Historically, the only standardized piece of the uniform has been the jersey, which has to be of identical design by the same company for all members of a team. Other uniform elements merely have a color scheme, allowing individual players to select their own brand and model colored to match the uniform scheme, but not necessarily identical in appearance. Sticks and other equipment worn under the clothes are not part of the uniform and have no requirements in terms of matching a team uniform; teams will sometimes provide players with team-brand undershirts or other under-clothing, but players are not required or limited to wearing them.
Goalies often have their pads and gloves and masks colored to match the team’s uniform scheme, but there is no requirement for this equipment to match, and goalies who transfer to a new team often play their old equipment until new colors can be obtained. Alternatively, players who transfer teams have sometimes had their gloves painted temporarily to match the required colors, and are given new helmets.
Each is currently required to have two uniform designs: One with a white base (or sometimes historically, a light color), and one with a darker-colored base. Since the 200304 season, NHL teams typically wear the dark color at home and the white for road games; there are occasional single-game exceptions. The only element allowed by NHL rules to be interchangeable between the two uniforms is the pants.
Third jersey program
Starting in 1995 (excluding a few prior isolated instances), some teams began to design a third jersey, which allowed them to experiment with new designs, or throwback to a vintage design. Though they are termed third jerseys, they can actually entail an entirely separate uniform from the primary uniforms, often including alternate socks, and sometimes alternate helmets and other equipment. Some third jerseys have eventually become the bases for new primary jersey designs.
Third jerseys are typically worn only a few times a season by special permission of the league, based on a list of requested games. They can also be worn during selected playoff games. The third jersey program, as the NHL came to call it, was discontinued for the 200708 season, with the introduction of the Rbk Edge jersey, but was reintroduced for the 200809 season.
A team’s desire to wear their third jersey sometimes requires the opposing team to wear their home or road jersey when the opposite would be normally worn, due to the color of the third jersey. This can occur when a road team wishes to wear a colored third jersey, or a home team wishes to wear a white third jersey, as there must be one team each wearing white and colored uniforms in a game. This can require a team to carry two sets of uniforms and equipment on the road, whether they are using their third jerseys, or are playing against a team who is.
The most recognized element of a team’s uniform is probably their jersey or sweater, which is the only element of the NHL Uniform which is mass marketed to the public.
Most NHL jerseys display the team’s primary logo in the centre of the chest, while some also display secondary logos on the shoulders. Each player in a team’s lineup for a game must have a different number displayed on the back of their jersey, as well as the player’s surname above their number on the back of their jersey. While not required, teams typically place their numbers on each upper arm as well. Team captains and alternate captains wear the letters “C” and “A” respectively on the front of their jerseys. Jerseys have a loop of fabric sewn into the inside jersey back, called a “fight strap” or “tie-down”, which must be secured to the player’s pants during a game, to prevent the jersey from being pulled over the player’s head in a fight.
In recent years, teams have sold both “pro” model jerseys, ostensibly identical to those worn by players, and “replica” quality jerseys which are cheaper versions that typically use cheaper production methods and lower-quality materials. Replica versions typically lack the fight strap, and in recent years have an additional brand logo on the left wrist.
Prior to 2000, Different NHL teams had contracts with different manufacturers for their jerseys, although in some years all or most teams had a deal with one supplier. Manufacturers included Nike, Starter, Pro Player, CCM, and Koho.
From the 200001 season, up to the 200506 NHL season, all team jerseys were made by The Hockey Company in an NHL-wide deal, and were branded with subsidiary brands. The Koho brand was on dark jerseys and third jerseys, while the CCM brand was on the white jerseys. The Hockey Company began the practice of putting the manufacturer’s logo on the back of the jersey, below the neck, rather than on the back of the waist hem, as had previously been the practice. Jofa, another subsidiary, made the jerseys for referees and linesmen until the 200506 season, when they were re-branded CCM which they remain as of 200809.
Following Reebok’s purchase of The Hockey Company, all official NHL team jerseys were switched to the Reebok (Rbk Hockey) brand (which is more familiar to the general public), while cheaper replica jerseys sold to fans retained the CCM branding. Reebok logos are on the side boards in all NHL arenas (for marketing purposes) just above the blue and red lines.
Since 2007: Reebok Edge
The Rbk Edge, or simply Edge, is a newer line of jerseys designed by Reebok. They were announced by Reebok after nearly three years of development. The new jerseys are tighter-fitting, are less water-absorbent, and are more flexible than before.It was intended to make players more manoeuvrable on the ice. The Edge jerseys were unveiled at the 55th National Hockey League All-Star Game and began to be worn, league-wide, from the 200708 NHL season onwards. Almost every team in the league made at least minor changes to their uniform design in conjunction with implementing the new jersey style. The San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, and Washington Capitals redesigned their uniforms altogether with a new or updated logo. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild used their alternate jersey from the previous three seasons as the basis for their new uniforms, complete with the team adopting the alternate logo from their alternates as their primary logo.
Along with the traditional differences between the replica and authentic versions of NHL jerseys, the replica (billed as “premier”) versions of the Edge jersey sold to the public have a “jock tag” on the left side of the front near the waist with the Reebok vector, NHL logo, and jersey size. While NHL.com lists a jock tag as a feature on the authentic jerseys as well, jerseys sold at retail seem not to have this tag.
Citing player complaints, Reebok later modified the Edge jerseys, removing the play-dry material in the front and making the sleeves bigger. The modified jerseys, dubbed the Edge II, made their debut at the 2008 NHL Winter Classic on January 1, 2008.
The Reebok Edge jersey continues to evolve, as the current Reebok Edge material more closely resembles that of the pre-2007 CCM/Reebok jerseys than the original Reebok Edge material.[verification needed]
A team’s uniform also includes color requirements for other equipment, while not requiring players to use a specific brand or model, so they may select equipment to their preferences. This includes a player’s gloves, short pants, and helmet. Socks are also part of the uniform design, historically with some pattern of horizontal stripes. Nonetheless, CCM/Reebok has traditionally been one of the leading suppliers of player equipment and skates, if not the number one supplier.
There is a sock and pant design by Rbk with similar technological improvements and design intentions.
Notes and references
^ When third jerseys are utilized, there are occasions when a team requests to wear their third jersey, whose color requires that game to use opposite home/away colors.
^ Phoenix Coyotes 2007-08 “Reverse Jersey Nights”
^ Los Angeles Kings Uniform History
^ For example, the early 2000s New York Rangers Liberty-head third jersey was a different blue than the team’s road jersey, requiring alternate socks, helmets and other color-matched equipment.
^ Coffey, Phil (2007-01-22). “Players will have the EDGE in 200607”. NHL.com. http://corporate.reebok.com/en/news/press_releases/rbk_edge_uniform.asp?mode=print&. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
^ Reebok Hockey (2007-01-22). “Reebok And Nhl To Unveil New Technologically-advanced Uniform System”. Press release. http://en.rbkhockey.com/news/read.php?pr_id=254. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
^ NHL.com Jersey buyer’s guide
^ Pollina, Erin (2007-12-21). “Gearing Up For The NHL Winter Classic”. Sabres.com. http://sabres.nhl.com/club/news.htm?bcid=347420. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
LA Kings Uniform History
Categories: Ice hockey equipment | Uniforms | National Hockey League uniformsHidden categories: All pages needing factual verification | Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from October 2009
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