road trip, each sporting the jersey of their junior or college level team. It made for an amazing photo and I'd love to see other teams do this. (Although maybe they have and I wasn't paying attention because they weren't the Lightning.)

If my homerism is showing a little today, I hope you can understand. The Lightning are visiting Vancouver (my nearest NHL city) this week for the first time since December 2010. And it'll be the first time I get to see my team in person since January 2012 (weirdly, that game was also against the Canucks). Thank goodness for realignment!

By the way, I've got a lot of great blog post plans in the pipeline, but expect a bit of a lull through the first couple weeks of January as I use up some of my much-needed vacation time. I anticipate JerseyWatch 2014 will debut by the end of the month!


All 7 Stadium Sweaters Revealed

Screen shot via NHL

Promotional email seems to confirm Devils throwback

An email sent out by the NHL Store in New York City shows the seven jerseys that will be worn for the 2014 NHL Stadium Series. And interestingly, it includes a photo of a non-game version of the New Jersey Devils' 2010-launched throwback sweater.

Check out the screen shot above, courtesy of Icethetics reader Ryan Holmes. We know it's a "non-game version" pictured because since 2007, every NHL game jersey has featured that little NHL shield on the collar. No exceptions.

Of course a game version does exist. The Devils have worn it a couple of times in recent years for St. Patrick's Day games. But because this graphic doesn't show us the exact jersey the team will wear, we're still left to wonder whether they've really avoided the chrome crest catastrophe.

I'd say one of our New York-area readers should pop into the store and snap some photos for us, but in all likelihood the jersey pictured is probably the one you'll find on the shelf. It just won't be the one the Devils wear at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26.

All that aside, what do you think of seeing all seven of them together? Should be easier to compare and contrast now.