A couple of people have asked me if I expect any new sweaters to be unveiled tonight at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. Unfortunately, I’ll be on an airplane tonight while the draft is underway, so I won’t get to follow along live—and I’ll probably have a bunch of Twitter alerts waiting for me when I land!
That said, I did want to talk a little bit about what you might look for tonight. It’s based mostly on NHL JerseyWatch 2019, so if you haven’t read that yet, it’s a good place to start. On the other hand, if you can’t be bothered to click away, I’ll cover everything you need to know right here.
Last week, I would’ve said the Canucks were a definite yes to unveil something tonight, but since they’ve already unveiled everything for 2019-20, we’ll have to check out some other teams.
The Sabres are a good possibility. The team has said their 50th anniversary celebrations would begin with the draft, so maybe that rumored third jersey will be on display tonight. They’ve also launched a new look on their website and social media channels, featuring the navy blue and metallic gold palette expected for the new third jersey. It’s also been rumored the new sweater will be primarily white—which aligns with the wallpaper graphics the team tweeted yesterday.
Buffalo picks 7th so keep an eye on them.
Elsewhere, the Blackhawks have updated home and road jerseys on the way for 2019-20. I don’t anticipate anything more than an update to the collar—as seen in the inset image at left.
I don’t know for sure that we’ll see it tonight, but it would make sense. Chicago picks third overall tonight barring any trades, so we should get our answer pretty early on in the proceedings.
The Hurricanes have a new road jersey in the pipeline but I’m not sure we’ll see that tonight. Carolina picks at 28 so we could have a considerable wait ahead of us.
The Ducks, Bruins, Oilers, Panthers, Predators, and Golden Knights all have third jerseys in the works according to the Adidas catalog sent to retailers. However, I haven’t heard anything that leads me to believe any of them are planning to launch those tonight. But the list is here so we’ll keep an eye on all of these teams.
Speaking of thirds, the Rangers, Red Wings, and Wild were also listed in that Adidas catalog. But I’ve since heard through various sources that, for one reason or another, these teams may have put alternate uniforms on the back burner for 2019-20. (Sorry to break the bad news.)
Last thing, of course, are the outdoor games. Between the Heritage Classic, Winter Classic, and Stadium Series, six teams will have new one-off jerseys but we’re not likely to see any of those tonight. They typically come later on.
That’s all I’ve got for now but pay attention for any surprises!
Update · 11:00 PM
Well, that was genuinely surprising. For the first time since I can recall, not a single new sweater or logo debuted at the draft tonight. Not one. And there were some good candidates!
The Sabres, perhaps not wanting to step on the toes of their host, opted against showing off their own 50th anniversary jersey—or even a 50th patch. The Blackhawks, weirdly, handed out their existing jersey to a top-three pick who will undoubtedly be all over magazine covers throughout the summer. And literally no one else did anything of any branding consequence… whatsoever.
The Canucks did present their new home jersey to their first round pick, but it’s not like it was our first time seeing it. Though I will say it does look far better than the old design.
Anyway, I suppose this does leave us with more reveals coming throughout the summer. I, for one, always enjoy that. Keep an eye on the JerseyWatch!
There was no hype. No excruciating countdown. No advance notice at all.
The day after the 2018-19 season officially ended—with the St. Louis Blues miraculously hoisting their first-ever Stanley Cup—the Canucks wasted no time in getting fans prepped for 2019-20.
I kinda like that. Don’t make people wait. Just get right to it. Sure, it's taken me two days to get around to putting this story together, but I'm not complaining.
What makes this reveal interesting is that it's the first time we've ever seen an NHL club introduce four new sweaters for a single season. Though, I can see why some would argue there's not really anything "new" here at all. It’s all just a new spin on the past.
The Canucks are a team with a well-documented history of identity troubles. They've seemingly been through every color in the visible spectrum over the past five decades. And for better or worse, the team is embracing that to mark this major milestone.
Let's start with a closer look at the primary home and road uniforms. The underlying construction of these jerseys hasn't changed—same colors, same striping and patterns. It's only the adornments stitched on after the fact that are changing—the crest and shoulder patches.
The arched "VANCOUVER" has been removed from the chest and the orca has been enlarged. The old stick-in-rink logo, used since 2007, has been replaced with a newly updated version.
These revisions may seem minor, but they're a big step toward improving the overall aesthetic of the Canucks. That said, there's still more that needs to be done.
The most glaring issue is still the fact that the club's logo and uniform bear two completely separate color palettes. You won't find green in the primary mark. You won't find midnight blue or silver on the sweaters. And the logo's First Nations art style is in no way represented in the striping pattern of the sweater.
These are the two most important brand elements and they're completely at odds with each other. I'm just a little disappointed they didn't take the opportunity to fix all of it at once. But that's the idealist in me.
The pragmatist understands why this happened the way it did. It's a lot easier in the grander scheme of things to make small adjustments. The jersey hasn't actually changed in any way—which saves money on manufacturing—nor has the primary logo—which saves money on everything else.
This is all just about giving a new feel to the same elements. And to be honest, it all looks just fine together. Sometimes, a few steps in the right direction is all you can ask for at one time. Perfection is just something to keep striving for even if you can never attain it.
The Canucks were one of the only teams to wear the same third jersey throughout Reebok's tenure with the NHL. From 2008 (when thirds were reintroduced) to 2017 (when Adidas took the reins), the modernized stick-in-rink jersey was a fixture. Given its popularity, it only makes sense to bring it back in some fashion.
For 2019, we get a new underlying design, more closely based on the 1970 jersey that inspired it. In fact, the Canucks are calling it their "Heritage" jersey. In those early years, the blue logo was only worn on the white jersey while a white version was used on the blue sweater. But from 2008 to 2017, it was blue on blue. That gets rectified now.
This version also gets the thick green double-stripes from that inaugural jersey, but without the white accent line between them. I'm not sure why they ignored that. I'm a little worried about the lack of contrast between the green and blue on the ice. But that’s just being nit-picky.
The updated throwback logo is a gem! If you look closely, you'll notice that the angle of the stick has been altered and the green outline made thicker, both of which emphasize the "C" shape. Plus, the white-on-blue just stands out so much better.
Another interesting element of this sweater is the upgraded number system. It employs the same Agency-style font as the primaries, but there's now a perforated pattern in it that's meant to represent the West Coast rain. The sleeve number have also been widened to be easier to read.
There’s also a “hanger effect” treatment in the collar that reads, “We Are All Canucks”—a slogan used frequently by the organization. The only big drawback for me is the thick white collar. You’ve got green stripes all over the rest of the sweater but no green in the collar? Feels like a mismatch.
The last of the four new sweaters is the least surprising. The Canucks held a fan vote last summer to determine which throwback would see a few games during the 50th anniversary season. Overwhelmingly, the Black Skate design was chosen over the Flying V and Original Orca options.
If you subscribe to the theory that fans tend to prefer the look they grew up with, this makes sense. I would guess Vancouver's core fan base are in their 30s and 40s, meaning they came of age in the 1980s and '90s when this jersey was in use.
Most recently, the Black Skate made an appearance during the 2015-16 season for a Retro Night during the 20th anniversary of Rogers Arena. Before that, we hadn't seen it on the ice since 1997.
Vancouver Canucks 50th Anniversary logo suite
All four jerseys will be adorned with a special patch to mark the franchise's 50th anniversary. It's a blue "50" outlined in white and green—except on the throwback jersey, where it uses the retro colors.
According to the Canucks' website, "a complete jersey schedule" will be released after the NHL announces the 2019-20 regular season schedule. That should be here before the end of June. What we do know is that the blue Heritage jersey will be worn for 10 games while the Black Skate will see action in three.
And with that, I can't think of anything more to say about the Canucks or their new sweaters. So I'll leave it to you!
Purported leak of Vancouver Canucks 2019-20 home uniform
A couple of Reddit posts came and went on Tuesday afternoon that purportedly showed a leaked image of the new home uniform for the Vancouver Canucks. Both have since been deleted but relied on the same image, captured above.
The first poster shared the image while the second claimed to have confirmation of the image’s legitimacy. Below is a screen grab of the latter post before it was deleted.
Regarding the source of the image, neither post was clear, but it has crop marks that suggest it’s a proof from a large format printing company. If I had to guess, I’d say this design is on its way to being a banner, possibly to hang inside Rogers Arena alongside other player banners. It also means the Canucks are probably taking a hard look at the companies to which they outsource their printing needs. I can’t imagine they’re thrilled this is out there.
If you want my take on the veracity of this image, I’ll just say it lacks any of the telltale signs of image manipulation. But that being said, people get better at faking stuff all the time. My gut says it’s probably accurate, though we won’t know for sure until the Canucks say so. And they’re not saying anything just yet.
As to the content of the image, the first thing you notice is the shoulder patches. The Canucks have never used a white version of that secondary logo since the modern design was implemented in 2007. But the original Canucks stick-in-rink logo on which it’s based, was white on the blue jersey. And that particular throwback design was most recently worn by the Canucks as a third jersey during the 2006-07 season — right before Reebok took over the NHL.
Along with the shoulder patches, which are the same as the logo on the pants, the only other difference from the existing Canucks jersey seems to be the removal of the word “VANCOUVER” arced above the orca logo on the chest. That was rumored to be one of the changes for the new set. The collar and striping elements seem to be staying the same.
So when will the new design be made official? To my knowledge, the Canucks have not yet set an unveiling date — or even publicly said new primary sweaters are coming — but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see something next month at the draft, considering they are hosting.
The Buffalo Sabres have unveiled a pair of logos that will be used during the 2019-20 season to commemorate their 50th anniversary in the NHL. In this article, we’ll also take a closer look at the half-century celebration of their expansion cousins, the Vancouver Canucks.
Buffalo Sabres 50th anniversary logo / 2019-20
The new Sabres marks were released this morning. The primary version (left) features a shield design with crossed swords and a modernized version of the white leaping bison along with a gold “50” set in the same style as the team’s jersey numbers.
From the team’s official website:
Owners Terry and Kim Pegula tasked executive vice president of creative services Frank Cravotta and his design team to develop a logo and a patch for the occasion.
"We did a lot of research," Cravotta said. "Simplicity for Kim and Terry is key. You see some of these [logos other teams have created] that have very complex designs. They wanted it kind of stripped down, clean, and simple."
The new logo was first seen over the weekend when season ticket holders began receiving what appeared to be refrigerator magnets that featured the design. Immediate response on Twitter from fans was mostly mixed. Some fans continue to insist the Sabres resurrect the royal blue the team wore through its first 25 years.
However, I can understand why the team has consistently chosen not to do so. For one thing, navy blue provides better contrast against the gold secondary color. And for another, royal blue is the primary color of choice for both of New York’s other two teams, the Rangers and Islanders. This isn’t to say a throwback design wouldn’t make for a welcome third jersey. I’d love to see that. But let’s let that be that.
Another welcome design update would be a simplification of the primary logo. The silver outline that wraps itself around every element of the mark like an invasive vine has never been needed. And if ever there was an excuse to let it go, their 50th birthday seem as good as any.
To that end, take a close look at the other 50th logo the Sabres released today.
Buffalo Sabres 50th anniversary alternate logo / 2019-20
It’s a simplified design, probably well-suited to a jersey patch to be worn throughout the year. But that hasn’t been decided at this point, according to the Sabres’ website.
The placement of the patch on the jersey has yet to be determined. It may also appear as a decal on the players' helmets and Cravotta hopes that the team's goaltenders will take the look into consideration when they design their masks for the new year.
But really, the highlight for me is that primary logo simplified logo in the center. Is that a beauty or what? Compare the current mark with that one below.
I get why the silver piping was added in 2008. It brings a bit of glitz to an otherwise flat logo. But take a look around the graphic design landscape these days. Flat is in. Plus, it just looks cleaner with a timelessness that’s needed in sports design.
The other problem with the silver outline (which sits outside a navy blue outline) is that it makes the edges of the logo look a bit blurry, particularly at small sizes — which is likely why the design team went without it for its placement in the 50th logo in the first place.
While we’re making comparisons, let’s make another. If you’re going to clean up the Sabres mark, you might as well go all the way. If you polish up the lines of the bison, it does wonders. Seriously, look.
The design on the left is the existing bison which has basically been in use since the beginning in all its indistinct glory. You don’t need those amorphous blobs for the nose and ears. We get it. And the action lines are straight out of a bad comic book. Let’s drop what we don’t need and accentuate what we do.
On the right is a close-up of the version of the bison seen in the primary 50th anniversary logo — which actually made its debut as the shoulder patch on the Sabres’ 2018 Winter Classic jersey. My point being, the design work has already been done. Just needs to be implemented. Look at that red eye!
All right, I’ve now spent way too much time talking about the Sabres. I promised to include the Canucks.
Like the Sabres, the Vancouver Canucks are also turning 50 next year. But their logo is quite different. For one thing, it’s a single color. And it’s subtle. Plus, it’s been around for some time now. The team unveiled it earlier this year on Feb. 23.
Vancouver’s logo is somewhat similar to Buffalo’s in that it utilizes the team’s jersey numbers for the “50” but with a twist. The top half of the “5” has been redrawn in the shape of the hockey stick blade from the team’s secondary mark. The space between the numbers can be seen as the shaft. It’s a throwback to the club’s original 1970 logo but this particular design comes from the 2007 update.
Filling out the logo are the years 1970 and 2020 along with the Canucks’ primary logo centered in between. Everything just sort of floats there. None of the elements are tied together, which makes me wonder how it will work as a jersey patch — or if it even will.
The rather flat design takes on a third dimension in its video animation, which shows us that every color the club has ever used over the decades — and they’ve used pretty much all of them — is represented and stacked beneath. That adds a cool touch, though it’s only useful in video applications.
I’m curious to see how the marketing team implements it across other campaigns and platforms.
And there we are. One hundred years of hockey between these two clubs and not a single Stanley Cup championship between them. It’s a shame because both have come so close. I admit I was rooting for the Dallas Stars in 1999 but I can see why Brett Hull’s skate was a tough pill to swallow. And I moved to Seattle the year the Canucks last went to the finals in 2011. I was really pulling for them so it was heartbreaking to see them shut out in Game 7 at home.
Your turn. What do you think of each of these logos?
It’s the longest we’ve ever had to wait for an official third jersey unveiling in the NHL. Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally let their latest creation loose on the world with the introduction of their new all-black uniform. The team debuted the ensemble during warm-ups prior to their game against the St. Louis Blues.
Though fans we had to wait until until Feb. 7 to see the new sweater in an official capacity — almost two-thirds of the way into the 2018-19 season — the design did leak more than three months ago. That leak proved accurate tonight.
Most regular readers know I’m a lifelong Lightning fan. I’ve never made any effort to hide that fact. So I tend to have stronger feelings when it comes to Lightning jerseys than with others. This one is no exception. Since the leak in November, I’ve tried to steer clear of making any judgments until I saw the full kit.
Now that I’ve seen the whole thing in action, there’s a lot to like about it. For one thing, black should never have been removed from the Lightning’s primary color palette. It’s integral. It’s original. And it’s what we wore during that incredible Stanley Cup run in 2004. But it would’ve been nice to see black and blue together again instead of on separate uniforms. It’s sort of the same problem I had with the previous black third jersey in 2014. Though I prefer this one because I never liked the “BOLTS” crest much.
I’ll be honest, like a lot of people, I thought the leaked image made the jersey look a bit dull. Not a whole lot going on. Very monochrome. But that ignores the purpose, which was to create something bold on the ice — black from head to toe. The San Jose Sharks did something similar earlier this year with their black third jersey. But with the teal stripes and white numbers, it doesn’t quite have the same effect. The dark grey and silver tones mixed into the Lightning’s uniform give it a real moody feel.
In fact, the colors of this jersey (if you can call them that) are officially named Midnight Black, Storm Grey, and Flash Silver. (And yes, that would be the very same “Storm Grey” we saw on the Carolina Hurricanes’ black third jerseys in the fall.) The Lightning and Adidas definitely made an effort to keep the branding intact as they went down this road.
I have to say one thing I’ve never liked on NHL jerseys is a gradient. I still don’t. Vancouver did it with two third jerseys in their history. It’s a cheap look. But the reason I’m not as opposed to it on this Lightning jersey is because it’s not really a gradient. Yes, it’s sublimated, which is still a black mark in my book, but the unique dot pattern that’s visible up close is enough to make it feel a little higher end. I have yet to see this jersey in person, but the photos make it look pretty sharp.
I won’t go so far as to say I’m impressed with the overall presentation, but it’s not bad by any stretch. Certainly not as bad as Twitter might lead you to believe. But that’s another story. The lack of contrast does leave a little something to be desired. And not to harp on it, but it wouldn’t hurt to use black and blue in equal measure on the same jersey one of these days.
I get the sense this is one of those jerseys that will grow on me more in time. And even if I’m wrong, it’s still exactly what a third jersey should be — unique and experimental. Would I like it as the primary home sweater? Not in a million years. But as an alternate for the next few? I’m good with that.
Here are some more random thoughts:
The silver effect on the crest is an interesting touch, but the metallic sheen on the helmet decals is really cool. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Andrei Vasilevskiy may have been the best looking player on the ice for Tampa Bay tonight. I guess I mean that two ways. He stopped everything the Blues threw at him for 64 minutes, but the new mask and black and grey pads were absolutely imposing! (Now, if only he could’ve spray-painted his stick black too.)
Because of the late start, the new sweater won’t get a full 15-game run this season. We’ll see it six more times for Saturday home games throughout February and March.
During the first intermission of tonight’s game, Lightning CEO Steve Griggs was interviewed on FOX Sports Sun about the new threads. He said they’ve been researching this look for about two years and invoked “millennials” as the impetus for the less traditional elements of the uniform. I’d be curious to see some of that research for myself, actually.
Lastly, it turns out the new third jersey has inspired a full line of apparel that’s black, grey and silver. This really feels like an over-correction in response to complaints about the monochromatic blue primary uniforms.
So what do you think? Has your opinion changed since the leak?
Flyers and Penguins 2019 NHL Stadium Series jerseys leaked
The last new sweaters of the 2018-19 season have leaked within probably a week or two of their official unveiling. A photo was tweeted today that appears to show the jerseys that will be worn by the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2019 NHL Winter Classic.
The photo showed up in a photo tweeted by @dkviper on Monday. They appear to be hanging on a rack in a sporting goods store. Something tells me they were in a box that wasn’t supposed to be opened yet. But here we are.
The Flyers jersey matches another leak earlier this month that showed a youth jersey.
In December, both the Flyers and Penguins revealed their Stadium Series crests and said the jerseys would be revealed in February. They’ll probably arrive officially in the next week or two since the game is now less than a month away on Feb. 23. But there’s no need to wonder anymore.
With that image of the Penguins jersey, that’s the last new sweater design we’ll see for the 2018-19 season. All the remaining unreleased jerseys have now leaked. Apart from the Stadium Series, we’re still expecting the Tampa Bay Lightning to introduce a new black third jersey within a week or two and the Toronto Maple Leafs will wear an Adizero version of their St. Pats throwback in March. Both of those jerseys leaked in November.
This morning, the NHL and Adidas unveiled the jerseys to be worn at the 2019 NHL All-Star game in San Jose later this month. The highlight of uniforms isn’t the design so much as the way in which they’re manufactured. Adidas partnered with an organization called Parley for the Oceans to use “repurposed” and “upcycled” materials — debris from the sea.
If you felt like the teaser images Adidas released earlier in the week didn’t leave much to the imagination, you might be excused for wondering just how much imagination went into designing the jerseys in the first place. I don’t mean to be sour, but I, along with most hockey fans, have become accustomed to the NHL going a little wild with All-Star sweater design — including separate designs for each of the four divisions the last two years. This year seems to be a complete 180 from that. Two dull jerseys.
Basically, each All-Star player will have a black jersey and a white jersey with a monochromatic version of their individual team crests. There is no visible color in any of the jerseys. I say “no visible” because there is some teal inside the color that can’t be seen when the jersey is being worn.
Here are all the black versions. Click to enlarge or scroll down to see the white ones.
Next summer, the Vancouver Canucks will host the 2019 NHL Draft. Yesterday, the league unveiled the logo that will mark the occasion. It’s a pretty sharp homage to the city of Vancouver — the skyline silhouetted against the towering mountains. Beautiful city.
There’s not much more to say about it, but every year I like to use the unveiling of the new draft logo to take a look back at the designs of past years. Here we have 15 years worth of them!
The new one stays mostly in line with the draft logo system introduced in 2010 — though we do see fewer sharp points and more rounded corners in the 2019 version.