Sunday, 11 January 2015

Retirement Rebranding?

I needed to post this as I was watching the Ducks-Jets game tonight following the incredible Teemu Selanne retirement ceremony. I have to say there were some classy moments in that ceremony: Teemu's family being there, an empty seat for the late, long-time player agent Don Baizley, and vast outpouring of support for Teemu from both Ducks fans and Jets fans who were in attendance. Teemu will always be loved in Winnipeg for what he did here, but there's no question that Anaheim loves the Finnish Flash as much as Winnipeg does.

However, a strange occurrence happened during the warm-ups. The players from the Jets wore vintage Winnipeg Jets jerseys from the Selanne era while the Ducks wore all the different jerseys that Teemu wore as a Duck. Everything looked fantastic until I noticed the little detail above on the jerseys that I circled in red.

See it? That's the CCM logo, not the Reebok wordmark that normally adorn the uniforms on the neckline. What gives? Where's Reebok in this celebration? Why aren't they providing the on-ice uniforms for these two teams in honouring Teemu Selanne?

Having done a little digging, I know that Reebok was the official on-ice supplier for teams in terms of uniforms and equipment. They had purchased CCM, Jofa, and Koho back in 2004 to accomplish this feat, and have since spun those lines into the CCM brand. Further to this, there have been reports since 2004 about Reebok consolidating all the lines into one brand. These rumours seem to pop up weekly, so no one really treats them with any validity.

However, with Bauer hockey - who owns top spot in the equipment market share - having bought uniform manufacturer Inaria International for $7 million in 2012, could Reebok be signaling an exit strategy out of the less-than-lucrative hockey market? Don't forget that Reebok lost the NFL jersey contract to Nike, so perhaps they are divesting some less-than-profitable pieces? Bauer appears to be gearing up for a run at those pro hockey jersey contracts, so maybe Reebok is eying an exit with little fanfare.

One thought was that Reebok might have been playing up the fact that most of Selanne's early jerseys were CCM-branded, and they were going for authenticity. The only problem? The CCM logo that we see on the back of the uniforms above is the 2007-and-later CCM logo, meaning the Winnipeg Jets shouldn't have been wearing that style of CCM logo whatsoever. Scratch the true-to-all-the-details idea because of that.

There's another thought that perhaps they used replica jerseys during the warm-up, making the jerseys less expensive to produce. The problem is that Reebok has been producing replica jerseys - Quebec, Hartford, and the Minnesota North Stars - for a while. CCM used to be used on all replica jerseys, but Reebok has taken over that aspect of the market with their own brand. Therefore, we can cross that idea off the table too.

As it stands right now, I have no answer for why Reebok branded the throwback jerseys with CCM for all of the on-ice warm-up jerseys last night. Even the practice and fashion jerseys are branded by Reebok, so I can't come up with a reason that holds water on why everyone wore CCM in the warm-ups. If anyone has any insight into this mystery, I'm all ears on the theory.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

Reebok is converting all its hockey equipment (and jerseys I guess) to the CCM brand.

It seems to be doing it slowly however. The Reebok Ribcor stick is now the CCM Ribcor stick for the consumer. Some pros still have Reebok branded versions because of marketing agreements or simply old stock of their custom models.

Also a few NHL players have Reebok helmets and gloves now branded with the CCM logo. (Probably pants as well but that would be harder to discern.)

Reebok is to be repositioned as a fitness brand and will leave the hockey market to CCM. Might be a chance to revive the Jofa brand. They already revived the Koho brand with goalie gear.

Teebz said...

I had heard that, but to do it mid-season seems ludicrous. Why not just make the change at the end of the season?

Personally, this makes the jerseys look unauthentic due to the fact that they haven't announced a full change to the on-ice product yet.

Anonymous said...

it was for authenticity purposes only. the jerseys were not "replicas" they were made in canada pro weight/ triple stiched tackle twill jerseys. the jerseys were modern era reproductions and there were other mistakes on the jerseys, not just the CCM on the neckline.