Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Making My Head Explode

Sometimes, all I can do is laugh when teams introduce new uniforms. If you're not aware, the AHL's San Jose Barracuda are making all sorts of changes for next season as they prepare to start their eighth season in San Jose. The former Kentucky Thoroughblades and Cleveland Barons franchise has undergone a number of changes as they relocated and renamed, but this summer might be the busiest in the AHL's Sharks' short time in the Bay Area. Not only will the Sharks open the season in the brand-new Tech CU Arena, but they're going to have a closet full of new clothes to play in as well!

There was nothing flashy about the Barracuda's three jerseys they wore this past season. The white and teal jerseys were swapped midseason as the AHL does to help maximize jersey sales, and both are entirely acceptable, if not a wee bit minimalistic, as standard home and road jerseys. I do think they need a patch of colour like a hemline stripe that mimics the sleeve stripe, but any team can work with these. Add in the orange alternate - a colour hardly ever used in hockey and one that San Jose should be embracing wholeheartedly - and this uniform set works nicely for the AHL San Jose team. Perhaps they even deserve some credit for not following their NHL affiliate's lead in introducing a black alternate which, for many years, has been the easy path for the Sharks to take. I didn't like it in 2011. I don't like it now.

With the news that AHL San Jose was revamping their entire look, the first thing you expect to see are new primary jerseys because that's what the team will wear most often. Instead, the Sharks released this craziness on April 28.
What... what the hell is this? Is this a joke? Am I being pranked?

According to reports, the AHL Sharks had plans to unveil the monstrosity above as one of their two new primary jerseys for next season, but thought better and instead made it their "Blackout Series" jersey. That might be the only positive that came out with this unveiling because this jersey combines all sorts of bad in a one convenient location.

What, exactly, would be wrong with wearing any of these uniforms to the left as an alternate jersey? While it might be a stretch to wear a San Francisco Spiders jersey, the Spiders did play in the Cow Palace in San Jose for a short period of time. Beyond that, wearing a throwback to the Thoroughblades or the Barons eras allows the past to connect with the future in the AHL. Wearing the Kansas City Blades jersey ties into the 1990s and the IHL days as much as the Spiders do. Everyone who is a hockey fan loves a good heritage jersey for their team, so why not wear one of these? Heck, even the orange alternate from this past season makes more sense than the crap shown above.

Let's break down this black alternate that uses a ridiculous nickname on the front. We'll start with the lack of a logo, also known as the franchise's brand, where the Barracuda could have gone in a number of different routes. They could have used their standard alternate logo on the front. They could have simply used the angry barracuda. But they decided on a stupid nickname that evokes memories of the "Canes", "Sens", "Bolts", and "Caps". Those are not your team names, and they should not be worn on a professional hockey jersey as the primary mark. Ever. In any fashion. I cannot stress how much I hate this concept, meaning you know where "Cuda" sits.

Combine that dislike with my eternal hatred for black jerseys when teams trademark all sorts of pantone colours in their colour scheme, and this jersey does nothing but irk me something fierce. Unless this jerseys is only worn a handful of times maximum for these ridiculous "Blackout Series" of games, the "Cuda" shouldn't have started this new era with something this disappointing. If we're looking from positives, it can only go up from here. Way up.

The San Jose Barracuda have a shiny new rink, they'll eventually have new uniforms they can wear at that rink and on the road, and they have the branded garbage bag they'll wear for the "Blackout Series". It seems like one of these things doesn't really fit on that list of things to look forward to if you're a San Jose Barracuda fan.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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