HbyD Roundtable: 2022 Olympic Jerseys
The 2022 Olympics are just around the corner, starting February 3rd, but once again we find ourselves in strange times. NHL players aren’t participating, COVID concerns are still ongoing, diplomatic boycotts are happening for a flurry of reasons, yet one thing we know for certain — Olympic hockey WILL happen in just a few weeks.
Despite the lack of hype leading up to this year’s Olympic games from within the hockey world, we have been getting glimpses of the uniforms that will be worn in Beijing, and the whole HbyD crew sat down for a roundtable discussion on what we liked (and didn’t) about each country’s sweaters.
Ally: The first to be unveiled was Canada’s — what was everyone’s initial reaction?
John: Underwhelming, overall. It’s not terrible, but the white jersey is clearly the best of the bunch. I’ve never been one for adding black to Canada’s colour palette, and the black uni just exacerbates that issue. Bland, boring, no life to it.
Kris: The white version is the best for Canada — can’t say I’m a huge fan of the black in the others. The shoulder number placement [also] seems a tad odd, kinda cramped in that color block.
John: Yeah, the number placement on the shoulders is pretty odd, which is surprising because Nike has never done anything odd before with their jersey design.
Ally: It is an odd element that no one’s really talking about. The stripes feel like they should be on the elbows, not the biceps. The conversation seems to be mainly around the leaf looking like a turkey butt.
John: Turkey ass or not, I’m glad they did something interesting with the maple leaf, but(t) it’s not the greatest application. 2018’s beveling effect worked better, while it’s better than 2014’s PetroCanada look.
Ally: USA really didn’t do much at all as far as visual interest or depth either. There were some great fan mock-ups floating around that would’ve been way more striking than what was actually produced.
Cutting it close.— Justin Brolley (@JustinBrolley) November 24, 2021
With less than an hour until the official unveil, here's my prediction for what we'll see from @usahockey this Olympics based on the teaser images from the team twitter.
Full uniform in thread 🧵 pic.twitter.com/FnjvfZC6eS
Dave: The U.S. and Canadian uniforms show a disappointing lack of visual impact. The U.S. designs look a lot like the awful color rush experiments that the NFL continues to throw at us. The 2-color Canadian uniforms scream for a third highlight color to give them some visual life. I’ve not been a fan of the maple leaf “pie slice” logo treatment which segments what is such an awesome element.
Ally: At least Canada attempted some innovation with the leaf, even if it does look like a turkey butt, and like you said Dave, the U.S. uniforms just looks like a store brand color rush attempt.
John: Totally, the US ones just fall flat. To me, every iteration of the U.S. jerseys over the last 5–8 years have been trying to modernize the classic 1980 jersey, and it’s just not working.
Dave: The U.S. and Canada have such a great history of terrific Olympic uniforms, which had my expectations pretty high. So I think this makes the designs that much more disappointing. It makes me wonder if they do any marketing focus groups before releasing the designs. I suspect not.
John: I’m with you Dave, both Canada and U.S. have had such great uniforms in their past, but they don’t seem to have any interest in incorporating them more heavily into their current designs. I’m still waiting for the a new version of Canada’s 1972 Summit Series jerseys… but I’m not holding my breath.
Ally: I wish the U.S. would just stay with the classic 1980 style instead of riffing off it. Why mess with perfection — ie, the Red Wings, Canadiens, etc.
Kris: Canada and US both pretty much look like a forced redesign when they didn’t need to mess with something that didn’t need updating. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” really applies here. Also a chance these will look better on the ice. The mannequin photos don’t help these at all!
Ally: Finland had the right idea using actual humans.
Kris: Yes they did. A boring mannequin on a non-photoshopped white studio background seems to indicate the level of enthusiasm.
John: I guess with the lack of NHLers going, maybe they’re not as pumped about unveiling the jerseys?
Kris: I think the lack of a ton of commentary on the Canada jerseys speaks to our impression of them — they’re OK. Not amazing, but not terrible either.
John: To me [Finland] is the clear front-runner in the jersey derby so far. The move to a muted Vegas gold, keeping the two-tone blue, and ditching the red just beautifully refines the jersey. Using the lion from their crest as the primary feature (without Suomi or the full crest) is long overdue — it’s the design equivalent of picking the low-bearing fruit to me. And the complexity of the crest is perfectly matched with a relatively simple design on the rest of the jersey.
Ally: A true case of less really being more.
Dave: For me, Finland is the easy winner here, a much more classic design that will be striking on ice. It does seem like little or no effort was made in presenting the designs, which doesn’t matter if the designs are awesome. But when they are presented in a mediocre style, it brings everything down a notch too. I am also wondering how the other three will look on real people!
John: I gotta give it to Sweden too, they know what looks good and they just don’t mess with it at all, no matter what Nike tries to throw at them. And Slovakia’s feels pretty standard for them. It’s a solid jersey with no massive complaints at all, but nothing to get overly excited about. A clean, classic approach with the typical Slovakian elements included.
Ally: They definitely played it safe, but compared to the more out of the box swings and misses we’ve seen in Olympics past, I’d far prefer this any day.
Dave: Slovakia seems clean and classic to me. Nothing out of the ordinary but tasteful and simple. Should look great on ice.
Kris: Bold color blocking and very simple overall. Should look pretty decent on the ice. Looks like they fought the urge to re-imagine the wheel like some other countries did
Ally: So addressing the elephant in the room, what do we think about
Russia the “Russian Olympic Committee”…?
Dave: Russia’s is a hot mess (cold actually) and looks like they asked some middle school class to come up with a design. The circle is especially clunky on the red jersey. So much more potential, but maybe this is par for the course with the state of Russian Olympics currently.
John: Yeah, Russia just feels like a “who cares, let’s just put something out” kind of design to me. Which, given their status with the Olympics right now, feels understandable. One part of me thinks, they cheated, got in trouble, so why should they get nice jerseys?
Kris: Just not much there. The templatized numbers crammed up on the shoulders on an otherwise blank jersey seems really odd.
Ally: I feel like Russia having to compete outside their own flag is both an opportunity and a challenge uniform-wise. On the one hand, there’s not much to go off of, since they can’t use any kind of Russian symbolism or history, but at the same time, it’s kind of an open canvas to do anything, in which case they totally sh!t the bed. So final rankings?
John: Finland an easy first. Sweden second, very close behind.
Ally: I’d also rank Finland first as well, followed by Sweden.
Dave: Finland is the easy winner here, a much more classic design that will be striking on ice.
So the HbyD crew agrees unanimously, Finland and Sweden get our seal of approval on their Olympic sweaters, while Russia is in the doghouse. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!