Three Jerseys Is Two Too Many for the NHL

Tim ParentSenior Writer INovember 30, 2008

My father is a marketer's dream.

He is easily seduced by new packaging.  Growing up, he would regularly bring home boxes of who-knows-what, impressed by a certain look or design or package or collector's tin.  If it was new, and it was a brand he was loyal to, it found a place in the pantry.

If my father collected NHL jerseys, he'd be forced to declare bankruptcy.

I've lost count of how many third jerseys have been unveiled to the NHL-buying public, but it's getting ridiculous.

In the last week, the Boston Bruins have taken to the ice in their new jerseys, as have the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings.  The Montreal Canadiens have a whack of jerseys ready to go, part of the team's centennial celebrations. 

Other teams getting a NEW! or a NEW AND IMPROVED! third jersey this season include:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Buffalo
  • Edmonton
  • Carolina
  • Philadelphia
  • New York Islanders
  • Pittsburgh
  • Ottawa
  • Tampa Bay
  • San Jose
  • St. Louis

Not to sound like a grumpy ol' grandpa but there was a time where an NHL team had one logo; one single, solitary emblem.  The jersey it was stitched to came in two patterns: home and away, the colors reversed. 

It's possible people were wearing onions on their belts (which was the style at the time) and walked ten miles to school, in waist-high drifts of snow, but I digress ... 

What's particularly insulting is many of the so-called third jerseys are not new, just throwbacks to older designs.  If you're going to try and sell me an official jersey at $299.99 dollars and more, just because it has the retro look, then why did you change the design in the first place? 

I liked the Buffalo Sabres old logo and jersey colors logo but the team changed it.  Now you want to sell me the jersey you guys wore in 1983 at 2008 prices?  Nerts to you! 

The Tampa Bay Lightning has gone so far as to have even changed its name!  The new third jersey has no logo, but a stylized, diagonal BOLTS crossing the fabric. 

Tampa Bay has chosen to go with the name LIGHTNING, not BOLTS!  That only works with, and in, Montreal, where the Canadiens are also called the Habs. When Tampa Bay has 24 Stanley Cups under the belt, we'll talk.

Boston doesn't need a logo variant.  The "B" in the wagon-wheel is one of those logos that has stood the test of time, just like the Detroit Red Wings (which doesn't have a third jersey, by the way).  Hey, Boston, I know a bruin is a bear.  You don't need to put a bear on your jersey.

If the NHL and its teams believe that the creation of a third jersey will lure new fans to the game, it won't.  It's time the league focus on its history and not just by trying to sell a jersey with an Edmonton Oilers jersey circa 1985.  Instead, sell me on the story of Wayne Gretzky and what he did while wearing that jersey.

My dad may be a sucker for a spiffy design but I'm not going to fall for it.