Hockey Headlines

Monday, 8 November 2010

More New Threads

It seems to roll around every season where new alternate jerseys are being unveiled. Next week, we get our first glimpses of the new Anaheim Ducks alternate jersey, and November 24 will be the major unveiling party for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they bring their new alternate jerseys to the hockey world. All I'm going to say about this is get ready to see these new Columbus alternate jerseys on a number of occasions.

With the Blue Jackets playing the New York Islanders on Long Island on November 24, it seems odd that the team would unveil these new uniforms while they are on the road. However, according to the release, that is precisely what they are doing.

And I quote,

"The Columbus Blue Jackets invite fans to The Mall at Tuttle Crossing on Wednesday, Nov. 24 when the club’s new Third Jersey will be officially unveiled as a special event, presented by Lexus, which will be carried live on FOX Sports Ohio during the first intermission of the Blue Jackets at New York Islanders game broadcast. The mall's center court area will be equipped with video screens where fans may watch the FSO telecast live from Nassau Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m. The unveiling will take place in the center court at the conclusion of the first period."
However, it becomes apparent as to why the Jackets may be setting something up like this on a date when they aren't in town. The idea, it seems, becomes more apparent when one checks the schedule they have posted in terms of when they will be wearing the uniforms.

There are fifteen games in which the Columbus Blue Jackets will wear their alternate jerseys. Those fifteen games are as follows:
  • Friday, November 26 vs. Detroit Red Wings.
  • Sunday, November 28 at Detroit Red Wings.
  • Friday, December 3 at Buffalo Sabres.
  • Saturday, December 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Saturday, December 11 vs. New York Rangers.
  • Saturday, December 18 vs. Dallas Stars.
  • Monday, December 27 vs. Minnesota Wild.
  • Friday, December 31 vs. Ottawa Senators.
  • Friday, January 14 vs. Detroit Red Wings.
  • Saturday, February 5 vs. Edmonton Oilers.
  • Friday, February 18 at Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Thursday, March 17 vs. Detroit Red Wings.
  • Sunday, March 20 vs. New Jersey Devils.
  • Friday, April 1 vs. Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Saturday, April 9 vs. Buffalo Sabres.
The italicized games are road games for the Blue Jackets where they will wear their new alternate jerseys. As you can see, fans in Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago will get to see their home teams wear white on those nights as each of those games are one-and-done roadtrips for the Jackets.

If you're a Red Wings fan, however, you'll get to see these new jerseys a lot if you get all their games on television. The Jackets and Red Wings will clash three times on Nationwide Arena ice in Columbus, and all three times have the Jackets in their new uniforms. Perhaps they are trying to make Detroit think they are playing another team? All I know is that the Wings are 45-15-1 in their history against the Blue Jackets, so maybe something has to give for Ohio franchise.

If you're a Buffalo Sabres fan, you get nothing but Jackets' alternate jerseys. In both meetings with the Sabres this year, the Jackets will don their new jerseys to play the Sabres, including the one game in Buffalo. Unlike Detroit, Buffalo owns a pathetic 2-7-1 record against the Blue Jackets, so it's not like this push for the new alternates helps the Jackets win against the Sabres. In fact, Columbus is 3-0-1 at home versus the Sabres, giving up only six goals in those four games at Nationwide Arena. If the Jackets are superstitious, don't fix what isn't broken!

Back to why the Jackets may have set this unveiling up while being on the road, it seems that they want fans to purchase the new jersey for the Friday unveiling game against Detroit. Again, I quote from the press release,
"The new jerseys will be available for purchase the night of the unveiling event at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing. That evening, the store will stay open until 11 p.m. The FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line location at Nationwide Arena will also carry the jerseys beginning Friday, Nov. 26. From the time of the unveiling on the eve of Thanksgiving through Monday, Nov. 29, both FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line stores will be the exclusive retail source for the Third Jerseys. The replica Third Jersey will be available in sizes ranging from infant through adult, including ladies. An authentic version will be offered in adult sizes only. Fans are also reminded that advance orders are currently being accepted in person at both FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line stores."
While I cannot fault their marketing strategy, it seems a little presumptuous to assume that your fans will automatically want to buy the new alternate jersey on the night of the unveiling, doesn't it? I mean, what if it turns out like this? Or like this? Or, even worse, like this?

From what has been said, the new alternate jersey will be a dark jersey and it will feature the cannon prominently on the jersey. I have yet to see one of the new alternate jerseys, but one person I have spoken to said, "They aren't that bad". It doesn't mean they are good either.

The Jackets have ten home games in December, and they will wear the new alternate jerseys six times. Nothing says "Christmas gift" better than a brand-new alternate jersey for your favorite team, I guess, as the Jackets will the new alternate jerseys six times before Christmas as well. Marketing teams should be taking note of how the Jackets are using the holiday season to drive sales of their new look.

For all I've said, I'm interested in seeing what the new jerseys look like. If they are as nice as their current set, I'm ok with the idea of force-feeding the NHL world with their new look despite how contrived it seems.

Sometimes, though, I just want to see teams wear their regular jerseys. Is that too much to ask?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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