That news comes from Moe Khan, who hosts a show on this Montreal sports radio station and also works at a major Montreal sports retail outlet that he’s asked me not to name. According to Moe (who says he’s gotten his info from the his retail store manager and from the store’s Reebok rep), Reebok’s vector logo will be eliminated from NHL jerseys next season and be replaced by — get this — the Reebok wordmark. As Moe explains it, this is just the latest step in the program that has seen the wordmark appearing with increasing frequency on goalie equipment, on the line markers on the boards, and on T-shirts. Moe says this is strictly an NHL thing — the vector logo will continue to be used on NFL gear.
I’ve tried to confirm this with the NHL and with Reebok. Unfortunately, they’ve been too busy with the holidays and the Winter Classic; I’ll follow up with them in the next week or so. But after speaking with Moe, and also checking in with our resident hockey expert, Teebz (who, as it turns out, has heard from one of his local sports retailers that the logo may be gone next year), I feel solid enough about this to share it with you here. For now I’m considering it an “unsubstantiated but plausible rumor,” so let’s beat the rush and start being pissed off about it now.
Sportswear wordmarks on uniforms are not unprecedented. Back in the late 1980s, the Rawlings script appeared on the right sleeve of several MLB teams. And in the late 1990s, when the NFL uniform manufacturing contract was split up between Puma, Adidas, and Nike (this was before the whole thing was consolidated under Reebok), Puma and Adidas both used a wordmark in conjunction with a graphic icon. (Nike just stuck with the swoosh.)
But those makers’ marks, as irritating as they may have been, were tiny compared to the NHL’s giant vector logos, which are often housed in the super-annoying Ree-box. If the Reebok wordmark ends up being similarly large, this is going to set a new standard in logo creep offensiveness, and another black mark on Gary Bettman’s record.
But none of this is confirmed yet. Let’s see if it’s true. Stay tuned.
Steam of Consciousness: While the rest of you wusses were ensconced at your nice, warm New Year’s Eve parties, Collateral Gammage and I ventured out into the minus-5 wind chill to partake in a hallowed Brooklyn tradition: the ringing in of the new year via the steam whistles at Pratt Institute. They had a calliope hooked up to the steam feed and to a keyboard, so there was cool steam-driven music for an hour or so before midnight. Then, when the clock struck 12, they sounded all the big steam whistles. The whole thing was insanely loud and steamy, which met with everyone’s approval. (If you’re curious, check out some of the video clips here.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Chargers will be wearing their powder blue alts for tomorrow’s playoff game against the Colts — a tricky proposition, because they’d already sent their powder blues to the league office so they could be auctioned off for charity. Details here (with thanks to Shivaun Watchorn). … Speaking of the Chargers, several readers have noted that Antonio Cromartie was wearing black shoes (and no white socks at all) in last Sunday’s game. … Our latest DIYer: Brian Shane, who bought a plain black hoodie, ordered some patches from these guys, and created this. … Brad Spence got his grandfather a cool Xmas present: a 1966 Orioles treatment from Joe Hilseberg‘s Jersey NameFrame. Here’s a shot of him opening the present, which Brad says was a big hit. … Pitt and Oregon State went color-on-color in the Sun Bowl, resulting in a penalty for the Beavers. … The Sun Bowl also featured two HNOB players: LaRod Stephens-Howling and Victor Strong-Butler. At one point, the latter tackled the former (all of this courtesy of Doug Keklak, who also provided a shot of Elena Della Donne’s double-decker NOB). … Very odd bowl patch placement for Vanderbilt at the Music City Bowl (with thanks to Joshua Linville). … Interesting the Winter Classic patches were even worn on practice jerseys the day before the game (with thanks to Dustin Burns). … Pretty amusing uni-related angle in this Alaska Airlines commercial (big thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Great visual timeline of the Cincinnati Bearcat mascot here (with thanks to David Sonny). … Clemson wore solid orange in the Gator Bowl, plus backup QB Willie Korn had an NOB typo. … Georgia Tech’s blue jerseys finally made their on-field debut in some bowl game whose name is so corporate and stupid that I refuse to spell it out. … Best bowl uniforms of all: the USC Song Girls, as usual (with thanks to Michael Romero). … Ryan Brister sent along some photos from SI’s The College Football Book, including shots of Richard Todd with a shredded jersey, Navy wearing gold, and USC and Ga. Tech going color-on-color in 1969 (plus you can catch a partial view of the Trojans wearing the college football 100th-anniversary decal). … “We might walk out with a blank jersey. We have that option.” Who said that, and what was he referring to? Look here (with thanks to Paul Richard Cook). … “Jason LaBarbara played his first game for the Canucks last night, after being picked up in a trade from the Kings,” writes Steve May. “So you have a situation where the goalie has his old team’s mask and pads. But in this case, he also had his old team’s breezers and socks.” … James T. Huening attended the Winter Classic and took a bunch of photos, which you can see here.