Saturday, 18 May 2013

Love This Tradition

The Mastercard Memorial Cup started yesterday, and there's always something to look forward to when the three best teams in Canadian Major Junior Hockey gather in a host city for the championship. The host team always plays on the opening night of the tournament to ensure that they kick off things right - hopefully with a win - for the hometown fans, but there's always a second reason I look forward to this game: the Memorial Cup jersey worn by the host team.

We've seen this in past years as Kitchener, Rimouski, Brandon, Mississauga, and Shawinigan have all participated in the past five years. It's fantastic tradition of having the host team honor a local detachment of the Canadian Armed Forces with a jersey commemorating their contributions in World War I. The best part? "Proceeds from the auction will go towards the Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund. Poppy funds are spent to support veterans and their families, buy hospital equipment, support cadet groups, and provide student bursaries. The MasterCard Memorial Cup Theme Jersey Program was created in 2008 and have cumulatively generated over $100,000 for the fund."

Saskatoon took to the ice on Friday against the OHL Champions in the London Knights in these Mastercard Memorial Cup jerseys.
In a quick glance, they don't seem all that fantastic and could be easily mistaken for an everyday Saskatoon Blades uniform. But upon closer inspection, there are a number of uniform additions to make this uniform an excellent addition to the Mastercard Memorial Cup jersey set.

Let's start with the logo. The outer circle honors the three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army. The stylized maple leaf worn inside the circular logo isn't any maple leaf worn on a military vehicle that I can find, but it's a very appealing design nonetheless. The poppy is worn over the heart for all Memorial Cup teams, and is one of he best championship series patches in any sport.

On the right arm, you can see the Memorial Cup 13 patch on the shoulder. I do have a slight problem as there really needs to be an apostrophe on "13" because this actually the 95th Memorial Cup tournament. the "'13" would indicate the year rather than leaving some question as to what it meant. The addition of the word "loyalty" above the sleeve number is a nice touch.

On the left side, the Saskatoon Blades logo is worn on the shoulder, and the word "courage" sits above the sleeve number. Courage and loyalty are excellent traits to highlight on these uniforms as all heroes, including those men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, possess these traits.

The backs of the jerseys did contain the names and numbers of the players in the game, and they look quite like the Blades' normal uniform fonts. Nothing out of the ordinary here as they are easily read on the white background of the uniform.

Overall, the good guys took to the ice in white as all home teams should. The Blades wore these uniforms proudly, playing a spirited game before finally falling to the London Knights by a 3-2 score. The uniforms look great on television, although the chest logo was a little hard to identify when the players were in full flight. But anytime the cameras isolated a Blades player, the uniform looked fantastic, and the Blades should be commended on designing an excellent uniform in the mold of the previous participants in this program.

What say you, readers: pass or fail with these Memorial Cup uniforms?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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