Friday, 16 August 2019

The Golden Bison

It's a big year in the city of Buffalo for its NHL team. As you can see to the left, it is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Buffalo Sabres, and, like any major birthday or anniversary, it seems the Sabres are prepared to throw a big party to commemorate their founding. There are announcements to come, including one further down on this article, but the Sabres are celebrating their birthday as if they were teenagers by going out and getting new clothes! Buffalo will have an alternate jersey this season that they'll wear to celebrate this historic season, and while it's not red-black-and-silver, it does introduce a new colour into the colour scheme for at least one season before they'll change the jerseys again next season. Like that foreshadowing? Let's check out what they did.

The new jersey, pictured to the right, has a significant amount of gold where it appears they normally would use yellow. The stripes on both the sleeves and hems are gold with a navy blue stripe for contrast, and the font used is navy blue surrounded by gold. Clearly, the logo has swapped out all the white and yellow in exchange for gold in those spots. Needless to say, the Sabres are celebrating their golden anniversary with a lot of gold on their alternate jerseys. I don't mind the use of the gold colour on the sleeves, hem, and outline for the name and number, but I do believe that changing the logo for any reason should never happen. The Sabres logo is already one of the best in hockey, if not all of sports, but this is a one-season jersey. I suppose I can live with it for a year.

The rest of the uniform feels like it will be pretty standard with the navy blue pants for contract between the white jersey and white socks. I'm assuming the socks will have the similar five-stripe pattern that the sleeves and hem do, so that uniformity across the entire uniform should look pretty good. However, as you can see, the Sabres will go with white gloves for the first time in their history with navy blue accents and the manufacturer's mark in gold. White gloves have been seen on other teams, most recently on the Vegas Golden Knights, so they may be the new trend in the NHL for teams to use just like lace-up collars and sublimation were once popular. I would have preferred a navy glove, but I can work with the white gloves. They fit the uniform as it stands.

The Sabres are using the hashtag #Sabres50 on some of their marketing. When written in capital letters, it shows up as #SABRES50" which, when glanced at quickly, sounds like a variation of an espresso shot that one may add to coffee. While this is a minor quibble, it could be an interesting marketing twist if the Sabres decide to offer a "Sabresso" shot to coffees served at KeyBank Center. If they do this, I'm claiming the idea. My demand? One nickel from every coffee sold with Sabresso in it. Wait, would that make those Buffalo nickels? I could be rich!

The dates where the Sabres will wear their 50th anniversary jerseys has already be set. Mark your calendars if you're heading to the game or watching on TV because here are those dates:

October 5 vs. New Jersey Devils
November 2 vs. New York Islanders
November 29 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
December 2 vs. New Jersey Devils
December 12 vs. Nashville Predators
December 27 vs. Boston Bruins
January 30 vs. Montreal Canadiens
February 6 vs. Detroit Red Wings
February 13 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
March 5 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
March 21 vs. Chicago Blackhawks
March 22 vs. New York Rangers
April 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers

If you're keeping track at home, there's only two Western Conference teams in those 13 dates, the Devils appear twice, all Original Six teams appear, and they face divisional rivals four times in those jerseys. It's an interesting selection of teams, but those are your dates to see them play at home in white. Perhaps the hockey gods will smile upon the Sabres for opting to wear white at home.

Overall, I can live with these uniforms for one season. My only major complaint is the changing if the colours in the logo because I think commemorating a franchise's founding by altering the logo is a minor-league move, but at least they didn't put a Roman numeral or a "50" into the logo. I like the white jerseys, the striping works, and these will be worn at home, so the good outweighs the bad on this uniform.

And as promised off the top, the Sabres even hinted at their uniforms for next year as they enter the next fifty years of their franchise's history. On their webpage, they wrote, "The Golden Season also holds significance in that the Sabres will be wearing their current navy uniforms for the final time. Beginning in 2020-21, the team will return to royal blue as its primary color." In other words, the colours of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Pat Lafontaine, and Alexander Mogilny will return! How great is that?

Enjoy your birthday, Buffalo Sabres. Make it a memorable one!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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