By Phil Hecken
It’s not often I’m so underwhelmed by the introduction of a new uniform, and an All Star Game uniform at that, that words fail me. This won’t be one of those times, but the words I have for what the NHL unveiled (to exactly zero pomp and circumstance on the NHL Channel yesterday) won’t be very complimentary.
Let’s take a look at the home and away sweaters first (click to slightly enlarge):
No, I’m not kidding you. Those are what the teams are going to wear in a couple of weeks in Columbus, OH.
The words “Bold” and “Fresh” are not adjectives I’d use to describe these, but here’s what the NHL says about them:
“A bold, fresh jersey design is the perfect complement to the speed and agility of those selected to play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Reebok believes it has accomplished just that with its state-of-the-art look and modern appeal in the uniforms for the participants at this year’s event.”
Reebok is mistaken. These are bland and stale. About the only thing that’s fresh about them is the neon green (somewhere between Nike’s “volt” and adidas’ “electricity” — Reebok calls theirs “elite green”), this color jumped the shark about three years ago (and I happen to like “volt” as a color — but like the teal of the ’90s, this is long past its expiration date).
The black and white jerseys are mirror images of each other (that’s fine), and both contain the shiny shield the NHL insisted upon foisting on teams like the Islanders, Kings, Ducks, Rangers, Blackhawks and Penguins last year.
NHL Reebok designer Dominic Fillion describes the shield thusly:
“The shield has a chrome effect and the body has a little more of a texture and variance in the finishes. We wanted to raise the volume on the colors in the shield, dial it up with some custom chrome finishes while offering a new perspective on what a hockey crest could be. We feel there’s a newness and freshness in the crest that fans have never seen before.”
The two stars within the shield represent the two conferences.
Underneath the arms are electric green stripes surrounding four black and gray lines. The electric green also borders the collar and cuffs, and the green/black/gray striping pattern from the underarms appears to be repeated down the sides.
Backs of the jerseys are plain (which is nice) and the numbers are outlined in electric green. The NOB font is legible and it’s tough to tell if they’re on a nameplate or if they’re direct-sewn onto a plate-like shape on the shoulders:
If you look closely, you’ll notice there is a significant amount of mesh. I’m guessing this is to keep the players 236% dryer, and 54.75% faster.
Both the black and white sweaters have a new All Star Game logo, and the ASG patch will be located on the shoulder/upper arm:
This is not just new for this game, but new altogether. It also is a departure from Reebok/NHL’s previous jerseys. “Typical All-Star jerseys had the team logo for a particular player on the shoulder and in its actual team color,” said Fillion.
“With this jersey we wanted to be consistent from head to toe, so we brought the team mark on the shoulder down to a more darker tone so it would complement the uniform look yet give it a modern visual,” Fillion continued. “We feel it complements the colors of the jersey well.”
Well it does complement the jersey, but it also blends in. Almost too much. It hasn’t been said, but I assume that somewhere on the jersey will be a patch or logo for the team each player is repping. I would guess that would go on the opposite shoulder (seems unlikely to be on the chest, but I suppose it could be). The ASG patch does read “All Star Game” with “Columbus * 2015″ in smaller print beneath it. The logo is a takeoff on the Blue Jackets’ crest. Other than those two identifiers, nothing about this uniform says or looks like the host city’s uniforms.
What about the pants and socks? They are just as plain (not that that’s a bad thing) as the jerseys:
Both sets of shorts are black, with a truncated electric green stripe, and what appears to be an even shorter gray nub. White jerseys get white socks, black get black — with one strip of electric green on each, truncated and located just below the knee.
The target audience, as with almost all new merchandise that teams actually wear, is kids. That’s not just my impression, that’s what they actually say:
“The NHL always wants to be the pioneer in connecting with the youth while showcasing that in several different ways,” Fillion said. “We wanted to make sure that this mindset translated onto the ice and into the uniform. The inspiration for us was to complement the League’s direction to where it is going as a brand and be able to create a design and uniform that would fit that direction and look.”
Except that these designs aren’t inspiring, and I doubt there will be too many youths who consider this a “must have” — I’m not saying one of the jerseys should have been electric green (although Jim Vilk would probably wear that), but they are nothing like the bright and flashy crap we’ve seen recently.
I don’t hate these uniforms, and I appreciate the ‘restraint’ shown. They just do absolutely nothing for me either. Bland and boring would have been fine if the NHL wanted to bring back the orange, black and white of the Wales & Campbell conference jerseys. Or they could have done a riff on the CBJ red/white/blue colorscheme, at least making the uniforms ‘unique’ to Columbus. We got neither here.
Color me unimpressed.
Of course, I’m not alone in my distaste for these. Check out the comment string that followed my tweet of these unis. While no one called them bland or boring, there were few words of praise for this effort.
OK readers, what say you?
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
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Classic Football Scoreboards – Sixth in a Series
by Gary Chanko
This week the series travels to the Windy City to visit Soldier Field, yet another football stadium built in the 1920s.
Home of: Chicago Bears (1971–2001; 2003–present), Chicago Cardinals (1959), Chicago Blitz (1983–1984), Chicago Fire/Winds (1974-75), Notre Dame (1929), 41 College All-Star Games (remember these!)
Opened: 1924 (three construction stages, last stage completed in 1939)
Soldier Field, a memorial to the soldiers of World War I, opened in 1924 as Municipal Grant Park Stadium (renamed one year later) with a 45,000-seat capacity. The first football game was played in November of that year when Notre Dame defeated Northwestern 13-6. Two years later the Bears defeated the Chicago Cardinals 10-0 in the first professional game on November 11, 1926.
The outline of the scoreboard is a departure from a pure rectangular shape. The rounded arch that houses the timing clock, I’m guessing, is intended to reflect the stadium’s classical architecture. This 1920s design lasted sometime into the mid 1970s before being modernized with the latest electronic displays.
In this illustration the scoreboard is reproduced as at appeared in an early 1970s NFL match between the Packers and Bears. The first quarter is almost over just as the snow begins to fall.
A Few Things to Know
• The original scoreboard, as shown in this Army-Navy game from 1926, remained remarkably unchanged for decades. Compare the basic configuration layout in the photo with the illustration.
• In 1927 the all-time collegiate football attendance record of 123,000 was established in Soldier Field, when Notre Dame beat Southern Cal.
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Trivia Time: But this wasn’t the largest ever crowd hosted at Soldier Field. 260,000 faithfully (hint!) packed their way in for this event…what was the event? The answer is at the bottom.
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• Not unlike other large capacity stadiums, during its 90 year history Soldier Field served as a venue for a diversity of events, including World Cup soccer, international rugby, ice hockey, concerts, classic boxing matches (Dempsey-Tunney, 1927), ski jumping, and even stock car races. No scoreboards were injured during any of these non-football events.
Next time the series continues the Midwest tour with a look at a classic scoreboard at a venue all pro football fans will recognize, New City Stadium.
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Answer to trivia question: In 1954 Soldier Field supposedly hosted its largest ever crowd; 260,000 attended the Catholic church’s Marian Year Tribute. Did 260,000 people actually cram into Soldier Field or simply walk through in a procession? Don’t know the answer.
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If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
Greetings and Salutations!
by Andrew Seagraves
The UWFFL is getting into weekend two of our UWFFL Minor League Playoff schedule with the semi-finals of the Central League and a make up tilt from the Metro South semifinals today.
The Central League had a stout slate of teams with the final week of play helping extend OKC’s season into the playoffs. Dallas, Iowa and Pontiac proved to be the class of the league and were rewarded with the top three spots in the brackets. In the stretch, it was a two-horse race between Rapid City and Oklahoma City with OKC overtaking the Badlanders with a win to secure the final spot and a chance at post-season glory.
Now on to Part Two of the Central League season and the first sockdollager will pit the Division II stalwart Dallas Outlaws against the ever improving Iowa Corn.
Dallas and their counterparts, the Prowlers and the Corn, have all held the number one position in the league since the beginning of the season. The Outlaws were one game away from the Premier league last season losing to the Vancouver Seawolves in the PCC Championship game. This season, the Lone Star Banditos are trying once again to make it into the Bigs doing little to their look from last year. This stasis has proven to be a solid choice. The Outlaws are keeping with their standard White lids, Blue jumpers, white pants and blue socks as they take on the Corn.
The Corn have planted acres of new crops and yielded success with their new togs this season. Iowa debuted this season’s new digs in the 2014 Peppermint Bowl against the Giraffe and the Field of Nightmares has not been the same for their opponents. The Victory Kernels have been one of the few success stories where a change will do you good. For their fray with Dallas they have changed their look a bit adding green epaulets featuring their UCLA stripes at the edges. Along with their new shoulder accoutrements they are bringing out their Green lids, White guernseys, athletic gold britches and green socks.
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The other cynosure clash in the Central League playoffs pits the Pontiac Prowlers against the Oklahoma City Superbeasts.
The Oklahoma City Superbeasts may have moved locations yet didn’t make any major changes in the way they look. They stayed with their standard Black, Purple and white livery and with that they are doing all they can to get back in the Big Leagues. In their final game of the season they faced the tough Duluth Ice Dragons and the battle of the beasts favored OKC. This win secured their golden ticket for the finals. For their matchup against the Prowlers they are going full Yeti with black lids.
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From the Metro South Conference, the Florida Geckos and Missouri Magnetic will face off in a do-over of last week’s semifinal (and this time we promise not to call them Swordfish). The Geckos have tweaked their white aways with green pants while the Magnetic are doing their best Argonaut impersonation with light blue jerseys, dark blue TV patches and white lids and pants. The winner of this game will advance to the MSC Championship game and face Little Rock who pulled out a squeaker last week against Charleston, 58-56.
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In La Lega action: Metallurg PK will travel to Auckland to take on the Kaumoana, The mighty Lokomotiv are making way to Sydney to face the Spiders, and the surprising Stockholm Lutefisk will face the Horses of CSKA in Moscow.
The Premier League will see the undefeated Pod of Anchorage try to stay that way as they face the Ponies in the stables of Minnesota, the Nasty Ship Slaughter will make port in San Diego to square off against the Storm and the Reign Fire will be throwing back to their 1962 championship season with their “My Heart in San Francisco” jerseys against the Texas Timberwolves in Austin.
Head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on which uni combos you think are berries. Also, get on over to our Prospective UWFFL teams Google+ page to enter your team into the 2015 UWFFL Spring D-League and you too can try to make your way to the playoffs next year at this time.
That’ll do it for this week and we look forward to see y’all next weekend, where we will close out the Division II Conference Semifinal Round on Saturday and focus on a big day of Premier League action on Sunday as teams get ready for the playoffs.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: The New York Yankees were born 112 years ago yesterday, and not three months later, the media were bitching about salaries (great find from Todd Radom). Also from Todd, a look back at some early Yanks uniforms (they were nicknamed the “Highlanders” or “NY American (league)” back then. … NFL HOF finalist John Lynch played for the Kane County Cougars in 1993 as a Marlins prospect. @The_Real_Cub asks, “what uni is this?” According to @Screwlack, they were the Gulf Coast League Marlins (Kissimmee) back then. … The author of this Bloguin article feels there are five MLB teams who need a uniform makeover. … Here’s an interesting article entitled, “Experience an intense bout of vertigo when viewing 10 baseball legends in their final uniforms, which is something we’ve covered on UW before — seeing players who have played for long terms with one team (not as common in the free agency era) being traded at the ends of their careers to new teams. Some of the more modern guys played for several teams, but it’s still weird seeing them in very different uniforms from the one’s we picture them wearing. Nice find by Jonathan Daniel. … Whoa — check out this photo of Barry Bonds in a Serra Padres uniform — and check out the horizontal AND vertical lettering! (nice find from Rob Weber). … Interesting NY Times article on throwback uniforms and the question of whether it’s OK for MLB teams to wear (and make profits from the sale of) Negro League uniforms.
NFL News: SportsNation tried to make a funny playoff bracket (note the refs beating the Lions and Packers), but they also used the old Seahawks logo (good spot by Hunter Ginn, and also noticed by James Nagasawa). … Josh Cribbs bought his fellow Colts wide receivers some snazzy bathrobes (h/t Jared Law). If you must know, here’s a bit more on that. … The St. Louis Rams (or someone on their behalf) have proposed a new riverfront stadium. Here’s another view — you can see more pics via the KMOX twitter feed.
College/High School Football News: No photo, but Kyle Mackie offers an explanation for taping on facemasks: “When I played youth football there was a rule that if any of the metal cage was exposed due to paint/coating having been chipped away we had to cover it with tape. Some kids obviously did add tape for cosmetic reasons, but I suspect many times tape was applied to conform to rules. More often than not, I think the ‘T intersection’ of mask bars would be chipped away and require taping.” … Here’s a 2002 photo of QB Steve Martic wearing a fully taped mask (h/t @LedyardFootball). … This Miami News piece, dated August 1, 1965, was sent in by Giancarlo, who writes, “This is coverage of the 1965 High School All-Star Classic football game, played in Gainesville, FL. The ‘South’ looks to be sporting the Confederate Army Battle Flag on their helmets. (Incidentally, Hendrick(s) is future NFL Hall-of-Famer Ted Hendricks).” … Oops — the College Football HALL OF FAM? (nice spot by Joshua Gleason). — Or is that simply the black tablecloth from the adjoining table just blocking the rostrum? (update: yep — a brightness adjustment shows the corner of the table – thanks to James Venes for the second shot). … Here’s a good article on the rise of Oregon as a merchandising powerhouse (Thanks, Paul). … Also from Paul, here’s a good analysis of the Miami/adidas deal. … How often do you see an UnderArmour logo on an Oregon Ducks shirt? (nice spot by Kyle Lee).
NBA News: From Mike the Intern, we have this: “Not exactly breaking news or anything but this site sells neon NBA signs, and oh God it’s so glorious.” He adds, “Really it seems they cover every team’s primary and alternate logos in ever major sport.” … Have you ever wondered how the Boston Celtics jerseys are made? Wonder no more (thanks to Phil Lawson).
Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: A couple of fans wore blackface to Thursday night’s Capitals/Flyers game. There is no explanation given for why. Anyone know? (h/t to Hank-SJ for spotting that). … The Islanders brought back the Fisherman jerseys (sort of), wearing them in warmups on February 3rd (thanks to John Muir). John adds, “So they’re not the full Fisherman jerseys, but the logo and fonts are spot on. A nice splash of nostalgia.” Here’s a bit more on that. … The Missouri Mavericks will wear ‘Slap Shot’ jerseys when Hanson Brothers are in town. Yes, that is awesome. … The Buffalo Sabres with have a Jersey Retirement night for Dominik Hasek on January 13th. … UMass Lowell will have a new jersey, which they will unveil on January 20th. … OOOOooohhh — check out the cover for the inaugural New England Whalers program – although they played in Hartford, they were originally the “New England” Whalers (h/t John O’Leary). … Unlike the awful NHL ASG sweaters, Michigan has introduced a “Hockey City Classic” jersey (h/t CJ Fogler). Now that’s a keeper. Here’s a look at the backside as well (via Chris Hall). … Also debuting last night were these ‘merica unis for the Florida Everblades (h/t Jeff Tasca. Here’s another look. … Last night during the Dartmouth/New Hampshire hockey game, the referees wore pink and black striped jerseys. Says submitter Bill Stewart, “Not sure if this is an oddity but the four refs are wearing pink. Can’t find anything online about it.” … Weird Blackhawks goalie stripes: Reader Mike Engle asks, “Has anybody showed you this? Those thick sleeve stripes also affect the goalies on the AHL level, namely the Rockford IceHogs.”
Grab Bag: Heh. David Cline writes, “I don’t know if you ever use Ball jars, but if so, I assume these won’t be on your shelves or in your pantry.” … As you may be aware, the USOC selected Boston to bid for host city for the 2024 Olympics. One of their slogans could use a little work. … “Aside from shortshorts on Sonny Bono and the lovely Jenilee Harrison,” writes Joe Solomonson, “this shot from an episode of ‘Fantasy Island’ features some lunk sporting the Adidas logo on his shorts.”
T-Shirt Club reminder: In case you missed it over this past week, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club is now up and running. Full details here.
And that’s going to do it for me for today (and, in fact, for this weekend — Paul will be covering for me tomorrow — a bit of a belated birthday present [thanks, buddy!]). Big thanks to Andrew and Gary for their sections, and for all you fine readers who submitted ticker items by e-mail or twitter. Want to also give a shout out to Shipwreck for winning the CorC (first time ever). If he posts at all this week, you’ll see him posting as “Champ” — congrats, big guy, you deserved it. And you know that next year you’ll be posting as “Chimp.”
Remember, Paul and I will be on the uniform panel today at the Queens Baseball Convention. Hope to see some of you NYC folks there. Paul is moderating (as he did last year). We’ll also have some HUGE names in the uni business, including Todd Radom and Bill Henderson. It’s a full-day event and there are other excellent panels and things to do, and a bunch of old Mets will be there sign autographs. Should be a great time — even if you’re not a Mets fan.
Paul’s birthday present to me wasn’t just tomorrow off. As you know, we are both in the Lakeside Curling Club in Brooklyn, and I’m playing in the January/February league (we both participated in the Instructional League last year) — Paul will be re-joining me for the February/March League, as all the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl (we curl Sunday evenings) precluded him from this session. I’m far from good, but am really enjoying it immensely; so much so, the other players and instructors (now in an advisory role) talked me into getting a pair of curling shoes (yes, they are that ugly). Knowing my affinity for the sport, Paul went above and beyond and got me this sweet curling broom (from Olympic Curler Craig Brown no less). I may not be able to curl very well, but dammit if I’m not the best outfitted one out there! Thanks, buddy — you’re the best. Can’t wait to try out the broom Sunday evening.
OK –Paul and I will both be off the grid for most of the day — you guys behave OK? Hopefully we’ll see a bunch of the New York area readers this afternoon at McFadden’s.
Have a great week and I’ll catch you next weekend (with some real treats — got some good stuff in the works — you won’t be disappointed). Enjoy the NFL playoffs today and tomorrow, and GO DUCKS!. Till then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
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“I’m ususally bad with names, but even I can recall ‘Mr. Spunkington’ and ‘Stevie McQuistan’ (probably the same guy, along with some other aliases) repeatedly trolling on this subject. C’mon, man, you need some fresh material.”
— Jim Vilk, on the continued posting of “blank 1976 Seahawks helmets” questions.