With the 2017-18 NHL season, we’re entering the adidas era of jerseys.
Adidas took a respectful, some might say cautious, approach to its initial stylings. Its signature touches — three stripes, the trefoil logo — are nowhere to be found among designs that, in most cases, depart very little from the Reebok products that went before.
‘Redefining Fit, Feel … Construction’
In the introductory press conference for the new jerseys, held in Las Vegas in June 2017, adidas concentrated on the technical aspects of its new ADIZERO togs, which take, adidas said, “the hockey uniform system and hockey jersey silhouette to the next level by redefining fit, feel and lightweight construction.”
The new jerseys will be up to 19 percent lighter, depending on the team, 133 percent more permeable (breathable), and 72 percent stronger in abrasion testing, adidas said.
But How Do They Look?
You can break the 31 new sweaters into three categories:
- These Are New?
- Tasteful Tweaks
- Attention, Jersey Shoppers
These Are New?
Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, the Islanders, the Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg essentially danced with what brung ’em.
- Buffalo: The Sabres lost the weird piping that afflicted several Reebok jerseys, regained the unique chest numbering of their earliest days, and went with a darker blue.
- Calgary: The Flames also axed the piping and, like the Sabres, went from loose “shoestring” laces at the neck to three horizontal “speed” laces.
- Columbus: The Blue Jackets lowered the red-and-white piping that ran from sleeves to the top of the shoulder, instead running them into the NHL crest at collarbone height. Subtle, but a definite improvement.
- Los Angeles: The Kings pulled the same piping relocation as the Blue Jackets.
- Ottawa: The thicker black stripe under the arms works, but this was a jersey in need of an overhaul, not a tweak.
- Washington: See Columbus, L.A.
Attention, Jersey Shoppers
- Carolina: The considerably dull Reebok jerseys sported by the Hurricanes were given heavy dollops of black above and below the waist, and sleeve stripes to toughen up the Hurricanes’ look.
- Colorado: The Avalanche were big winners, regaining their mountain range hemline and shoulder yoke while introducing a touch of silver.
- Edmonton: OK, so the Oilers essentially took an alternate jersey and made it their official home sweater, but they did so much more. Gone is the previous blue sweater. The old orange alternate features deeper blue shoulder yokes and stripes; plus, a thinner striping profile on the sleeves and waist, a tweaked collar and sleeve numbers.
- Minnesota: For the person on your Christmas list you couldn’t give coal. These green pajama tops are hideous — though arguably no more so than the red atrocities that preceded them.
- Nashville: The Predators’ new look seems unfinished. It lacks pizzazz. It’s not horrible, and subtracting the mishmash of intersecting piping from Reebok is a plus.
- New Jersey: Reviled in early reviews, the guess here is that this one will grow on folks. Abbreviating the droopy Reebok shoulder yoke and eliminating the wide waist striping make for a leaner, meaner silhouette.
- Las Vegas: A bit more glitz may have been in order for the debut jersey of Sin City’s debut major sports franchise. However, the Golden Knights’ jerseys — especially the pewter, black, gold and red home sweaters — are impressively traditional without being derivative. Those white and gold gloves however…
As discussed above, there are jersey exceptions — some of which are exceptional. Yet for the most part, adidas chose to advance its jerseys as hockey equipment rather than as fashion statements.
Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Specialist for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. Lee picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and has yet to put it down. He went on to play hockey at the college level for Illinois State University while earning his bachelor’s degree in marketing.