Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Has Adidas Just Given Up?

As we all know by now, there will be a special outdoor game played in Ottawa this winter between the hometown Senators and the NHL's most storied franchise in the Montreal Canadiens. The image to the left are the jerseys that Adidas and the NHL have signed off on for that game, and I'm not certain that this deal with Adidas is working for the NHL's aesthetics. If there was a minimalist series of jerseys, I can see the NHL being happy with what was introduced today, but whatever Adidas is selling to the NHL should be stopped cold turkey because these Adidas jerseys don't look like hockey jerseys.

On December 16, these two teams will play outdoors at Lansdowne Park as part of the league's 100th anniversary celebration. According to the NHL's statement, "[t]he color silver was used uniquely in the design as a symbolic accent, drawing a direct connection to the NHL's Centennial Celebration narrative" as well as an homage to the Stanley Cup. The silver stripe on the arms of the jerseys features the years that the teams won the Stanley Cup. It's also a nice tie to the Ottawa Silver Sevens, but that fact seems to have fallen by the wayside in the NHL's shameless self-promotion. Thankfully, the Senators made that connection, so at least they honour their heritage.
Honestly, can one really call it a feature if it's invisible to the cameras who will broadcast the game? It's such an insignificant feature that it seems superfluous at best. These jerseys aren't going to sell by the millions, so let's start cutting back on the rather needless additions to jerseys, shall we? To make this even gaudier, the Canadiens jersey has the "right sleeve showcasing the triumphant seasons that fell between 1916 and 1960, and the left sleeve highlighting the conquests from 1965 to 1993." Ugh.

If that feature isn't vapid enough, the design of the jersey "features performance poly fabric and a new lightweight crest and numbering system that make the jersey 19% lighter." Does Adidas know that this game is being played outdoors in December in Canada? Lighter means less warmth, and the average temperature in Ottawa for December 16 ranges between -4°C and -8°C. The high one year ago in Ottawa on December 16 was -11°C on a day where it started out at -26°C at 6am with a -31°C windchill. In other words, the players may want to dress with another warmer, thicker layer than what Adidas is providing.

With the pock marks across the shoulders, the lack of a hem stripe on the Ottawa jerseys, the lighter fabric, crest and numbers, and these ridiculous features that matter to no one, Adidas is really doing a number on hockey. What I would give for the old CCM jerseys right now. Instead, the 100th anniversary of the league will go down as one of the worst looking outdoor games in the league's history.

For traditionalists like me, maybe it's time that Adidas starts giving a damn about this sport.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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