What a fun rollout this has been!
The NHL and Adidas are building up to the reveal of their new Reverse Retro jersey collection with daily teaser photos. Over the past two days we’ve been treated to the Pacific and Metropolitan Divisions. Today we got the Central Division.
Along to help me out with this major moment in hockey sweater history are two talented concept artists who have contributed to Icethetics over the years. Together we’ve made some predictions and they’re here to illustrate them for us. The designers are Avi Stein handling Eastern Conference teams and Orion Taylor covering the Western Conference.
The three of us have had ongoing conversations about what to expect and that’s what you’ll see illustrated below alongside the official teasers.
Some Original Six teams have almost religiously avoided changing their uniforms over their many decades in existence. That hasn’t always been the case for the Blackhawks.
With a lot to choose from, the Hawks are going with 1940 as their retro year. But predicting this one isn’t as easy as it seems. We went back and forth a bit today because of a few details seen in the teasers.
Our friend Andrew Greenstein of NHLUniforms.com lists two sweaters for Chicago in 1940-41—the white one being new that season. The jersey design geek in all of us wants to see the black one. And teasers show us this jersey is black. End of story, right?
Well, it it supposed to be a Reverse Retro, right? In fairness, we’ve seen teasers from the Rangers and Flames that don’t seem to show any color reversals. But still, we are predicting a reverse version of the white 1940 jersey. We can’t imagine a giant number on the front of a hockey sweater these days, so we debated between a retro roundel and the modern Blackhawks logo on the chest. In the end, we compromised.
Here’s our prediction as illustrated by Orion Taylor.
We are still holding out hope that we’re wrong and that the black 1940 sweater will be resurrected with all of its many stripes. Or at least maybe the crest will be one of those old roundel logos the Blackhawks employed back then.
Either way, we shall see in just two days.
This one is going to knock your socks off.
As the Avalanche embark on their 25th anniversary season, they’re going to follow the Hurricanes in honoring their franchise’s history in a different city. If 1979 in the collar wasn’t enough evidence of that, check out the familiar fleur-de-lis along the hem line.
I should point out the Avs didn’t release that particular photo initially. We noticed it on the Instagram account of NHL on NBC Sports and of course it blew up from there. It looks like the team may have wanted to keep that little detail under wraps until unveiling day, but the NBC Sports social media crew didn’t get the memo. Eventually the Avalanche did post it with a bit of a wink.
Here’s our prediction, as created by Orion Taylor.
This Quebec Nordiques jersey with Colorado Avalanche colors is like something you’d see on the Concepts Showcase. I’m sure I’ve posted something just like this at some point over the years. So it’s particularly cool to see some of these Reverse Retros come to life in the real world.
The one thing I’m not 100% certain about is the Avs logo on the shoulder. If the Canes don’t have to put their branding on a Whalers sweater, why should Colorado? But different teams make difference decisions, so we’ll see.
NOTE: After seeing a photo posted later in the day by ESPN’s John Buccigross, we updated our rendering to include the fleur-de-lis on the shoulders.
By the way, the ’90s kid in me is hoping for a Nordiques-Whalers match-up, but given that both jerseys are using a light color base, it’s probably a long shot.
The Stars aren’t giving much away in their teasers.
Just about everything we can see in these photos is white—the collar, the shoulders, and even the jersey itself. The one detail we did get to help us with our prediction is that Texas-shaped shoulder patch using the team’s modern color palette. We also know the retro year is 1999, when the Stars won their first Stanley Cup.
Here’s a look at the rendering of our prediction by Orion Taylor.
The Stars won their championship while wearing their All-Star-style green jerseys. The following season, 1999-2000, they added a white version and those became their primary uniforms. We think we’re getting something along those lines—though I am curious to see how Adidas pulls it off. It doesn’t seem like the most Adizero-friendly design.
We also think they’re going with their original crest wrapped in their current colors—the green gets brighter and the gold goes silver. We did talk about the possibility of the silver text of the logo in black, but I think the Stars’ shade of silver will contrast enough against the white jersey.
I almost typed North Stars in that header. You can see why.
If 1978 wasn’t enough of a clue for a team that was founded in 2000, then the colors in these photos should do the trick.
Those stripes are undeniably the property of the Minnesota North Stars. This is a tricky one because North Stars history technically belongs to Dallas, where the team moved in 1993. But if Winnipeg can use jerseys that belonged to a Jets team that moved to Phoenix in 1996, then I say more power to the Wild.
Plus, I’ve read the angry tweets from Connecticut residents who don’t like seeing their Whalers jerseys in North Carolina. I’m sure if I could read French, I’d be seeing similar complaints about a Nordiques jersey being worn in Denver, too. But it is what it is. And it’s happening.
As far as predictions go, we’re torn. The jersey itself is easy but the crest is an open question. Will they wear a North Stars logo given that it’s part of the history of one of their divisional rivals? Or will they recolor a logo from their current identity? Here’s what Orion Taylor drew up for us.
We opted for the secondary “M” logo as you can see. It has the most in common with the original “N” the North Stars wore. In hedging our bets, we also threw in a recolored version of the Wild’s primary logo as a secondary option. But in my opinion, it’s a total toss-up. I’m not sure where they’ll land.
Let’s bite into Nashville next!
Right off the bat, there are some confusing elements to this jersey. The collar reads 1998, the year the Predators arrived in the NHL. But the shoulder features the saber-toothed tiger skull fossil—a patch that didn’t come along until 2001-02 with the infamous mustard-colored third jersey. And this particular coloring of the patch wasn’t used until 2007-08.
Still, we feel fairly confident predicting the rest of the jersey will be a reverse of the inaugural design. Here’s the rendering from Orion Taylor.
We went with the current version of the primary logo, rather than the original, because of what’s visible in the teaser photos. It’s tough to tell for sure, but it doesn’t look like the one with silver, steel blue and orange in it.
As for the rest of the design, it appears to be a straight yellow for blue swap of the original sweater.
St. Louis Blues
We got a bit of a preview of this last season when the Blues wore their 1995 throwback jersey.
The year and the shoulder patch are all in line. And the throwback from last season makes this prediction one of the easiest we’ve done so far.
It’s still weird to think of the Blues in a red uniform, but I think it might be time to make peace with it.
To be honest, it’s not a bad look. The colors work well together, even with red as the base.
For the third time in four years, the new Jets look to the old Jets for a jersey idea.
One difference this time is the new Jets are looking to the NHL version of the old Jets. The previous throwback jerseys we got came from Winnipeg’s time in the WHA.
The Jets also seem to be applying their own current colors to the retro sweater. We can clearly see Aviator blue outlining the sleeve numbers. That was never part of the original Jets color scheme.
Nor was dark grey, which is the base color of the jersey. The teaser video from Tuesday told us that and you can just see a sliver of it in the photo of the collar. But it appears the sleeves will be navy blue with white trim. Here’s our prediction as illustrated by Orion Taylor.
We are predicting the old Jets logo with new Jets colors—just like what seems to be happening in Dallas. Our recoloring of the crest is a bit up in the air. In one of the teaser photos, we think we can see a white circle with the Aviator blue outline. So we’re basing it on that.
For the rest of the jersey, we’re swapping blue for grey, red for white, and white for navy blue. There could be some surprises here, but we’ll find out soon enough.
One more to come...
We now have one division left—the Atlantic, home of half the Original Six teams and the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Once again, the full jersey reveals will come on Monday. In the mean time, what do you think of the previews as well as our predictions?