Saturday, 7 November 2009

You're Wearing That: Last of 2009

It has been a while since I had enough material for another "You're Wearing That" article, but it's time we review some of the questionable uniform choices made by hockey teams across the planet. For all the good uniforms out there, it just takes one bad egg to remind us why some promotions and uniform designs go too far. See that segue? That's right: I tied the picture and the article together. Maybe my writing skills will be featured in a "How Not To Write" article one day. That would be interesting. But let's take a look at some of the funny, scary, and downright embarrassing uniforms from the world of hockey once more. Some of these will be new, while others are from our Seven Days of Scary. All of them deserve a look, and maybe a second look.

The AHL's San Antonio Rampage held a promotional night last season on April 4 honouring Boy Scouts of America. I'm all for professional hockey teams helping out various causes and charities as it really shows that they are part of the community. However, when you want to honour someone, you probably want to have that cause highlighted more than a couple of words on the edge of the logo. As I stated before, these look like beer league versions of Quebec Nordiques jerseys. Why can't they get a jersey that looks like a boy scout's uniform?

I've made mention of this before, but the trend of the Blackhawks wearing their socks wrong is really starting to bother me this season. The stripes are supposed to be slightly below the knee, not around the ankle. For a professional team, the Blackhawks sure look bush league with their mismatched socks.

The ECHL's Bakersfield Condors will make a number of appearances on this list today, but their "Hockey-thon" jerseys from last season are fairly decent. Sure, there are a number of ribbons all over the jerseys, but the cause they support and the awareness they raise are evident. While I'm not convinced pink jerseys should fly n professional hockey, these jerseys get a thumbs-up from me as they go to support great causes.

Bakersfield decided to get in on Halloween and a memorial tribute in one swoop this season when they hosted their "King of Pop" night. The tribute was held on October 30, and the uniforms they sported that night were tributes to Michael Jackson. To top it all off, the players wore one white glove on one hand, and their normal black glove on the other - a direct tribute to Michael Jackson's sequined hand. I'll give Bakersfield a pass for this promotion because they did it tastefully, but I'm not sure that honouring people who have passed on with a promotional jersey is a move that should be duplicated.

Last season, Bakersfield played a Country Music night last season, and wore these jerseys for the occasion. I wasn't aware at the time because I simply have no appreciation for country music, but the "Bakersfield Sound" movement in country music originated in Bakersfield, California around the 1950s where the music is extremely popular. Musicians such as Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam had fairly successful careers using this sound, and Bakersfield honoured last season with a promotional night.

The ECHL's Alaska Aces spent Halloween this season in some fairly traditional Halloween costumes. Spiders, spider webs, and some orange-and-black font make for a solid Halloween jersey. The names and numbers are very legible on this jersey as well, so this one gets a pass. Not too busy, but enough detail to be completely obvious as to the promotion.

The ECHL's Wheeling Nailers went purple last season for their Relay For Life promotional jerseys. Honestly, this jersey doesn't bother me in terms of the amount of purple they are wearing. The Nailers auctioned off the jerseys after their game, and raised a considerable amount of money for cancer research. That is exactly why these types of jerseys are important for minor-pro teams: they provide a memorable souvenir for a fan while helping to raise money for other people who are battling diseases.

The ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers - a team that always appears on these lists - honoured the men and women of the US Military on October 23 and 24 with a special camouflage jersey. The one pictured is Keith Primeau's jersey. Primeau is the special assistant to the General Manager in Las Vegas, and it is currently up for auction if you're interested in owning something rather unique. The jerseys looked good in the games that the Wranglers played, and any tribute that goes out to the bravest men and women on the planet gets a thumbs-up from me.

In sticking with the southwest corner of North America, the Anaheim Ducks also honoured the men and women of the US Military by donning camouflage jerseys during the warm-up of their recent NHL games. Parros is intimidating enough with that mustache, but the camouflage jerseys are a great way to honour the men and women of the Armed Forces.

The New York Islanders, having played horrifyingly scary hockey for the last few seasons, decided to put that idea into action by wearing Halloween-themed practice jerseys for the October observance. There have been other warm-up jerseys worn in the past by NHL teams that have included observances, and it's nice to see the Islanders helping out. All the jerseys, including Tavares' practice jersey, went up for auction, and the Islanders raised a pile of cash for the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation, a non-profit children's charity that works to improve children's lives in the areas of education, youth hockey development, and health. Well done, Isles!

I also want to point out that Zdeno Chara is the largest Fisherman I've ever seen. The 6'9" behemoth on defence never got the opportunity to develop into his massive frame on Long Island, but he looks pretty good in that Fisherman Islanders jersey. Then again, I'm a little biased.

ECH Munich of the German Elite League went all out for Oktoberfest. Beer and hockey go together, but lederhosen? What's even more scary is that the bench of players looks more like a scene from Broken Lizard's Beerfest on ice. Jemand bringt mir ein bayerisches Bier!

From the German Elite League, we jump to the Serie-A Italian League where Associazione Sportiva Asiago Hockey is certainly making hockey look interesting. Especially if you're an advertiser. How many advertisements can be crammed on to one jersey? With as bad as the yellow jersey is, the red jersey only does more to highlight the white advertisements. I barely even noticed the player's name on the back. There's corporate support for your team, and then there's overkill. I'm pretty sure you know what category these jerseys fall under. The only saving grace for Asiago's hockey team is that every single team in the Serie-A Italian League is covered in advertisements. An example? Here's Matt Kelly of the Red Orange Val Pusteria Wolves wearing 14 different advertisements on the front of jersey and helmet alone! Maybe it's not a "saving grace" after all.

When you think of Canada, what comes to mind first? This? Maybe this? A combination of the two? In all seriousness, most people think of hockey when they hear the word "Canada" mentioned. However, I think Hockey Canada's idea of "honouring" the Saskatchewan prairies with a green alternate jersey for the 2010 World Junior Championships is way off-base. Personally, the rest of the country hates the Saskatchewan Roughriders, so this effort doesn't win Hockey Canada any points. I wasn't fond of the black Canadian jersey, but I certainly hate it less than a green Canadian jersey.

The OHL's Kingston Frontenacs honoured the men and women of the Canadian Military with a jersey tribute, but not just any tribute. Kingston's own Don Cherry, a major supporter of the Canadian and US troops of Armed Forces, routinely honours the fallen men and women with tributes on Coach's Corner, and often speaks directly to them on his segment regarding their unwavering courage. Because of this, he was the guest of honour during the military tribute, and the Frontenacs wore jerseys that resembled Grapes' famous suits. This was a great way to honour one great man who supports the troops every time they are called upon, and the very men and women that are sent to faraway lands to keep the peace.

This next piece isn't a focused on the jersey, but rather the player inside the jersey. The WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings have a young lad playing for them this season by the name of Wheaton King. You read that correctly: Wheaton King is a Wheat King. The 17 year-old Brandon native is a forward for the WHL club this season, and has recorded one goal thus far in nine games. The name coincidence is pretty cool in my books. It would be like a player named Sylvio Vertips playing for the WHL's Everett Silvertips. Ok, that was a much lamer example, but congrats to Mr. King on making the Wheat Kings this season!

You wanna know something else that has begun to bother me? Virtual ads on the glass while the play is going on. It completely distracts viewers away from the play by being obtrusive. And I get that the point of an advertisement is to draw viewers in, but not while the play is happening. It bothers me greatly that the advertisement is more important than the play that is happening on the ice.

That's all for this Saturday, kids. I have a hockey game to play tonight, so I need to start preparing for that. Don't forget about the Pepsi Cheer Contest going on right now! You have a chance to win some non-green Canadian hockey jerseys and other great prizes from Pepsi!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Sage Confucius said...

I'd pay real money for one of those Oktoberfest jerseys Munich wore. Those are awesome!

jeffB said...

There's a fine line between creativity and drawing attention to your team and it's sponsors or charitable cause, and taking away the players dignity by making them perform in public in some of these ridiculous jerseys.

Unknown said...

There's a certain charm to those advertisement plastered european league jerseys. I remember even as a kid being drawn in by them because they were so foreign looking to me. I imagine the fact that the advertisements are for companies I've never heard of helps me appreciate their look a little more. I'm sure a Walmart, Pepsi, Macdonalds, et al covered jersey wouldn't quite do it for me. But I've actually considered purchasing one of those european monstrosities in the past. You'd definitely stand out at the men's league game.

Teebz said...

Sage - as a novelty, yes. As a pro team, no. LOL

Jeff - I get the monetary support, but I agree: far too many ads.

Blake - one, maybe two, advertisements are ok for a men's league game, but 14 for a pro game? 14 for any team is outrageous.