Uniform Thinking

The NBA and NIKE are re-thinking how they use their uniform sets and it’s an idea that the NHL should make note of for future seasonsNot that you expect much NBA news from this here site, but we actually have some for you because screw it, it’s summer and we can only write about how Paul Maurice is going to use his bottom six forwards so much..

Today the NBA and NIKE announced that starting this coming season, each team will have four different uniforms, and that each team will pick a primary home jersey and that it won’t necessarily be a white uniform as has always been the tradition.

“The host team will pick which of its uniforms will be worn for each game and the visitors will select one of the contrasting ones from their collection.”

What this means is for instance, the Los Angeles Lakers – best known mostly for their purple with gold and white trim uniforms that had mostly been seen on the road and not on the Lakers home court – can decide to make that their primary home uniform, while the Los Angeles Clippers can decide to remain with their better looking white uniforms at home.

It allows teams to connect better with their identity (or “brand” if you must refer to it as that) while giving every club a chance to make the choice without having to worry about a standard rule spread across the league.

And it’s something the NHL should absolutely do after this coming season.

The current uniform system the NHL has – darks / colours at home, whites worn on the road – was adopted for the 2003-04 season to a small amount of protest from fans who liked having the home team wear white and the different opposing teams wear various colors, giving each game a different feel. The move to darks at home was made mostly because in the era of the alternate jersey, most teams went with a colored variant and wanted to wear those at home in front of their fans, not only to generate excitement, but to help market them to the people most likely to pay for them.

Fast forward 14 years and you’d be hard pressed to find a hockey fan that bothered by a change that rattled fans back in 2003. Most NHL clubs are well identified by their home unis. Think “Broadway Blueshirts” or the iconic “Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge” of the Montreal Canadiens.

But there is at least one team that would be well served by going back to their white set for home games… The Winnipeg Jets. It isn’t hard to think of why either.

Not that the navy blue unis at home haven’t been great, but it was a little odd seeing a Whiteout in 2015 while the road team Ducks wore white themselves.

The NHL this season is only allowing for each team to have a home and a road uniform due to factory and production limitations, but the season after, the NHL and Adidas could copy… er.. take inspiration from the NBA and allow each club to have two alternates.

That sound you hear is your wallet and/or purse losing money as you try to keep your Jets wardrobe updated.

But how cool would it be for the Jets to have say a primary white home and navy blue jersey, and then say an alternate while heritage style ‘throwback’ looking uniform as we saw this season… And then just to go really crazy, a jet grey, sky blue or even red fourth jersey?

I’m not usually one for the NHL taking ideas from other leagues, but this is one they should totally copy down the road.

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