Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Doing Heritage Right

When it was announced that the Winnipeg Jets would be hosting a Heritage Classic game this October, there was a lot of speculation on what uniforms would be worn by the home team. The current version of the Jets don't have a lot of history when it comes to their Winnipeg roots per se, but they do have a legacy thanks to their days in Atlanta. Of course, the original Jets have a few classic looks thanks to their WHA and NHL days, but that franchise now plays in the Arizona desert. So which angle would these Jets take when it came to the heritage jersey - Thrashers? WHA Jets? Hawerchuk-era Jets? Selanne-era Jets? We finally got our answer, and it's a beauty!

Let me just say... WOW! Count me as a fan of these jerseys, and it appears that we have our answer as the logo is the 1980s version of the Jets when names such as Hawerchuk, Ellett, Smail, Boschman, Steen, and Essensa were the heroes of the day. The second thing that should be noted is that the jerseys are white - the Jets will wear white at home against the Oilers' orange throwbacks in what could be the best-dressed heritage game ever. I have to say that Mark Scheifele looks pretty darn good in the home whites and the red pants - certainly better than the double-blues normally seen at home by the Jets!

There are some elements to these uniforms that we should examine. As you can see, it won't be difficult to identify the players based on the ginormous numbers on their backs. I'm pretty sure that the space station's current occupants will be able to see who is on the ice. The patch on the right shoulder is the Heritage Classic logo which has been a common element throughout all the Heritage Classic games. The classic hem and arm striping really gives this uniform a throwback feeling, but I love the three stripes. Too many current uniforms have gone away from these traditional elements, and it's beautiful to see them return.

The Jets wore red pants during the Selanne era, so this uniform will bring that element forward but they were solid red pants only. The 1980s version of the Jets wore blue pants with a two thin white stripes and one thick red stripe down the leg, so these pants somewhat resemble those pants in design but differ in colors. Clearly, we have a hybrid of these two elements from past Jets uniforms. The patch of the jet silhouette is new to any Jets uniform as the 1980s team had a Cooper patch on their pants thanks to Cooper being the equipment manufacturer of the 1980s pants. The Jets won't reproduce that element, instead replacing it with the jet silhouette patch.

The alumni will wear uniforms that are far closer to those worn in the 1980s as seen here on Thomas Steen. In fact, they are exact replicas of the uniforms worn during that era, and the majority of the players on the alumni team are from that era. In other words, the clothes fit the men who ruled the Winnipeg Arena during the heady days of the early NHL Jets. Some of the names coming back include the men mentioned in the second paragraph, but there are some others who will join those men. Teemu Selanne, Kris King, Teppo Numminen, and Mike Eagles are better known for the 1990s Jets, so they will look a little different with the heritage logo and jerseys on them. However, it's still a great look today, and I'm glad that the Jets are getting a chance to honour the city's past hockey memories with these jerseys.

Overall, the heritage jerseys that will be worn by the current version of the Jets are, in my humble opinion, incredible. They remained true to traditional hockey jersey elements, they kept it simple, and they went with white at home. Those three factors combine to make this year's Heritage Classic game the best-dressed NHL game on the calendar by a large margin, and I suspect that the popularity of these jerseys among the fans mean we're probably looking at the new alternate uniform for the Jets in the coming years.

Well done, Winnipeg Jets. You're doing hockey right.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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