Two Stanley Cup winning franchises unveiled new home and away jerseys for the 2013-14 season; both came up short.
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars underwent what should have been an extensive rebranding effort in their full jersey redesign. It seems like both forgot the part where they do something original, and of value to their team’s history, identity, and the league image of the NHL.
Starting with Carolina. The Hurricanes have a timeless red/black/white color scheme that offers so much in terms of aesthetic options. A quick look around the NHL shows what you can do with those colors. New Jersey, Chicago, and Ottawa (minus the gold) all use those colors with varying degrees of success. The Hurricanes, however, have fallen short of expectations.
The new home reds for the Canes are a disappointment. The smaller crest makes the jersey look unbalanced and more like a high school practice jersey than an NHL game sweater.
Lowering the logo by an inch or so would likely fix that aesthetic issue, however. Where the jersey really falls apart is the striping. It was a fantastic idea to keep the jersey stripes simple, especially after the complicated warning flag stripe on the previous design.
However, like Tampa’s veiled attempt to carbon copy the Toronto jerseys, Carolina seems to have taken the Phoenix look, with some minor adjustments. Here’s the issue: Phoenix can get away with the two-color jersey because, well, they only have two colors (brick and white). Carolina, on the other hand, has too much black within it’s logo to ignore. The incorporation of an inch wide stripe adjacent to the white would make these sweaters more well-rounded, and less like a generic practice jersey.
The Canes’ new road whites are almost perfect, except not. Anyone who has NHL13 knows this sweater well. In fact, I think the Canes were in a rush to finish the road whites and someone called his 16 year old to do a mock up on an XBox. That being said, the stripes on the tail and arms are perfect and timeless. The red shoulder yoke, however, is awful. A thin black border on the shoulder yoke would tie the upper and lower together quite nicely. All together the road jersey is not horrible, but it is horribly unoriginal.
One last critique of the home reds. I have never been a fan of red pants on teams other than Detroit. The Hurricanes pulled them off in the past because of the significant black and grey stripes at the tail. The new look, however, I will have to see in action before I make my final judgement. I think the white stripes are thick enough to prevent the Cooperall-effect, but time will tell.
After the jump, it’s Dallas’ turn on the catwalk / chopping block.
The Stars underwent a total redesign, changing everything but their name.
We must start with the new logo: the D-Star. Right out of the gate, this is a horrible logo for the National Hockey League. Would this logo be a good fit in the AHL or ECHL? Absolutely. But it just does not work for the big show. The logo seems too pedestrian, too juvenile for a $3+ billion league. It is hard to imagine how a simple concept fell so short. Frankly, the D-Star seems to look more like a first draft than a final. Some fine tuning should have been done before making the decision. Perhaps keeping the gold in color palette would have solved Dallas’ problem here.
Now to the jerseys. Ever since Dallas unveiled their old jerseys I have been saying they need a redesign. This was not what I had in mind. The new jerseys look eerily similar to the UND uniforms, with just minor adjustments with the stripes.
The new home green jerseys are simply awful. Take any team’s logo, turn it green, slap it on this jersey, and you have a hideous St. Patrick’s Day gimmick jersey. The only saving grace these green jerseys have are the strips. White flanking black is classic and powerful; an excellent choice for the new look, and a huge step up from the four thin stripes around the elbows of the previous jerseys. However, a black base with green and white accents would make this sweater look much more professional, not like an obvious marketing gimmick. Be careful if you go to a game in Dallas, though, you will experience time travel to March 17th as soon as you enter the American Airlines Center.
The road whites are decent enough; classy green shoulder yoke, laced collar, secondary logo patch. The stripes, on the other hand, are hideously juvenile, much like the new logo. A three stripe pattern, while traditional and well-executed quite often, only works with two colors. The black/white/green striping is clumsy and unbalanced. If the Stars only wanted one green and one black stripe, they should have made them adjacent to each other, not flanking a white stripe. Though, had the white stripe been thin piping instead of equal-width, the jersey would look a little less childish. Also, and only a minor critique, a black lace instead of white would be a nice contrast at the collar.
June 4, 2013 proved to be a disappointing day. I planned on having my two passions collide in a whirlwind of fashion and hockey. Instead, it was a light breeze that blew pollen in my face and I could not stop sneezing. Needless to say, the NHL clubs who plan to release new jerseys this summer better not disappoint.