This afternoon the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning revealed the jerseys they’ll sport when they meet for the 2022 NHL Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium in Tennessee on Feb. 26, 2022.
Let’s begin in Nashville since they’re hosting. The highly popular marketing nickname Smashville makes its first appearance on a Predators jersey as the team goes back to a navy base color.
There are some fascinating design choices, including a variable font treatment for the crest wordmark as well as the numbers on the back. It employs a typeface called Knockout, which has numerous weights and styles.
If you look closely, you’ll notice some letters and numbers are wider than others throughout the design. It gives the jersey an edgy, off-kilter look that will likely not go over well with more conservative fans. But for those who enjoy seeing experimentation in one-off designs, it’ll be a breath of fresh air.
Centered within the large Smashville wordmark on the chest is a recoloring of the guitar pick secondary logo.
To be honest with you, I absolutely love all the weirdness of this jersey. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen on NHL ice before. It genuinely takes me back to the mid-1990s and how I felt about the NHL’s original third jersey program. In complete awe.
Now. Would I want to see this jersey as Nashville’s primary look? Not a chance. But for a game or two, how cool. It’s original and true to the Predators brand.
The Preds’ opponent also released their jersey and it’s just as inventive. Behold the Lightning’s Stadium Series jersey.
This will be Tampa Bay’s first-ever outdoor appearance and they’re bringing a bold look, for sure. As a Lightning fan, I’ve never really loved the “Bolts” third jerseys—and if you watched my interview with franchise founder Phil Esposito, you know he has an even stronger opinion about them.
That being said, I’m always looking to see how teams are moving their identity forward with these kinds of jerseys. And the Lightning are trying something new here. The custom type design makes the word feel like it’s a bolt of lightning itself. It has a sense of movement. Things the previous designs never achieved.
I still don’t love the wordmarks—on either Stadium Series jersey, really—but what’s nice about them is how they incorporate team symbolism. We’re not just looking at boring block letters. And that’s enough for me to get behind them.
There’s also a super-sized version of the primary logo on the Lightning’s pants.
None of the images I’ve seen so far show the Predators’ pants, nor the socks for either uniform. Nashville will have navy blue gloves and presumably a helmet to match, leaving a white helmet for Tampa Bay. Hopefully we’ll see more soon, but we may have to wait until game day in February.
By the way, I almost forgot to mention the shoulder patch on the Lightning jersey, which is the first three-color treatment of this secondary logo.
Which brings me to the color palette. I know a lot of people think the Lightning missed the mark by not bringing black and blue back together. But I’m still holding out hope that can happen in the primary uniforms. But as far as originality goes, I’ve never seen them do the blue-silver-white look before. And it really works.
For me, anyway.
I’m curious what everyone else thinks of these Stadium Series uniforms. Do you like seeing the NHL shake things up for special events now and then? Or would you rather they didn’t?