Monday, 17 December 2018

How Hockey Should Look

If you missed the game on Sportsnet tonight and weren't in Pittsburgh to see it live, the Penguins and Ducks flipped the script where the Penguins wore white at home while the Ducks wore their alternate throwback jerseys. In seeing the white jerseys at home, it made me yearn for the good ol' days when NHL teams wore white at home and colours on the road. I don't know what it is, but white at home is just the right look when it comes to hockey. If good guys wear white in cartoons and in westerns, I'll take more white at home in the future.

Look, I understand the merchandising aspect of the NHL's switch to colours at home. Yes, they can push twice as many jerseys if fans in the stands and on TV see them since the vast majority of NHL alternate uniforms are coloured. However, with the emergence of the NHL on TV both regionally and nationally in the US and Canada, this aspect no longer can really be claimed as the primary reason for wearing coloured uniforms at home. Fans can watch nearly every game from the comfort of their own couch so they'd see every uniform their favourite team wears.

While the NHL likely won't be changing their policy on uniforms due to one blogger's wishes, I would like to see them adopt a similar feature to what the AHL does but with a twist. The AHL, midway through the season, mandates that the teams switch from wearing colours to white or vice versa. Whatever the case, the NHL could take a page out of the AHL's book, but make it geared towards the playoffs.

Instead of switching midway, switch from colours at home to white at home after the NHL All-Star break. This would give the NHL teams nearly two-thirds of the season to wear their coloured and alternate jerseys at home to help promote sales while the last third of the season would be about wearing white in the playoffs while at home.

Some will say, "Teebz, you just want to see the Jets wearing white during the Whiteout," and I wouldn't disagree. However, the Whiteout is a beast unto itself. Case in point? Calgary's Sea of Red started when the Flames still wore white at home, and it hasn't affected how Calgarians embrace their playoff tradition. If everything holds true, the Sea of Red would be able to continue without interruption this season regardless of whether the Flames wear red, white, or fuchsia.

Since every team breaks for All-Star Weekend, this wouldn't be some overnight switch for which half the travelling teams wouldn't have time to prepare. It's a simple swap, and teams who still want to a heritage night or whatever late in season could arrange that with the league and their opponents for a specific date.

Some have joked that white jerseys should be worn at home as God intended, but I believe that some other force would be responsible for this change. Maybe some guy named Bettman. Maybe it's the collective group of NHL owners. Either way, seeing the Penguins in white at home against the Ducks was a sight that I've long coveted.

I just need to see it more often.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Stephen L said...

How about we get rid of whites and go color-on-color? Carolina's recent western trip shows it could work.

Teebz said...

I like where you're going with this, Stephen, but there are too many "similar" teams now for that to work. Toronto and Tampa Bay would be a tough game for the players, and we also need to remember that colour-blind people may struggle with two teams that look similar. ;)