Saturday, 15 October 2011

Additional Accoutrements

If you don't recognize the young lady to the left, that's ok. She's not usually dressed like she is in that photo. That was sent to me by the company that is promoting CBC's Battle of the Blades, but you're probably aware that I'm not covering any of that TV show. Just because the show features hockey players doesn't mean that it has anything to do with hockey, right? Anyway, I will say that Canadian hockey star Tessa Bonhomme, the young lady in the photo, is very beautiful and looks absolutely stunning in her chosen outfit for this week's competition. The skates, however, throw me for a loop simply because I'm used to seeing her in hockey skates and Canadian colours. Much like Bonhomme's changes to her normal outfit on the ice, HBIC has some additional looks at NHL teams who have instituted some changes on specific days early on in this season. On with the accoutrements!

October 8, 2011 was a big day in Denver, Colorado as it seems everybody, their dogs, and their businesses honoured former Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg on the day where Colorado officially retired his number. Forsberg helped the Colorado Avalanche become a powerhouse after the Nordiques dealt Eric Lindros to the Flyers for Forsberg and about half the Flyers' roster, and he really came into his own in the early-2000s when he captured the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player in 2003.

We'll start with the long walk that Forsberg made across the ice. Notice the ads on the boards? That's right: every single space has a "21" on it. As nice as it is to honour one of the men that brought glory to your franchise, putting his number on the boards with the rest of the ads doesn't seem like a very prestigious thing to do.

The players, however, all wore his #21 on their uniforms during the ceremony, showing that while Forsberg may be retired, he's still part of the Avalanche family. I've always thought it was a classy move by organizations to honour the men who helped make the franchise what is in this manner. Out on the ice, the Avalanche then wore the huge "21" patch in honour of Peter Forsberg on his special night. The patch looks a little big, but Forsberg stood tall as a member of the Avalanche.

It is nice to see the NHL teams of the players lost in the Lokomotiv tragedy honouring their fallen bretheren. The Anaheim Ducks have been wearing a little "24" on their right shoulders in honour of former teammate Ruslan Salei. Salei spent nine seasons with the Ducks after being selected ninth overall by the Mighty Ducks in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He also suited up with the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and the Detroit Red Wings before joining Lokomotiv this past off-season. Classy move by the Ducks on this one.

Two teams that joined forces in helping to raise money for the families of the lost Lokomotiv players were the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Wives and girlfriends of Penguins players sold remembrance bracelets before and during Thursday’s game to benefit the Lokomotiv families. The Capitals' wives and girlfriends sold the same bracelets at their home opener on October 8. To show their support, the players wore Lokomotiv patches on their jerseys during their October 13 game, and all game-worn and game-issued jerseys are being auctioned off on the NHL site.

"We compete against each other hard on the ice, but off the ice we all are part of one big hockey family," Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said. "Many of our players had friends on the Lokomotiv team. All of us in hockey were touched by this tragic loss. We just thought this game was a unique opportunity for our two teams to work together to raise money for the children and families of the players, coaches and staff who lost their lives."

The Penguins and Capitals had stickers applied to their helmets as well, creating a nice symmetry with the Hockey Fights Cancer sticker on the backs of their helmets. While I'm certainly not downplaying the magnitude of the Lokomotiv tragedy, do these two teams really need a sticker on their helmets if they are already wearing a patch?

So there are a few more notable additions to jerseys in case you planning on adding some flair to your new jersey. I doubt the Lokomotiv memorial patches will be available commercially unless you can dig someone up who is getting them made for themselves, but the Forsberg retirement one should be available at some point in the future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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