Should the NHL follow in the footsteps of the MLB and adopt the City Connect jerseys?
In the past, a few seasons ago, NHL teams had two jerseys. They had one for their home games and one for the road games. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Then somewhere along the line the alternative third jerseys became a thing. The company of Three then why not!
Then sports executives saw that more jerseys means more jersey sales and some leagues went crazy with multiple jerseys. The NHL even admitted that the hugely popular retro reverse jerseys were a way to recoup some of the money from any revenue lost over the past year. You can’t blame them, but when every NBA team has enough jerseys to fill a closet it can get a little confusing.
Enter MLB and their new City Connect jerseys. Seven of the league’s teams would get new alternative jerseys inspired by their cities. The NBA already has something similar in place. Some of the new MLB jerseys have received rave reviews, like the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox jerseys. Others, like the Boston Red Sox version, look like a yellow hockey training jersey.
Both the MLB and the NBA have alternative jerseys that pay homage to the cities they represent. Could the NHL be next and should the whole league get them?
Where other sports leagues go, the NHL generally follows. Will the NHL ever get these City Connect jerseys? After how quickly reverse retro wore off last year, the league saw the added value that the new jerseys can bring.
Here’s an idea if the NHL ever decides to go the City Jersey route. Follow the lead of MLB and only have it for a few teams. Those few teams should be the Original Six. If these City Connect jerseys celebrate city and team history, you can’t find a better contender than the Original Six.
What exactly they might look like is up for debate. For example, the New York Rangers tried to honor their city with the ‘Lady Liberty’ jerseys from the 90s. This design made a comeback for their Reverse Retro. Even though the obvious example has been used before, there is still a lot of inspiration around New York City for a brand new design. As the City Connect Baseball jerseys have shown, they don’t always have to follow the current color scheme of the team they represent.
The NHL has done something similar in the past with the Winter Classic jerseys. Remember when the 2020 Winter Classic jerseys for the Nashville Predators paid homage to the former city team, the Dixie Flyers? Instead of being inspired by the history of hockey, city jerseys should be inspired by the history of the city and the unique identity of each city.
If done right, they can be amazing. Once the Original Six are over, the concept may spread to all teams in the NHL. Let’s first see how they handle the jerseys of hockey’s most famous franchise.