The first official acknowledgment of the long-rumored Reverse Retro sweaters coming to the NHL arrived yesterday. Today, we got our first actual photos, specifically for the Pacific Division teams.
It all started Tuesday when Adidas released a teaser video that confirmed the base colors and apparently the year from which each retro design takes its influence. There was a promise that the new jerseys are “coming soon” and I’ve learned that the full reveal of all 31 will come next Monday, Nov. 16.
This is a huge deal. In almost 14 years writing this blog, I’ve never seen a year where we’ve gotten new sweater designs from every team all at once. This has to be a massive lift by Adidas and an incredible amount of coordination across the NHL.
With all that in mind, I enlisted a couple of talented concept artists who have contributed to Icethetics over the years to help illustrate some predictions for you. The team is Avi Stein handling Eastern Conference teams, Orion Taylor covering the Western Conference, and myself playing traffic cop. The three of us have had ongoing conversations about what to expect and that’s what you’ll see illustrated below.
The teaser photos we got today highlight some details of each Reverse Retro jersey in the Pacific Division. So we’ll start there, first with a look at the teasers, then our predictions of the new jersey and the old one on which it’s based.
Here’s a look at the Ducks’ teaser photos.
The year in the collar is 1995 and the Duck on the shoulders is quite Mighty. In the latter half of the 1995-96 season, the Mighty Ducks debuted a third jersey that was as unique as it was short-lived. And it looks like they’re bringing it back with the jade and white reversed.
It’s even got that barely legible name bar font. The anticipation level is high with this one for me. Here’s a look at the original jersey alongside Orion Taylor’s illustration of our prediction.
I never thought we’d see Wild Wing bursting through the ice on an NHL sweater again. I am so over-the-top excited about this one, I can barely contain myself. The original was the first jersey I ever bought with my own money as a kid. I still have it to this day. I can’t promise I won’t buy the new version as well.
Now a few notes about our prediction. Based on the teaser images, we’re expecting a straight swap of jade and white for this one. We even went so far as to swap the color of Wild Wing’s jersey from white to jade.
From the moment we saw the first teaser on Tuesday, we knew the Coyotes had something special up their sleeves with all that purple and orange. Then we got the teaser photos this morning.
This may end up being one of the wildest jerseys of the bunch. In 1998, the Coyotes launched their first alternate sweater, which was green and featured a nighttime desert scene. The shoulder featured an orange desert lizard known as a Gila monster.
Now what if we swap the green with purple from that expansive Phoenix color palette? That’s the prediction from our group, as illustrated by Orion Taylor below.
You can’t deny that’s a nice looking sweater—especially since it’s the first purple one we’ve seen outside of southern California.
So how did we come to this prediction? The lizard was only ever used on that original third jersey and we can see the purple plain as day in the teaser photos. Changing any of the colors in the desert scene didn’t make a whole lot of sense so it was an easy call from there.
The teaser photos for Calgary show us a black jersey with a white Flaming C on the shoulders and 1998 in the collar.
What happened in 1998? The Flames introduced their first-ever alternate jersey featuring a new and very ’90s logo on the chest—a fire-breathing horse common known as Blasty.
This one’s an oddity because it’s a bit tough to tell where the “reverse” part comes in for this Reverse Retro. That jersey was black and so was this one. The one difference we can see right now is the Flaming C on the shoulder was red back then and white in the teaser.
But if you just swapped all the red for white, the striping elements would be primarily white and numbers red—but the video teaser shows red stripes and white numbers. So here’s our prediction as drawn by Orion Taylor.
It’s basically a straight-up Adizero adaptation of that original jersey. It’s hard to say what else it could be. But that’s all right by me. This was a great design and even saw time as the team’s primary road sweater for a few years starting in 2000. It would be nice to see it return.
The Battle of Alberta will be black and white as the Oilers’ teaser photos demonstrate.
This one we saw coming a million miles away. When I first reported the Reverse Retros in the JerseyWatch earlier this year, the Oilers were one of my examples—and it was pretty much this, though I missed some of the minor details. The color has white piping and they seem to be going with royal blue over navy.
While the year in the collar may be 1979, we’re reading it as a reference to Edmonton’s final year of the WHA as opposed to their first in the NHL—the main difference being the color treatment of the crest. Here’s our rendering by Orion Taylor.
Will the Oilers go with that version or something with better contrast? I don’t know, but I think it would be a lot of fun to see this come back for a game or two.
On the other hand, if we get a straight reversal of the white jersey—orange for blue—the crest could look something like what you see in the lower right corner.
Of course there’s always the possibility they don’t mess with a classic. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Los Angeles Kings
This one is a bit of a stunner. The Kings seems to be merging eras from their history in a way you’d previously been most likely to see on our Concepts Showcase—not real life!
The collar tells us the year is 1989 but the 1988-89 season was the Kings’ first in black and silver, coinciding with the arrival of Wayne Gretzky. So rather than going with a silver or grey jersey, it looks like they’ve ratcheted up the color saturation and created a crossover between two eras.
If we take the black jersey from 1989 and change the black to purple, the white to yellow, and the silver to a “vintage white,” I think we might just have it. Here’s our prediction, as illustrated by Orion Taylor.
We opted for a primarily yellow crest to keep it looking bright, but if it’s a straight color swap as I just described, I could see them using that vintage white instead with some yellow trim. Only time will tell for certain.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are one of several teams going back to 1998 for their Reverse Retro jersey.
This is a special one. Take a closer look at the top and lower left images above. There’s none of that perforated fabric we see on the shoulders of literally every other Adizero jersey. Because of the unique design of the alternate jersey on which this one is based, it looks like the Adidas design team had to step outside their box a bit.
We can also see the Sharks employing their original shade of teal—a little brighter and bluer than what they wear today. We can also see it’s our first grey jersey since the Kings’ 50th anniversary design. Here’s the prediction as rendered by Orion Taylor.
We see it as a three-way color trade. Teal to grey. Grey to black. Black to teal. The numbers tripped us up a bit, but the white over black with teal trim stands out better, so that just makes sense. We’re also leaving the original Sharks logo intact, particularly since we’ve already seen it on the team’s 30th anniversary jersey patch.
The Canucks are little intriguing! Their collar tells us they’re borrowing a jersey from 2001, but we know that as their navy, maroon and silver era. This clearly isn’t that.
What was so special about 2001? The Canucks added a third jersey with a giant gradient—something graphic designers tend to frown upon these days. It was navy blue at the top and maroon at the bottom. From the teaser photos, we can clearly see their existing blue and green palette—with blue on top.
So wherever there’s maroon, we’re inserting green. Wherever there’s silver, we have white. One thing that’s tough to tell from these detail shots is whether Vancouver is using their navy blue or royal blue—both feature in their current color scheme. We opted for royal blue in our prediction. Take a look.
One detail I really like in Orion Taylor’s rendering is the green outline on the Canucks’ primary logo. Think they’d really do it? I hope so.
Vegas Golden Knights
Finally, we end not with a bang but with a bit of a whimper. Don’t get me wrong, the Golden Knights’ sweater looks great and has a cool story, but there’s been nothing left to the imagination as far as the design goes following the recent leaks by Sin Bin Vegas.
The teaser photos released today simple served to confirm the leaks. To see the Golden Knights in red will be strange, but it’s Las Vegas so why not?
The obvious question is this: If the Golden Knights only joined the NHL in 2017, how can they possibly have a retro jersey from 1995? That’s where they got creative, borrowing from their city’s first professional hockey team—the Las Vegas Thunder.
Here’s a look at our prediction—even though it isn’t much of a prediction anymore—alongside the images of the leaked Fanatics replica jersey.
I’m not well-versed on Thunder uniform history. I know the team was founded in 1993 and and used this V-shaped striping pattern from Day 1. So why the collar is pointing to 1995, I don’t yet understand. We’ll probably get back stories for all of these on reveal day next Monday.
More to come
That covers today’s sneak peek at the upcoming Reverse Retro jerseys. Given that we’re four days away from launch and there are four divisions in the NHL, I’m anticipating new teaser photos once a day through the weekend. So keep checking back for those as well as our predictions as illustrated by Orion Taylor and Avi Stein. These guys are doing great work!
For now, jump into the comments and feel free to share your thoughts and predictions.