By now, many of you probably know that each team in the Canadian Hockey League – consisting of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, from west to east – got a makeover this summer, courtesy of our friends at Reebok. The makeovers essentially mirror those Reebok made in the NHL for last season, whereby Reebok introduced its ‘sleeker, more stylish’ Reebok Edge template, which, in a nutshell, makes the “sweaters” more form fitting and includes a rounded bottom hemline, rather than the traditional straight cut.
And, like Extreme Home Makeovers does to my mother once a week, most of these changes make me cry.
These changes were received in the NHL last season with mixed emotions. While some preferred the lighter weight material, many players complained of perspiration getting into the gloves due to the jersey’s water resistant make-up. Many were offended by the jersey’s tight fit, as compared to the jerseys worn the prior year (which, in my opinion, had ballooned in size a bit anyway); they apparently request a larger jersey, doing away with much of the tighter fit now. And, still others disliked the rounded hemline, and the Rangers went so far as to remove it from each player’s jersey.
The worst part about the new template – and the worst part of Reebok’s rather new involvement in our fine sport, if I may say so – is its non-traditional vertical striping pattern, which ditches more contemporary horizontal striping along the bottom hemline and arms (see Blue Jackets and Predators, for example).
While a minority of teams stuck with traditional designs (the Blackhawks, Red Wings, Rangers, Canadiens, Bruins and Devils included) a large handful of teams, including the Flyers, Oilers, Flames, Sabres, Thrashers and Avalanche among others, added their own splash of color to the template, but did little to wiggle from Reebok’s cookie cutter approach.
A few of those teams – the Flyers, Oilers, Sabres – have relegated the colored jerseys to third status and are now using a retro-inspired jersey, complete with horizontal striping, as their primary uniforms. Others have gone with more traditional-looking, non-retro thirds, too.
Why? Because these Reebok templates are fowl. They leave little room for originality, and the horizontal stripes are as ugly as an Eric Daze/Mike Ricci love child. Reebok assumes that every hockey team’s jersey should look like the University of Miami football team’s and that simpler is not better.
And, now they’ve got the CHL…
The newsies can be found here.
The Soo Greyhounds, London Knights, Peterborough Petes and Regina Pat, among others, turned out well. The Edmonton Oil Kings’ threads will drape me torso soon.
Verdict: I suppose not so bad. It could have been worse. The CHL seemed to learn from the NHL’s mistake, and most teams stuck with fairly traditional designs, which turned out much better than the senior circuit’s.