Saturday, 23 November 2019

Just Stop

With the resurgence in 1990s-era jerseys in the NHL over the last few weeks, we need to address the elephant in the room that is some of the 1990s-era jerseys that were hated. The Islanders' Fisherman jersey, the Wild Wing jersey, and the Burger King jersey were all ripped on hard by hockey fans, and that's completely within their rights to express those opinions and not spend their hard-earned dollars on that merchandise. However, after seeing the leaks of the new Stadium Series jerseys for both the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche, you cannot like these jerseys if you hated on the other "innovative" jerseys.

Honestly, you totally can like one and not the other, but it seems like it may be a tad hypocritical. Of course, that's just my opinion and you're welcome to disagree with me since I have defended the Fisherman design since its inception, but I found the Wild Wing jersey and the Burger King jersey to be just way too "minor league" when it comes to jerseys worn by NHL players. And to be honest, this year's Stadium Series jerseys are on the same side as those two jerseys.

The Avalanche will wear the uniforms to the left if several sites are to be believed. It seems these "Call of the Mountains" jerseys incorporate all the key parts of the Avalanche's brand - proper colours and the capital "A" logo built into a mountain - but there's a significant problem with the design in that I can't stop seeing a mountain teetering atop another mountain in the middle of the jersey. Yes, I know it's the capital-A as per the Avs' logo, but I just can't un-see the mountain atop a mountain. A couple of people I've spoken with have made an Eye of Providence reference, but whatever the case may be with this logo this jersey design just feels all sorts of wrong.

And then there are the Los Angeles Kings who simply feel like they were worried about taking an incomplete on this assignment, and decided to throw together something that would get them any sort of grade. As a few of us may know from school, these grades received were usually lousy due to the rush job and lack of effort, so it should be no surprise that the Kings are receiving a terrible grade from me for their lousy job with their design as well. What does the angled white portion signify? If that's supposed to be a mountain or snow, is the "LA" racing uphill on snow? Where is the Kings' logo in all this? And why aren't there more design elements anywhere on this jersey? If one was looking for a grade of "F" on a jersey, this one gets it due to the fact that it feels incomplete, very minor-league in its design, and seems to have zero thought-process involved in the design.

A co-worker of mine named Andy - yes, he's getting some credit here - made a great observation about both jerseys. He asked, "Is this the first outdoor game where both teams are required to look like beer cans?"

I'm not here to peddle conspiracy theories, but I found that comment interesting as the game is being played in Colorado Springs, Colorado while being sponsored by Coors Light which is brewed at the the Colorado-based Coors Brewing Company. We know beer companies have played a large part in hockey's history, so could what Andy said actually be true in that these jerseys took on a bit of a Coors-esque look in their designs? I'm not one to believe that as I try to downplay conspiracy theories, but that was quite the leap that Andy took after seeing the leaked designs for the first time.

Whatever the case may be, here's where I draw the line. Yes, it's the same line in the sand I've drawn before, but let's draw it once more as the NHL's tide of money seemingly keeps wiping out the line as it washes ashore. STOP WITH THE OUTDOOR GAMES! The NHL has gimmicked this idea to death, but keeps going back for more because of the money they bring in. It has to stop at some point because it's no longer special. It's just another game on the schedule for the players that features a whole new set of risks and safety hazards when it comes to ice conditions. Frankly, I don't care about the Winter Classic any longer because it's not a "classic" in any way any longer with multiple outdoor games per season, the match-ups in most of these games are awful, and the venues still haven't improved the viewer aspect for the people who pay to go to the games.

It's time for these games to end. The jersey designs alone are horrendous, but the fact that less and less people seem to care about the mystique of playing outdoors makes them unspecial at this point. And if it doesn't matter to the majority of fans, perhaps it's time for the NHL to move on to another gimmick because all of these games feel like a forced adventure.

Just stop, NHL. It got old fast.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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