My 2012-13 NHL Season Wishlist

In John van der Woude
Sep 17th, 2012

I’m back!

Unfortunately, hockey’s not. And if these millionaires and billionaires can ever decide how to slice their pie, maybe we won’t lose the entire season to idiocy.

I’m not going to get into the whole CBA debacle, as there are huge amount of other hockey bloggers who are covering this in far greater detail and with more veracity than I could muster. Plus, that’s not the purpose of this blog. So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for hockey and will welcome it back with open arms when they start playing again. I love it too much to claim I’ll punish the league by boycotting once the season starts.

All ranting aside, it’s time to start talking hockey design again. Usually, there’s a few teams that change up some logos and/or uniforms over the summer, but everything seems to be quiet at this point. Too bad. Although there’s rumours of a new redesign of the Dallas Stars brand (which would be extremely welcome since their logo generally sucks) and the Oilers and Panthers are retiring their third jerseys.

So, I decided to end my summer of non-posting with a special post detailing a wishlist for the (hopefully) upcoming 2012-13 season. Last time there was a lock-out, the league came back with a revised set of rules and proclaimed it a new game and a fresh starts, so why not do that with design as well? Here’s a rundown of 5 design-specific things that I’m wishing for next season.

1. Home Whites

This was how it always was originally, and I’ve never understood why the decision was made to switch it up. Here’s why I like switching back to home whites. First, from a colour-psychology view, white symbolizes purity and cleanliness. Or, put another way, the home team is perfect and can do no wrong because that’s the team I’m cheering for, so they should be wearing white. The other team is evil and bad and dives a lot, so they should be dark. Simple.

Also, during the playoffs, a common theme for a lot of teams is to have all the fans create a “white-out” by wearing all white. Great idea pre-’90s, but now, that’s what the visitors (aka – the evil bad guys) are wearing. Awkward? Very.

But the biggest reason for me is getting to see the colours and uniforms of all the visiting teams. If you go to watch hockey games regularly, you get to see a multitude of colours when the visiting team wears their darker uniforms. It makes for a more interesting aesthetic rather than only ever seeing the white of the visitor and the same jersey of the home team. Bleah. It’s like watching hockey in black-and-white. And that’s just nuts. It’s even better now that most teams have moved away from the black jerseys, except for teams where black is one of their primary colours (Boston and Pittsburgh).

The only two teams that have a coloured version of the white-out are Nashville and Philadelphia, but nobody else in the league uses mustard yellow or orange as their primary colour, so there’s little to worry about with them. There’s not much of a chance to run into the even more awkward situation that the Mavericks and Thunder had last year. Don’t worry Nowitzki, those fans behind you are actually on your side.

2. Third Jerseys Become Main Jerseys

For a few teams, their third jerseys are better than their main jerseys and should be used instead. That’s right, I’m looking at you Anaheim and Minnesota. And I’ve got Columbus and St. Louis in my peripheral vision too.

I’ve already ranked Anaheim’s logo as the worst one in the NHL, but their third jersey rectifies my one big complaint, that the large D is actually more square like the rest of the league’s logos, and looks way better on a jersey, than their panoramic main logo. Drop it altogether, make the third jersey the main road jersey, create a white version and make it the home jersey (see #1 above). Simple.

For Minnesota, their main home jersey is okay stylistically, but I’ve never been big on the dominating red and green theme, and if you’re going to shrink and hide the logo on your crest, why not do away with it altogether with the third jersey, which actually uses some unique and interesting typography for a hockey jersey, in a format reminiscent of the classic Rangers jersey but much more fitting with the Minnesota brand. It could use a little work, but it’s a pretty cool jersey. Bring the red-and-green jersey out for Christmas-time only.

As for Columbus and St. Louis, I’m a big fan of their third jerseys, but their main logo isn’t prominently featured (which for Columbus might not be a bad thing), and I don’t find anything horribly offensive with their main jerseys, so I’m being wishy-washy on that one.

3. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Every year, thousands of people get together during the Christmas season to party and purposely pull out some hideously ugly sweaters so that everyone can laugh and have a good time. Why couldn’t the NHL do the same thing? Every year, during the week before Christmas, all the teams have to pull out their worst-looking jersey in their history for at least one game and wear them. It’s a win-win for the league (who gets to sell more jerseys) and for the fans and players, who get to point and laugh at each other.

Could you imagine a Lightning-Bruins game featuring these jerseys? Or a Canucks-Blues match-up? Or the Kings against the Ducks. So awesome. Like seriously awesome.

Seriously, I think this is the best idea I’ve ever come up with.

4. More Third Jerseys

When done right, the third jersey campaign can be awesome for teams, both in aesthetics and revenues. But, they can also be useful too. Think of soccer where teams always have a third jersey, to avoid situations where the two competing teams have colour that are deemed to be too similar. And then think of games between, say, Toronto and Tampa Bay – two teams that have extremely similar colours. I’m not saying that referees or broadcasters are getting confused which team is which while watching, although the casual fan might, but it’s a great opportunity to try out some different styles. For example, the Leafs to bring in a historic jersey as their third jersey. Or like the LA Kings have done. Or the Canadiens in 2009.

But it has to be done well. An example of it not being done well is the Canucks from the late-90s, with their homes, their aways, and their awfully-awful thirds. And it’s best if they stay away from the all-too-generic black third jerseys (I’m looking at you San Jose, Carolina). Creativity can flow a little bit more, like the Flames for the 2011 Heritage Classic, or the afore-mentioned Blue Jackets and Wild, or the Panthers.

Some hated the Habs’ barber-shop jersey in 2009, but it was something historic and completely different in the modern era. Done right, these third jerseys have huge potential and could help make games between the Bruins and Penguins a little more visually exciting.

5. Do Something With the Helmets 

I’m doing an upcoming post about hockey helmets fairly soon, so I won’t go too much into this one, but a hockey player’s helmet is generally the least designed element of the uniform. A colour with a decal slapped on it, and that’s about it. The only hockey team I’ve ever seen do something interesting with their hockey helmet is the Michigan Wolverines, whose helmet design is completely entrenched as part of the brand of the university, specifically the football team. I’m not saying it translates that great into hockey, but at least they’re trying something new.

I’ll go into more detail about it in an upcoming post, but overall, they’re pretty dull.

Until then, here’s a bonus wish for the 2012-13 NHL season…

6. It better *$%^ing happen!!

I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory.


7 Responses to “My 2012-13 NHL Season Wishlist”

  1. Don says:

    Re: home whites: “This was how it always was originally…” Originally as of when? Originally, teams only had one uniform. And they didn’t start wearing white at home until the 1970-71 season. So this isn’t how it “always was.” Some of us go back a lot further than 1970. Check out if you need clarification.

    Personally, I’m tired of third jerseys and alternate uniforms. In all sports. All a team needs is a home uniform and a road uniform. The rest is just a marketing rip-off. If you don’t like one of your uniforms, change it. Don’t just add another one.

    Just my opinion. You kids get off my lawn!

    • Admin says:

      True, perhaps I used the term “originally” a little too loosely. Before 1970, it was just like how it is now, with the home-darks and road-whites. But, for the reasons I stated above, I still like the reverse.

      And unfortunately or not, marketing and increasing jersey sales is an integral part of the game and a driving economic factor for the league. I’ve always found it strange how some teams get on board and some never have. Make it mandatory and then it’s just part of the system instead of strange one-offs.

  2. Kyle says:

    You echoed my sentiments about what home team=white/away team=dark subconsciously stands for exactly. The only problem with the explanation is it’s kind of racist (the white good guys vs. the invading dark bad guys), but I can live with some subtle racism.

    I always assumed the switch to darks at home was to sell more third jerseys. It seems like all the third jerseys use a dark base because there’s more to work with when you don’t have to have white as the base color. Considering how poorly teams were doing financially pre-first lockout (and I hate having to now quantify which lockout we’re talking about), it may not have been a bad idea to boost jersey sales coming out of it. As a Devils fan, I’ve never had the opportunity to experience third jerseys firsthand, so I’m all for going back to home whites even if it depresses alternate jersey sales for the other teams.

    I love the idea of teams having to wear ugly old jerseys for a game or two. Though i think that hypothetical Canucks/Blues game would literally blind some poor fans.

    • Admin says:

      Whoa dude, no racism (subtle or otherwise) intended at all. All the road uniforms are white and all the home uniforms are darker coloured. That’s just the way it is and the words are just descriptors, nothing more.

      • Kyle says:

        Sorry, didn’t mean to imply you’re racist, just that one can read the situation (even applying it to other sports with white home/dark away) as subtly racist.

        • Don says:

          You have to be trying awfully hard to see racism in that. Police cars must drive you crazy. All these years I thought one team wore white and the other a darker colour so you could tell which team was which.

  3. Harvey says:

    RE:Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

    How about the off-colored jerseys. Many if not all minor league teams do this. How about same logo/design but in red and green for Christmas (non-denominational winter solstice holiday). Many teams sell a St. Paddy’s day green one but haven’t worn them on the ice.

    Really dig the idea about the helmets.

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