Monday, 29 October 2007

NHL And Reebok: I've Had Enough

In case you missed it last week, there was a rumour out there that NHL players were forcing Reebok's hand in replacing the "new technology" of the Rbk Edge jerseys with the old flo-knit jerseys due to the new jerseys not breathing and allowing moisture out. Of course, Reebok and the NHL came out and squashed this rumour, mostly because both see major dollar signs in this partnership. However, it remains to be seen how many players will actually switch back to the old fabric instead of the new "wetsuit" that Reebok is marketing hard. Today, thanks to our Music City Correspondant, we have a few up-close looks at the jersey. Sage Confucius sent me these photos a while back, but I needed the right venue and story to present them.

Thanks to The Globe And Mail's Eric Duhatschek, he wrote a couple of blog articles about the jersey problems. You can read the first one here, and the follow-up here.

First, here's the up-close look at the new jerseys that Reebok has designed. Thanks to Sage, we can clearly see what they look like in terms of detail. The chest area appears to have that woven wicking fabric on it, and I've never been a fan of it. Personally, it's way too stretchy for any sort of hockey jersey, and, for what it's worth, the spandex-esque feeling really bothers me.

And apparently it bothered some players from the Bruins and Penguins enough in that the sweat made by the players could not evaporate due to Reebok's technology. This was the major flaw that was talked about so long ago when Reebok introduced this new "uniform system", and now it is coming to light. There is no ventilation or cooling in this new technology, and it includes the neck, the side panelling, the sleeves, and the underarm. When Reebok tested these jerseys, they should have been tested in game situations, not a 15-minute practice session with each team.

Clearly, there are certain things on the Rbk Edge Uniform System that just aren't working. Not only are they poor in terms of ventilation and cooling, but that have those stupid rounded hems at the bottom of the jersey that I still cannot fathom as an idea of technology. Someone's great idea has already been changed into what looks like a normal hockey jersey.

The New York Rangers have decided that the lunacy of these new jerseys can left behind, and they've collectively started to "fix" the rounded hems. Thanks to Joe Duider, reader of the UniWatch blog, he sent me a few photos to help illustrate this point. Nigel Dawes' jersey has been fixed, and can be clearly seen here. The fact that he is a recent call-up from the AHL shows that this fix is being done by the equipment manager on all of the Rangers' jerseys.

In fact, Joe's photos show exactly how it is done. Henrik Lundqvist's jersey has been altered in this picture so that the rounded hemline is no longer round. In a closer view, you can see that the hemline has been folded underneath and, most likely, sewn in order for it to stay there. It occurs on all of the Rangers, and can be seen on Michal Rozsival's jersey as well as Dan Girardi's jersey.

Perhaps it is time for the NHL to go back to Reebok and ask if Reebok would like a "do over" on some parts of the uniform system. The technology is great, but it is impractical. The rounded hemlines are useless, and teams have already begun to modify their templates for their own good. Use your multi-million dollar R&D department, Reebok. Otherwise, why are you paying them?

Finally, thank you to both Sage Confucius and Joe Duider for their photos of the new Rbk Edge Uniform System. I appreciate the hard work, and you guys deserve a huge thanks. A huge thanks to commentor Tim as well. He reminded me that DAN Girardi is the Rangers' defenseman, not Joe. All the talk about Joe coming to New York City got my Girardis crossed in my head.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Tim said...

Dan Girardi, for the record

hopefully the folded up hemline trend catches on, i was definitely pleased to see straight hemlines on my rangers the last few games

Anonymous said...

on some teams the rounded hemlines dont seem that bad. i am a capitals fan and dont find it looking bad on their unis. but on some teams it looks awful