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The 3rd Jersey Is No More

Apparently the 3rd jersey will no longer be in use when Adidas takes over next season. We look at the Flames alternates and some of the good and some of the bad 3rd jerseys in NHL history.

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames

(Star Tribune)

I might have a problem.

Well there you have it. Fans of the 3rd or alternate jersey will not be happy next season as Adidas will roll out new uniforms, but only home and away sets for all 31 NHL teams. The 3rd jersey will take a hiatus as Adidas tries to make the transition from Reebok a little easier. Bad idea. The 3rd jersey has been a hit since coming into the league in the early 90’s and I think Adidas is swinging big here and missing. Jersey sales across all sports are up and as college football has shown (good, bad or indifferent), people LOVE their jerseys (that includes me).

I get the idea that Adidas wants a smooth transition and keeping it simple in the first year makes some sense, but this is a large corporation with, presumably, talented people in the design department. You’re telling me that they couldn’t have come up with another 31 jerseys ideas for each NHL team? The alternate jersey had become so popular for the Flames that they actually released a jersey schedule for this season so fans would know what set was being worn on what day.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the alternate jersey is dead forever with Adidas, it could just be a first year thing while they and the NHL get their feet wet. Hockey jerseys are as important to the game as the game itself. Look at the Canadiens, Red Wings and Blackhawks. Their jerseys have barely changed since they’ve come into the league. The hockey sweater is a sacred thing and Adidas has to be careful with what, if anything, they change on the jerseys next season. Face it, no one wants to see what Nike did to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the ice next season:

NFL: JAN 01 Jaguars at Colts Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Should Adidas Have Made Alternate Jerseys For Next Season?
Yes! 3rd jerseys are a nice change.
No! Just have home and away.
Who cares? Just drop the puck already.

Flames Alternate Jerseys

Fred Brathwaite #40

The Flames have been pretty tame with their alternate jerseys and have nailed it each time they’ve introduced one. My favorite of them all is the first one they ever released back in 1998. The black “Horse Head” jersey was unique for it’s time and became such a hit that it became one of the Flames primary jerseys from 2000-03 until it reverted back to a 3rd jersey in 2003-04.

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames

From 2009-13 and in this current NHL season, the Flames wore a version of the 89 Stanley Cup Champions jersey at home. These are a great throwback to the glory days of the Flames, but as nice as they are, they lack something. Maybe it’s just how the game looks now and how uniforms get set up, but the red is overpowering and seems out of place. I’d rather see the Flames go with the home white jersey from that era as an alternate.

Boston Bruins v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Finally, the Flames released the last new alternate jersey the team would see. These jerseys were done really well. The fonts were different for the letters and numbers and they really stood out from the Flames usual digs. From the shoulder patches to the crest on the front, the jersey tied in Calgary’s history with Stampede and the rodeo scene and they NAILED these jerseys perfectly. It was a shame that the Flames bailed on these before the start of this season and went back to the classic red retro jersey after using those alternates for 4 seasons.

The Best of the Best and Worst of the Worst

The sports landscape is littered with bad concept ideas that unfortunately made it from the table to the jersey manufacturer. On the flip side, when done properly, the 3rd jersey can be amazing. Here’s my take on what’s worked and what should have been killed with fire, then burned again, then put in a box and buried where no one would ever find it.

The Good

Calgary Flames (1998-2000)

Fleury Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Calgary Flames (2013-16)

Detroit Red Wings v Calgary Flames

Boston Bruins (2016/Winter Classic)

NHL: NOV 25 Flames at Bruins

Buffalo Sabres (2010-12)

Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Ottawa Senators (2011-present)

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets (2010-present)

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Worst of the VERY Worst (I mean, really Anaheim?????)

Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1995-96)

Fredrik Olausson

Phoenix Coyotes (1999-2003)

Keith Carney #3

LA Kings (1995-96)

Los Angeles Kings

Boston Bruins (1995-2006)

Pj Stock Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Dallas Stars (2003-06)

Avalanche v Stars Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images