This morning the Minnesota Wild revealed their uniform for the 2022 NHL Winter Classic, taking place Jan. 1 at Target Field. It’s inspired by some the region’s earliest hockey teams and leans heavily into the organization’s “State of Hockey” branding.
The jersey marks a departure from typical Winter Classic jersey styling. It’s not uncommon to see a “fauxback” look like this—meaning the aesthetic is meant to evoke a throwback design without referencing any single past jersey specifically. We saw this type of thing in Nashville and Dallas in 2020.
What is unusual is that there’s no specific reference to the current team—the Wild—or any of its past or present logos. Wild branding is inferred only by the color scheme. Everything else is an invention specifically for this uniform. And because of that, it plays more as a generic Minnesota hockey sweater than a Wild-specific design.
Which is probably the point.
If we take a closer look at the crest, we see MPLS. (an abbreviation for Minneapolis) and ST. PAUL encircling the state of Minnesota and bound by a pair of stars representing the Twin Cities. These elements are all set in felt cutouts, with the “MN” rendered in chain stitching. And that’s just the start of the retro aesthetic.
According to the team’s press release:
Elements from famed Minneapolis and St. Paul hockey squads were combined into one uniform. The base jersey design unites the St. Paul Saints look from the 1930s with the traditional Minnesota Wild color palette. The lettering, numbers, and other design elements on the jersey all come from those early hockey clubs that helped make Minnesota the ‘State of Hockey.’
If you’re curious about the Saints sweater, take a look.
Kind of a dead ringer, no?
The gloves and pants employ a canvas-like color to represent early leather hockey gear.
And the “State of Hockey” makes another appearance via a small patch on the breezers.
Adding to the look are brown elbow patches which “represent long hours of wear and tear on beloved hockey gear,” according to the release.
My favorite touch is the small captain patch that appears on the front of Jared Spurgeon’s sweater.
And last but not least, we got our first peek at the logo for the 2022 Winter Classic in the form of a patch on the right shoulder of the sweater.
We’re still awaiting a clean version of the logo, but the patch tells us this will be the first one to truly focus on the pond hockey aspect of the game. The Winter Classic, of course, was founded on the idea of pre-arena hockey played outside on a rink made by nature.
The Wild will host the St. Louis Blues for the big game on New Year’s Day. No word yet on when the Blues intend to announce their Winter Classic jersey. However I’m told to expect a reverse version of their previous outdoor sweater—the one they currently use as a third jersey. The base will be a vintage white or wheat type color like we see in the striping and collar of the Minnesota design.
And that’s that. I’ll leave you now with a full look at the uniform (minus the helmet), courtesy of the Wild.