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August 4, 2012

Saturday: HIGH FIVE!

WOW! What an honour to be posting on HJC! Hello everyone, Colin here to bring you a weekend post.

This summer has been really slow on all counts around the NHL. Sure there were a few big free agents signings in the first couple weeks of July, the Rick Nash trade, and the Shea Weber offer sheet, but all of these events have been pretty underwhelming. It seems like negotiating the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has really put a damper on everything else. We NHL fans aren't even getting much love in the jersey front. Nothing new has been announced.

So with the lack of action on all fronts, it gives me a chance to take a step back and have a solid look at what we have going on in today's NHL jersey-wise.

Ryan has asked me to post on my top 5 favourite sweaters from the NHL today.

I must remind you that these are MY favourite jerseys and I have my own reasons for including these sweaters in the ranking (which I will share and explain). There are certain sweaters in the NHL that are absolutely untouchable (like the Habs or Blackhawks). These sweaters are in a class of their own in terms of creating the classic hockey look which we are familiar with, and having amazing staying power. As much as I respect this type of jersey, and if I was to do a top 5 BEST hockey jerseys post  they would undoubtedly be included, they aren't necessarily my favourites.

without further ado, here are my top 5 favourite sweaters from around the NHL today!

Number 5: Nashville Predators Home Jersey

photo from shop.nhl.com
I like this jersey for two main reasons. Firstly, it is a sleek, simplified look for a team that has never really had that. The original Preds jerseys, and even those introduced when the EDGE jersey system took over, were busy and really rooted in the Y2K-modernist schol of jersey design and really didn't have much staying power (funny side note, the first jersey I ever owned was the original Predators dark jersey. It was a Christmas gift when I was in grade 5, so please don't let this inform your opinion of me).

When these new sweaters were introduced there were, as I see it, three real strengths to the design:

photo from shop.nhl.com
- The jersey and logo are massively simplified going from six colours in the logo down to three, and also eliminating some confusing extra patterns on the logo. This simplification creates a classic look with plenty of potential staying power.
- I also really appreciate the tie ins in the jersey to both the culture of the city of Nashville, and to the Predators nickname. The collar bone stripes on the front of the jersey really remind me of the teeth of the Predator on the main crest. Also all the tie ins to Music City (the piano keys on the back of the neck, the guitar strings through the numbers, and the guitar pick shoulder patch logo). I also really like the Nashville wordmark on the back of the neck.

Country musician Charlie Daniels
photo from cbc.ca
- What I like best of all about these jerseys is that whoever designed them gave the Preds fans what they wanted. For some reason Preds fans really loved the mustard yellow thirds which were worn from 2001-2004, and have wanted a yellow jersey ever since. Good on the Predators brass for noticing this, and giving the fans what they wanted.   




photo from predators.nhl.com

Number 4: Winnipeg Jets Away Jersey

photo from shop.nhl.com
Okay, I admit it, I have Jets fever. A large reason this sweater makes my top 5 is because of what it represents. Having a new team in Canada is really exciting to me, and this probably brings this sweater to the forefront for me.

Aesthetically, I like what is going on here. especially with the arm striping. For me the way that the Jets (and also L.A. Kings) have used striping patterns where the horizontal stripes go over the full arm stripes represents a significant step away from the Reebok cookie cutter jerseys which used half arm stripes (think Florida Panthers, or the Edmonton Oilers) which were introduced when the EDGE uniform system took over

I also like the subtle allusion to the RCAF rondel in the logo, and how well the identity fits with the strong military history in Winnipeg. Solid Uniform.


photo from jets.nhl.com


Number 3: Vancouver Canucks Alternate Jersey

photo from shop.nhl.com
photo from sportslogos.net
I am a Canucks fan, and love my team, but hate their regular home and away sweaters. The alternate sweater on the other hand is one that I really love. I love the fact that the stick in the rink made a return as the main crest of the sweater. I also really love the simple, classic striping pattern. This sweater also marks the very first time that the Canucks namesake (Johnny Canuck) makes an appearance on the teams sweater, even if it is just on the shouder patch. I think that this sweater is way more in line with the Canucks brand identity than any of their whale uniforms. If the Canucks made this sweater their full time home jersey, I would not complain.


photo from canucks.nhl.com


Number 2: New York Rangers Away Jersey

photo from shop.nhl.com
This jersey makes my top five favourites simply because of the shoulder yokes. They are so cool. Cool enough for me to put aside the pain associated with my Canucks losing to the team that wore these sweaters in 1994.

This sweater has had amazing longevity and has really become a classic ever since it was introduced in 1978. The only change that I would like to see happen with this sweater would be the use of NEW YORK on the front of the jersey instead of RANGERS. Other than that, I hope this sweater remains unchanged for the next 40 years and beyond.




photo from senators.nhl.com


Number 1: Ottawa Senators Alternate Jersey

photo from shop.canada.nhl.com
This sweater is beautiful on its own, but in comparison to the other sweaters in the Sens jersey set, it is really stunning. The Sens really got this one right when they were designed it for their 20th anniversary. I really like the clean, bold striping. This look is really strong, and when you see Sens players lining up wearing these sweaters, they present a very unified look.

I also like the use of the simple O logo. I could see this look working well for a number of NHL teams (especially the Boston Bruins, and Dallas Stars... how cool would it be if the Stars actually had a big D as their main crest, especially considering "Big D" is a nickname for Dallas!?).

One neat thing I enjoy about this sweater is the bilingual shoulder patches. That has got to be a first. Fittingly the Sens, a team from Canada's capital, and with a broad fan base which includes English speakers and Francophones have pioneered bilingual jerseys in the NHL at least.
photo from shop.canada.nhl.com


logos drawn by Ryan Haslett (HJC)

I also like how this jersey uses vintage white, but doen't bash you over the head with it. It is present and effective, but subtle and not overpowering. The same treatment is applied to the sens classic barber pole striping pattern. It is present, noticeable, and effective without permanently burning the repeating white-red-black-white-red-black pattern into your retinas.

One more thing about this sweater which I really like is that the concept for it originated with someone who did concepts for fun, like we do on HJC. Jacob Barrette had a preliminary concept for this sweater posted on Icethetics. This concept caught the eyes of the Senators, and they brought him on board to help design these sweaters. This is a really cool story behind this sweater from a jersey concept designer's point of view, and it definitely inspires me to work on my own designs, in hopes that someday the same could happen to me.



photo from senators.nhl.com


And there you have it, those are my five favourite sweaters from the NHL today. Hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I will have the opportunity in the near future to post for HJC again!

5 comments:

winnipegjets96 said...

great post colin! very well written and enjoyable. I'm glad to see you like the Jets jerseys, all and all, I hope you are given the chance keep writing for HJC.

Justin said...

Excellent post, Colin! As always (like on your blog) it's very well written and keeps me entertained! I hope you will become a HJC writer!

Steven Grant said...

Great Post. Very good reasons for why these jerseys are in your top 5. You sure set the bar high for whoever else may be applying.

Justin said...

Also I would love if posts like this became a regular weekend thing. It keeps the blog fresh and new aside from the typical concept posts. Just a thought.

Colin May said...

thanks guys, I appreciate the encouragement!