By Nathan Tucker
The National Hockey League’s biggest offseason announcement became reality on Monday as teams across the league revealed new “Reverse Retro” alternate jerseys, to be worn for some games in the upcoming season. Adidas and the NHL were reportedly planning this project for around two years.
That project being the sum of “What if we made a retro jersey a new alternate?” and “What if we flipped every team’s colors around?”, giving hockey fans a much different team to look at on the ice next season. Hell, the Blues are gonna be red!
Here I will run down five jerseys from this unveiling which I really like and believe fans will love or learn to love, and five jerseys that should never be worn on the ice barring an emergency circumstance. When tinkering with both team logos, retro designs and color schemes, there is a lot that can go right, and even more that can go wrong.
Let us start with the good.
FIVE VERY GOOD NHL REVERSE RETRO JERSEYS
- Colorado’s Updated Quebec Nordiques Jersey
One of the most iconic jersey designs in hockey getting an update in white is a very nice touch, and the color change from the old Quebec jerseys is not as apparent on a white jersey as it would be with any of Colorado’s other current colors. The Avalanche have not worn a Nordiques throwback in many years, and fans will love to see (and buy) this modern take on a vintage hockey look.
- LA’s Purple and Gold “Gretzky Era” Jersey
Some team’s designs capture multiple points in a team’s past to create a complete look, and LA’s combination of their regal purple and gold jerseys and the sweaters of the ’80s and ’90s that “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky broke NHL records in flawlessly combines the two most memorable looks of the Kings in their long history. If only Gretzky could have scored all his goals in these bad boys.
- Florida’s Big Cat Navy Blue Jersey
My personal favorite of the Reverse Retro batch, this jersey is a ’90s classic and honors the Florida Panthers team that stunned the hockey world and made it to the Stanley Cup Final in only the franchise’s third year of existence. Every detail is spot on to the old ’90s Panthers looks, from the color scheme (team first wore blue alternates in 1998), to the palm tree and hockey stick logo on the shoulders.
- Philly’s “Legion of Doom” Orange Jerseys
A nod to the ’90s Philadelphia Flyers, the halcyon days of Eric Lindros wreaking havoc on the NHL. This jersey is not incredibly different or shocking, or even much of a twist on what the Flyers already wear in orange, but some different shoulder and sleeve design freshens up another classic hockey look.
- St. Louis Blues, In Red?
I wrote a whole article on these specifically, and I have personally waffled a little bit on them before coming to the conclusion that it is okay for a team named the Blues to wear red in this circumstance. That circumstance being that this jersey now reflects the St. Louis city flag, predominantly red, with some blue and yellow. While the original throwbacks have actual history to them, these do not, but are a fun remix of the established Blues ’90s look.
And hey, they will look great at a Cardinals game.
FIVE VERY BAD NHL REVERSE RETRO JERSEYS
- Washington’s ‘Merica Millenium Throwbacks
Mixing the old Capitals design from the turn of the millennium with their current more patriotic color scheme creates this jersey that looks like one of those all over print 4th of July shirts you see at Walmart for $15. Too much ‘Merica for me.
- Vegas Bets On Red
While the colors are definitely nice together, a “Reverse Retro” jersey implies that there is some history for a team to harken back to. Vegas’s history is currently three years old. This is more just a second alternate to their gold jerseys, and I do not see Vegas going back to red beyond this season.
- Winnipeg’s Fauxbacks, Now In Grey!
For those not in the loop, the Winnipeg Jets team that currently plays in Winnipeg has more history in Atlanta as the Thrashers than they do in Winnipeg. That has not stopped them from milking the former Winnipeg Jets identity, now the Arizona Coyotes, for all the sweet phony retro jerseys they can offer. Here is a new-Jets color scheme on the old-Jets jersey, but with a bunch of dingy grey, for some reason.
- Like St. Louis, Columbus’ Blue Flipped To Red
Are you a team trying for a bold new look to catch your fans off-guard? Try red! Another team with “Blue” in the name going red in the Reverse Retro series, this being a red version of the early ’00s Columbus Blue Jackets navy jerseys. Unlike the Blues, there is not really much history for this team in these jerseys, beyond Rick Nash scoring like 60 points a season.
- Did Dallas Even Try?
Dallas had a layup with these jerseys. Take the classic “star” base and sleeve design and update to the modern Dallas Stars colorway. What they tried for instead was a “sleek” all-white design with the classic “star” simply outlined in green. Perhaps these will look nice on the ice in combination with full gear, but as a standalone jersey it is just too plain, knowing what the Stars could have done.
There you have it, 10 jerseys I feel very differently about, coming to an ice rink on a television near you this hockey season. If change is not your bag, fear not, these jerseys will be limited in appearance, and your favorite team will only be wearing them five to seven times next year.