HbD Breakdown: Red Wings’ Stadium Series Jerseys
The Red Wings officially unveiled their Stadium Series jerseys, for their match against the Avalanche on February 27, 2016 in Denver at Coors Field. It also confirmed what was already suspected: a white sash was going to be used on the Red Wings’ jerseys.
It also marks the first time that, officially, the teams participating in the Stadium Series are not using jersey templates mandated by the league, but are being given a little bit of room to play. However, some things are seemingly remaining consistent: minimalist and generally modern designs, and freaking gigantic numbers. So, where do the Red Wings’ inclusion into the Stadium Series jersey pantheon fit? Read more after the jump.
There’s two elements that jump out on these jerseys…partly because they’re pretty much the only two elements on the entire jersey. The first, the winged D logo they’re using. Outside of the context of the history of the Detroit franchise, I don’t mind the overall design of it. The logo is nicely structured. It’s obviously a vintage-based lettering, but it has a modern look to it. It’s simple, solid and strong, but has some good movement and elegance to it, which generally makes for a great logo. If this was a new logo for an expansion Dayton, Durham, or Des Moines Red Wings team, it could work.
But this is Detroit, with almost 90 years of history, over 80 of which they wore the now-iconic winged wheel, which we’ve determined is currently the best logo in the entire league. And they’re dumping it. So…why?
They’re basically remodelling their inaugural 1926–27 logo, when they were the Detroit Cougars, which was essentially nothing more than a blackletter D. And this isn’t the first time they’ve done so. In the 2009 Winter Classic against Chicago, they wore a more exact replica of their 1926–27 jerseys, with the same (unmodernized) D.
So, they’re wanting to bring their franchise’s history into an aesthetic that the league has determined is going to be as minimalist with contemporary flair as possible. It’s a juxtaposition that leaves one foot in the old and one foot in the new. And not surprisingly, it achieves neither.
— Chad Pinckney (@chadkins) November 23, 2015
Yeah, basically that. But, I’m not as sold on the D sucking that bad. It’s just weird for the Wings to ditch their awesome iconic logo – which works as something both modern and classic – for something substantially less awesome. It’s a cool new D, but not that cool. It just…is.
The White Stripes
The second element is, obviously, the white stripe – nay, sash – across the chest of the jersey. This has been rumoured for months, with various amounts of mock-ups emerging from wannabe NHL jersey designers (that sounds disparaging, but it’s not meant to be, as I fit into that category). And I feared the worst because some of them looked pretty bad, like they’re wearing some one-strapped back/fannypack, or a man-purse, or an archery quiver, or something else.
But they turned out better than I had feared. With a very thick stripe going across the chest, it doesn’t give the impression of being anything other than what it is: a big white stripe. What also helps is that it doesn’t rise over the shoulder either, which negates any sort of carrying sack of any kind being on the back.
However, that ends up being a part of the problem. There’s nothing on the back, so the stripe just stops on the sides and doesn’t go fully around the jersey. Because of that alone it becomes a slightly strange and out-of-sync element for a jersey: it has no meaningful starting-point, ending-point, or purpose.
Well, okay, there’s apparently a purpose. From the Red Wings site:
“ The single white diagonal stripe across the chest celebrates the iconic stripe of this storied Original Six™ franchise. Its diagonal placement is inspired by modern automotive aesthetics, and is a tribute to the automotive industry that has been a foundation of the city of Detroit.”
“Iconic stripe” maybe refers to the much thinner white stripe along the bottoms and sleeves of their regular jerseys? I’ve never considered that stripe to be iconic, but okay, whatever. The only time the Detroit franchise has had what really could be considered an iconic stripe is from their years as the Cougars, when they wore a similar chest stripes (or many chest stripes). And those all wrapped around the back at least.
As for the stripe alluding to the auto industry, that makes much more sense. It’s a pretty subtle reference though, and not sure I would have gotten it without them saying it.
When the stripe is mixed in with the style of the D logo, it again looks like something that can’t decide between vintage or modern.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but in a regular NHL arena, with regular jerseys, you can’t see the sleeve numbers during gameplay anyway. So why would they do it here? Plus, they didn’t do that for either the Bruins or Canadiens Winter Classic jerseys, which is also being played in a stadium. The argument for needing over-sized numbers just doesn’t hold up.
Speaking of the sleeves, they also have a slanted white stripe on them. These are a nice, simple addition that matches the aesthetic of the jersey, but also sensibly wraps around the entire sleeve.
Slanted sleeves are nothing new on an NHL jersey, and the stripe on the right sleeve seems to line-up really nicely with the chest stripe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so nicely on the left sleeve.
The only other unique element on the jersey is the “Red Wings” on the collar. I guess the Avalanche had “Mile High City” on their collars, so the Red Wings had to have something, right? So why not follow the same general concept as the Avs and put “Motor City” on the collar, which would connect nicely to the auto-inspired chest stripe. Or even “Hockeytown”? Instead, putting “Red Wings” just seems redundant and superfluous.
“Est. 1926”? Yeah, that’s cool. But, it’s not visible if you’re wearing it, so it doesn’t have much impact other than being a nice reminder of how old the franchise is.
As for the jersey’s typography, they’re introducing a new typeface for the numbers, which matches nicely with their iconic arched nameplates which they, thankfully, left untouched.
The jersey is essentially a reversed version of their original 1926-27 Cougars jersey, but with the stripe put on a slant and taken off of the back, and made to look more modern. Which seems to be its main detriment. It’s a jersey that is trying to be old and new at the same time. It looks over-designed, but at the same time, it’s clean and minimalist. It looks like an on-brand Red Wings jersey, but also feels out-of-sync. So, it’s neither an outstanding jersey, nor an awful jersey. I don’t really mind it, but I’m definitely not in love with it.
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