HbD Breakdown: Carolina Hurricanes Road Jerseys
From the Sens, to the Bolts, to the Caps, team nicknames have being making appearances on NHL jerseys. And from the Rangers, the Avalanche, the Penguins, and others, so has diagonal lettering across the chest. This is one of the very few jerseys to combine them. Is that good? Is that bad? We’ll break it down after the jump.
Rock You Like a Cane?
Let’s start this off by stating something obvious: the Hurricanes have defined themselves as a different kind of franchise this past seasons. From their Storm Surges last season, to embracing being a “bunch of jerks”, they’re focusing all their efforts of creating a unique identity.
And in that regard, these jerseys fit the bill. They’re more unique amongst the league, and they’re obviously meant to be fan-friendly, off-the-cuff, casual, and visually impactful. Check. Check. Check.
But – and call me a jerk all you want – I’m a bit of a purist, and I’ve never liked team having a nickname on their jerseys. They’re basically media-created slang terms for a team. Just like I’ve never liked the Golden Knights not being named “Las Vegas”. Slang is totally fine in casual conversation, but it doesn’t come off as professional. So sue me.
Which, again, I think is the point. Storm Surges aren’t “professional” either. But creating a brand that connects with the audience in a non-traditional market is never a bad thing. Runs to the Eastern Conference Finals don’t hurt either.
That being said, for a slang-crested jersey, it’s probably the best one from a design perspective. Granted, that’s still a pretty low-bar, but we’ll discuss that further down.
Words…Come Crashing In
Then there’s also the issue of having text as a logo crest instead of the team logo. It’s commonplace in baseball and basketball, but less so in hockey. Only the Rangers are generally allowed to get away with it because they been doing it for so long, it’s strange to see anything different.
One of the things I’ve always loved about hockey jerseys is that the prominently feature the team’s logo – it’s the only one of the four major sports in North American to do so (five, if you include the MLS). It’s what makes hockey jerseys unique.
Using text, especially a blocked-off typeface like this one, comes off as looking really collegiate on a hockey jersey. Again, maybe that’s the point: it creates a more casual visual brand. But it loses what makes a hockey design visually appealing and unique: the team logo.
The hurricane flag symbol in the “C” though is a really nice touch.
B(r)and on the Run
The other issue is that now the Hurricanes have three different jerseys that have three very different crests and designs on them. Their actual primary logo is solely on their home jersey. It’s greyed-out on the shoulders of their third jerseys, and aren’t anywhere on these new road whites as they went with their alternate logo as shoulder patches.
Granted, it’s not a great logo to begin with, but if the team dislikes the logo so much that they’re taking pains to show it as little as possible, why not do everyone a favour and just get a new one?
• More: BTLNHL #19: Carolina Hurricanes
As visual brands go, it’s becoming disjointed. There’s no visual foundation for the franchise to build off when it starts becoming disjointed, which will only hurt in the long run. I’m all for experimentation and having fun to see what works, but when things become more inconsistent like this, it will start affecting every aspect of the visual brand eventually. And a disjointed visual brand leads to a disjointed brand overall, leaving your fans and market guessing as to what your organization’s core values are.
Unless your core value is anarchy. Then by all means, have at it.
It feels like the Hurricanes are really exploring to find their new identity as a brand. If this is just part of the journey, cool, but it’s definitely not the destination.
(De)sign O’ the Times
Okay, let’s talk about the design of the thing aside from the logo. Overall, it’s…well…okay.
There are some details that are nice, like the hurricane flag pattern along the base on the jerseys (also featured on their home reds). Having it on the collar is a nice touch too.
But the pattern is bigger here than on their home reds, making it less of a subtle feature and more of a distraction, drawing your eye towards it. It feels like it shouldn’t have been included on the sleeve stripes as well to balance things out a bit.
It doesn’t help either that the striping patterns on the jersey are pretty bland, going for a basic thick stripe with a thin outline. For a jersey with no logos on it, it makes everything pretty ho-hum.
Probably the best part of the uniform is actually on the helmet, where they’ve put on a 3D reversed decal of the logo, the first in the league to do something like this. The helmet designs in the NHL are pretty boring, so this is at least something unique and interesting.
What They Should’ve Done
Double-down on being non-conventional…
It’s non-traditional, it’s experimental, it’s fitting of a franchise just starting to develop a new identity for itself, but it’s also bland and unbalanced, looking very basic and uninteresting aside from a few small details. It’s simplicity allows it to still be the best jersey to feature a slang team name, but that’s never been a high bar.
For more photos of the jersey, visit the
Hurricanes Canes’ dedicated site here.