Monday, 17 August 2009

The New Look

Today was the big day for Team Canada's hockey teams when it came to uniform aesthetics. Of course, you are all aware of the battle that Hockey Canada and the IOC had regarding the previous Canadian jerseys due to Hockey Canada's logo being on the front. That, according to Olympic rules, is forbidden. Hockey Canada was forced to redesign their hockey jerseys or choose to not participate. Being that the 2010 Olympic Games are being held in Vancouver in hockey-mad Canada, the latter was not an option. Hockey Canada headed to the drawing board five times before settling on this new design.

First, a little history on how this jersey came to be. According to the Hockey Canada website,

Nike, in collaboration with Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow, designed a jersey that tells an intricate story by incorporating imagery from across our country. This unique design features many aspects of Canada’s rich history through icons and cultural symbols. The dominant imagery depicted inside the Maple Leaf crest includes smaller Maple Leafs representing the gold medal count for our men’s, women’s and sledge teams, the thunderbird and eagle, two powerful First Nations symbols supporting and protecting the central Maple Leaf – and of course the heralded hockey player and stick.

The graphic design of the jersey has Salish symbols and patterns that represent all First Nations across Canada. The graphic design celebrates First Nations artwork and also incorporates Canadian icons: the Maple Leaf, fleur-de-lis, hockey player, moose and beaver.
Without getting too political, this is the first Hockey Canada-endorsed jersey to feature First Nations' representation, and that speaks volumes in terms of the rich history that the First Nations people have in Canada. To display that artistry and imagery on the world's biggest sports stage is a step forward, and will hopefully be reflected in other ventures in future years. The inclusion of First Nations imagery in the Canadian logo makes me, as a Canadian, proud. For Canadian First Nations hockey players such as Jordin Tootoo, Wacey Rabbit, Carey Price, and Jonathan Cheechoo, I'm sure their level of pride is second-to-none right now. Huge thumbs-up from this writer for this aspect.

Ok, on to the fashions. Honestly, the jerseys aren't any different than before. Same stripes, same shoulder yokes, same thing, right? Even the rear font for names and numbers is identical to the previous version.

Where the jerseys are different are the logos displayed on the jersey itself. First, the chest logo has that intricate First Nations art incorporated into it. I'll let Miss Sparrow explain the imagery.
  • "The eagle is significant to all people: First Nations, non-First Nations. The eagle is an amazing spirit that represents not only freedom, but the strength to sore as high as you can go."
  • The thunderbird is "responsible for the weather. In our myths he brings the thunder and the lightning."
  • Inside the Maple Leaf image in the middle of the logo are "smaller Maple Leafs representing the gold medal count for our men’s, women’s and sledge teams".
  • Other imagery to bring the country together through this logo include the fleur-de-lis, moose, salmon, whales, beavers - cultural icons from across the Great White North.
This might be the most complete logo I've seen in any sport in any event. Miss Sparrow's traditional Musqueam art forms represent all the corners of this great land, and she brings it all together in a very symbolic way. HBIC cannot state how much I am behind this logo. If one has to find a drawback - and believe me, this is a stretch - it's that the artistry really can only be seen when one focuses on the jersey. It will be interesting to see how they look on standard TV, but high-definition television should show off the new logo nicely.

The other logo you might notice is the Vancouver Olympic Games logo on the left sleeve. That one will be standard for all hockey jerseys at the 2010 Olympic Games, I'm told.

Overall, pretty decent jerseys. There was some serious anticipation when Hockey Canada announced that it had to change their logo since the Hockey Canada logo is highly recognizable. However, I'd say they came out of this ordeal pretty clean, and the results are encouraging. Not to beat a dead horse here, but that aboriginal artwork is a phenomenal touch on this jersey. It pleases me to say this after seeing the abominations that Reebok rolled out in the NHL, but Nike got it right for this design, and a credit to them for working with both Hockey Canada and Debra Sparrow in creating this fantastic jersey.

As for the Team USA jerseys? Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

No, it appears that the mainstream media was more interesting in Patrick Kane's apology for something he did than they were in bringing to light the new duds that will be worn by the American hockey teams. You know, they were digging at a kid who, according to one writer, "brought an immediate torrent of abuse in the blogosphere" because he did something stupid. And today, the media was all over his apology for his actions. Those same actions that "the blogosphere" condemned him for.

You know, I'm not one to rain on anyone's parade, but perhaps it is time for the mainstream media to take a long gaze into the mirror with which they see the rest of the world. I'm not saying that what the media did was wrong as they are paid to pursue a story, but it was entirely what we, as bloggers, wanted to see - Patrick Kane apologized for his actions, and USA Hockey shut down any further questions regarding the incident. Why? Because the media in attendance would have flogged the kid with questions until the cows came home. And USA Hockey simply doesn't want the circus. But remember, kids: it's the blogosphere who are to blame for this, not the mainstream media. Patrick Kane apologized for doing something stupid - a volunteered admission of stupidity, no less - and Dowbiggin thinks we're to blame. How many bloggers were at that press conference today asking Patrick Kane to elaborate on the details of his apology?

Yeah, that's right: NONE. Stick that in your pipe, along with your pompous attitude towards bloggers, and smoke it, Bruce Dowbiggin. Your industry just pulled the old double-standard, not that you'd recognize it. You can condemn us all you like, but his apology is an admission of guilt. If he wasn't sorry for his actions in the events, he wouldn't be apologizing. So shut up.

And next time, maybe get some pictures of the new USA uniforms. Or, in layman's terms, do your damned job!

And on a final note, something awesome to end this on as my rant has me slightly off-kilter. The "third strong goalie", who writes the Third String Goalie blog, profiles the story behind the New York Islanders' Fisherman jersey while showing off the Ziggy Palffy jersey in his collection. As you know, I'm all about the Islanders' Fisherman jerseys because of their overall awesomeness, so I had to link it up. Commit to the Fisherman! Great article, Jeff! Mike Milbury is stunned by your work!

Just before I let you go, check out Hockey Canada's website where they've devoted an entire area to their new threads!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Have you noticed that there is a white stripe on the neck of the red jerseys on the ones available for sale, and several media images, and on the day of the "unveiling" it was missing. Any thoughts?