After the pandemic wiped out plans for the NHL’s marquee regular season events, the league announced a full slate for the 2021-22 season on Monday. We didn’t get any of the final logo designs, though, just a handful of placeholder wordmarks.
2022 NHL Winter Classic
The fun starts when the calendar switches to 2022 on New Year’s Day with the Winter Classic. The Minnesota Wild will host the St. Louis Blues at Target Field, home of the MLB’s Minnesota Twins. This event was previously planned for 2021.
Interestingly, the placeholder logo seen in this announcement is different from the one released on Jan. 1, 2020 when the event was originally set forth. The new design introduces yet another iteration of the “Winter” script, which has been the central element in every Winter Classic logo since the event debuted in 2008.
The details of the new design make me think it’s more than a placeholder. This may be the actual wordmark for the 2022 Winter Classic logo. I’m not sure yet when we’ll get a look at the full branding package, but stay tuned.
Another item of note is the lack of a sponsor. Bridgestone has been a naming sponsor since 2010 and was on the 2021 placeholder logo. But not this 2022 one. Meanwhile, the rest of the announced events have their traditional sponsors attached, including Honda, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Tim Hortons.
As far as jerseys, I don’t have a lot of details on what Minnesota plans to wear, but look for something in dark green or red. The Blues are likely to wear a “vintage white” version of their previous Winter Classic sweater, which now serves as their third jersey.
2022 NHL All-Star Weekend
Next on the schedule is the NHL All-Star Weekend, taking place in Las Vegas for the first time. The league has not yet announced a specific date for the event, simply saying it will take place during the “traditional midway point of the NHL regular season.”
The league is still working out the details of the 2021-22 schedule, which may start a couple weeks later than usual as the world aims to get back to normal in the aftermath of the pandemic. The All-Stars normally gather the last week of January, so this time around it may be the first or second week of February.
The placeholder wordmark the NHL released yesterday is as basic as it gets, using Vegas Golden Knights colors and the league’s generic typography. Look for something much different and more exciting when the final design is completed and released.
South Florida had previously been named host of the 2021 All-Star Weekend. No word yet on when the Panthers will get another opportunity to host.
2022 NHL Stadium Series
The next Stadium Series game will take place on Feb. 26, 2022 in Tennessee. The Nashville Predators will host the Tampa Bay Lightning (making their first outdoor appearance) at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
Like the All-Star graphic, this placeholder mark features the host team’s colors with generic NHL typography. So don’t read too much into that design yet.
The previous Stadium Series was set to take place at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to be hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes. No opponent was ever announced, but I had heard from a couple of sources that the Penguins would’ve been it.
Following yesterday’s announcements, the Hurricanes released a statement promising fans a rescheduled Stadium Series game, likely in 2023.
2022 NHL Heritage Classic
Then in March, the NHL plans to stage its next edition of the Heritage Classic. The timing is right. The league has had an outdoor game in Canada every three years since reviving it in 2011. The last one was in 2019.
But that’s is literally all we know at this point. The league did not announce a host location, specific date, or the teams taking part.
While the placeholder graphic is red, I wouldn’t read much into it. Every Heritage Classic logo has had a red or maroon base regardless of where the game was played or which teams took part.
Speaking of the past, I wonder if we can try to guess who will play in it based on who’s played before.
Since the event launched in 2003, Montreal (2003, 2011), Edmonton (2003, 2016), Calgary (2011, 2019), and Winnipeg (2016, 2019) have all played in it twice. Vancouver and Ottawa played once in 2014. And believe it or not, Toronto has never been included. In fairness, Toronto has played in the Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and Centennial Classic—which no other Canadian team can claim.
So if you take out all the teams that have played twice and judge from the three left which are the most exciting to watch, I’d have to say the Canucks and Maple Leafs would be the most likely opponents. And since it’s already been held in Vancouver, it might make sense to see this one somewhere in Ontario.
That’s my theory, what about yours?