The only piece of equipment that is mass marketed to the fans is the team sweater. Since 1995, teams have dabbled in the idea of a third jersey or an alternate jersey which has given teams the opportunity to be a bit more creative with their teams logo’s and colors. Some teams even took it as far to completely disregard the history of the team and overhaul the entire image of their logo. (I know I know… Gortons fisherman… move on). As a kid I always remembered watching my favorites playing in their white jerseys. I have played sports since I could remember and it was ingrained in my mind that the home team always wore the lighter colors (see pretty much every sport imaginable). So why the change? I did some research and the best answer I could find is from the NHLPA:
Prior to the early 1950s, teams only wore 1 uniform (all teams wore coloured except Boston wore white). With the advent of television, and TV being black and white, it was very difficult to tell a red team from a blue team, or two red teams (Montreal/Detroit) or two blue teams (Toronto/New York) apart…so at the request of television, white uniforms made their way into the NHL.
In 1970, Charles Finlay (owner of the California Golden Seals) wanted the league to become like baseball and wear their white uniforms at home (he claimed at the time that fans were walking into his building and cheering for the white team because that was the norm (forgetting for a second that the NFL wore their colours at home)). The NHL saw no reason to vote against it, and ‘whites at home’ was born.
It has been rumoured that the reason for the change was to accomodate the 3rd jersey, but both the NHL and NHLPA have denied this and pointed out the fact that teams wore their 3rd jersey both home and away as a rule (prior to the Rbk jerseys) and last summer the NHLPA agreed that teams would wear their new Rbk 3rd jerseys a set number of games each year with 50% being at home, and 50% being on the road.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to go back to the white at home and dark away. I don’t think jersey sales will suffer from the change. What do you think? At Blue Line Banter, we love to hear your opinions. Comment below, or tweet us at @BlueLineBanter and hashtag your answer #BLBSweater.