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The NHL and Adidas Missed The Mark

A golden opportunity was wasted with Adidas taking over the NHL jersey contract.

Tuesday night the NHL and Adidas had their big reveal of the new jerseys for 2017-18 and by all accounts the response was “meh.” Adidas took over the contract from Reebok and the hype surrounding their jersey reveal was off the charts. Too bad the jerseys weren’t.

The NHL and Adidas completely botched this changing of the guard. There were barely any changes to most teams kits and I think it was a wasted opportunity for the league and the manufacturer. The NHL hasn’t put the new jerseys up for sale, but why would you buy one? If your team only made minor changes that aren’t noticeable to anyone but you, why spend upwards of $200 on an Adidas jersey when you can get a Reebok one from last season at a severe discount? I think Adidas and the league bet heavily on fans wanting to get the new Adidas versions and thought people would buy them because they are new. Not this fan. Look at the differences in the Flames “new” and old jerseys:



I mean, in the Flames case, is the jersey THAT different that you need to fork out a ton of cash to get a brand new Adidas jersey instead of a discounted Reebok one from last year? Look, if you’re a jersey freak and these things matter to you, you’ll get a Mike Smith Adidas jersey because he didn’t play for the Flames in the “Reebok Era.” But if you’re looking to get say, a Micheal Ferland or a T.J. Brodie, why get the Adidas version when you can save yourself some cash? Heck, you could probably get them both for what the new Adidas jersey will cost.

That, right there, is where the NHL and Adidas missed the mark. No alternate jersey and then you release the jerseys and they all look pretty similar to last season’s version. I’m not advocating for crazy changes across the board like when the NHL went nuts with the ridiculous 3rd jerseys of the late 90’s, but changing it up a bit is an easier sell than “buy this, the manufacturer logo is different.” There’s a good chance I won’t be purchasing one of the new jerseys because any Flames player I’d want to add to my collection played on the team last season.

As for the rest of the teams, a few upgraded themselves with minor touches. The Minnesota Wild added a thick, white stripe to the centre of their jerseys which looks really sharp and makes their logo stand out. The Devils simplified their set by removing the thick bottom striping and adding black to the shoulders of their jersey (they should still go back to green and red). Edmonton is wearing orange, like actual orange. Not that dark orange/red mostrosity that made your eyes bleed last season. And I like that Buffalo went with a simple navy blue and a design that looks more retro, but at the same time modern. I hate EVERYTHING about the Las Vegas uniforms. For the love of all that is sacred remove that red stripe that appears on the sleeve for no reason. Nashville: stop with the yellow. Enough already. And the Avalanche are begging for a redesign and Adidas left them hanging. Everyone else pretty much stayed the same and did minor tweaking to what they were wearing last season. A lot of the changes appear to be letter or number related or piping being added or removed.

All in all, it was a fairly unsuccessful reveal by Adidas. Yes, they changed the fabric of the jersey and added their logo, but for all the media hype that surrounded this “event”, it didn’t deliver. You wanted to make a big splash and have this huge Las Vegas reveal, do it the right way and make a splash. I’ve read far too many “what’s different” quotes tonight and that’s not the splash Adidas and the NHL were trying to make.