Sportswear companies are always talking about their “performance-enhancing” features, whether it’s moisture-management technology or extra-stretchy fabrics. But what if a uniform could provide superior results simply by virtue of its graphic properties? That’s the question raised by an intriguing note I received in August from reader Dan Franko. Check it out:
I was talking to a friend who works for [a company that does some number-crunching for the NHL]. He was telling me that they have data supporting the theory that teams with symmetrical logos, or more rounded logos, have a goaltender advantage. He said that they’ve noted a higher save percentage in goalies who have what they call a “target” logo — the Flames’ “C,” the Habs’ “C,” the Caps’ “splattered bug,” the circle behind the Devils’ “NJ.” They have a theory that a shooter’s eye is drawn to this image, and that the shot is usually pulled more toward the goaltender’s center mass.
I don’t know where you would even start to validate this theory. But the idea of a uniform/logo giving a team an on-ice advantage — I thought that was something you’d be particularly interested in.
Indeed, I was plenty interested, especially when Franko offered to put me in touch with his friend. Unfortunately, despite my repeated entreaties over the next several weeks, his friend failed to respond (understandable, if frustrating), which essentially leaves us with an unsubstantiated rumor, or maybe an urban legend.
Still, it’s interesting food for thought, especially since target-style jersey designs — or at least logos surrounded by lots of empty space — are pretty much the norm in the NHL. The only clear exceptions are the Rangers, the new Ducks design, and the Avalanche’s third jersey, plus I suppose you could make a case for the Stars and the Senators’ home design.
Anyone ever heard of this phenomenon before? Any hockey players — either goalies or sharpshooters — have any thoughts on the matter?
And I’m going to be v-e-r-y disappointed if the Rev. Nørb doesn’t have some choice comments regarding the hockey/Mod connection.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Wes Walz was wearing mismatched gloves last night (great catch by Matthew Lepke). … Genuinely surprised to see that the Mets didn’t wear any sort of memorial for Cory Lidle last night. On the other hand, almost everything about uniforms feels so scripted and predictable these days that it’s nice to find myself surprised, just for variety’s sake. … Speaking of scripted and predictable, check out the miserable new template-driven college hoops unis that have just been unveiled for UNC and Michigan State, both designed by you know who. … Interesting similarity between the UNO hockey team’s 10th-anniversary patch and the Super Bowl XXXVII logo. Full details here. … Someone else is getting into uni-watching — sort of (registration may be required, but it’s free and worth it). … Huge condolences to the family, friends, and customers of Patrick O’Connor — as fine a bartender, and as good a friend, as ever walked this planet — who died on Sunday. R.I.P., buddy.