Friday, 22 June 2018

Take Warning?

I know new Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has said that he's willing to do things differently, but there was a distinct similarity at tonight's NHL Draft Party in Raleigh. While the Hurricanes got their guy in Russian-born Andrei Svechnikov with the second-overall pick, there was other significant news happening in Raleigh at said party where the new Hurricanes alternate jersey was being unveiled. If you thought that the Hurricanes drafting a Russian in the first-round of the draft felt off - they haven't done that since 2001 when they selected Igor Knyazev 15th-overall - their newest wardrobe addition comes directly from 2008.

Now you might be asking, "How does 2008 relate to this?" Let me take you back to this article I wrote on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. I start it off by writing,
Carolina was the first team to introduce the new alternate jerseys today, and I was anticipating good things from the Hurricanes. They basically kept the same design that they previously had before Reebok came in and messed around with the designs, and I commended them for that. However, today's unveiling leaves me disappointed. A lot. To say the least.
First team to introduce the new alternates? Check.
Basically kept the same design that they previous had? Check.
Today's unveiling leaving me disappointed? Check.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will go on record right now and admit that I absolutely abhor black alternate jerseys. Alternate jerseys should be fun in using a secondary colour that doesn't get highlighted in a team's colour scheme very often. Further to this, there is enough history in the Hurricanes franchise that it has options for what it could select as a fun alternative to their regular duds. Hartford Whalers colours? Maybe bring back the uniform work by Pat Verbeek, but swap the green for the red and plop the Hurricanes logo on the front? I'm just spitballing here, but there has to be something better than...

As I wrote ten years ago, "I understand that black might be a "cool" colour to choose for alternate designs, and I realize it's part of their colour scheme, black jerseys have already been done. And done. And done. And done again." But since we're faced with another black iteration of the Hurricanes, I'll break this one down here as well.

First, they finally got the flag right. The two square flags are an actual hurricane warning as opposed to the single square flag they used on their old black alternates. It might have taken the team a decade to correct it, but progress is progress. Credit where credit is due on this one.

Can we stop with the ghosting? If you can't see it, it doesn't exist on jerseys. Ghosting the storm flags inside the collar and the primary Hurricanes logo and the North Carolina state flag on the shoulders is idiotic if you have to be right next to the player to see it. These are literally subtractions by addition when it comes to black jerseys. Here's a quick tip: little pops of colour against a black background make those pops of colour stand out to the human eye. Maybe incorporate this idea into your future designs?

The charcoal gray on the shoulders is an interesting touch considering it's not one of the Hurricanes' colours nor does it really fit into the design here. Why change just that part of the jersey to an off-colour black and then not use it anywhere else on the uniform? I'm baffled by this decision. It literally feels like this was just colour-for-colour's-sake despite "storm gray" barely being off the black colour spectrum. Again, subtraction by addition.

They got new gloves! Is this a feature? Why point that out? The gloves should match the uniform, no? Yay for supplying your team with gloves that match the new uniforms, Mr. Dundon!

The new wordmark is probably amazing, but it's unseen in the promotional image above so why point it out in big, bold lettering? I'm not sure who is doing these release graphics for the team, but this one is really stretching for why I should like this new alternate uniform. In any case, the wordmark, seen in an entirely separate photo, is alright, and I kind of like the little hurricane warning flags built into the lettering. Sometimes, the details matter. This is one of those times, so kudos to whoever came up with this idea!

Are there no number or letter fonts being used on the promotional photo? That answer is no, so we'll refer to another image. Luckily, the Hurricanes are going to use the same font as they do on their regular home and road sets, and that's a good thing. It's clean, it's crisp, and - ohmagawd! - the colours pop against the black! I'm not sure who mentioned that before, but we'll just leave that alone for now. In any case, the fonts still work well on this uniform.

You may not know this, but Adidas, who are now making all the NHL jerseys, did a little thing at the World Cup of Hockey with some teams called "heathering". In the textile world, heathering is the process in which yarns of mixed colors are interwoven to produce flecks of an alternate color within the base colour. It should be noted that heather yarn is more expensive than regular fabrics, so you're $300 USD price tag for these jerseys are now justified, right? Back to the point, the Hurricanes are now featuring heathered red striping on the arms and hems that "is evident when viewed up close". I'm so happy that hockey is a sport where we, the fans, get to spend so much time up close to the players that we can appreciate these tiny nuances that literally make no difference on TV.

Look, I said it eight years ago when they rolled out the storm alternate jerseys, and I'm saying it here again today: "[t]he logo is good, but the all-black look ranks low for me." Sorry, Carolina. I own a red jersey, and it's vastly superior to anything black you've rolled out ten years ago or today. It might be time for a new direction. Tom Dundon spoke it, but I have yet to see Carolina move in any new direction.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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