Predators Peering Into the Future?

Predators "limited edition" jersey / from Seth WrightIt seems Nashville Predators fans at tonight's game may have been treated to a preview of a possible new sweater.

Teams hold special auctions and giveaways at games all the time. But Icethetics reader Seth W. wrote in to let us know about one in Nashville that involved a rather unique prize. He sent this photo (right) along with the following note:

I'm a graphic designer from McMinnville, TN and a Nashville Predators fan and season ticket holder and also a big fan of your blog. Your blog combines two of my biggest obsessions: design and hockey. Thanks for all you do.

At tonight's Predators-Blackhawks game, they had this jersey on display at the silent auction table where they auction off memorabilia for charity. The card next to this jersey identified it as a "limited edition" jersey that will be auctioned off for the Predators Foundation.

It seemed to match up with all the speculation I have read on your site about what the rumored new Preds road jerseys will look like next year. That's all I know about it. Hopefully you can shed some light on it for me.

First of all, as you can see, it's exactly what was rumored through most of the JerseyWatch 2010 updates. We believed the Predators were adding this design to their arsenal all the way up until September. Even The Hockey News was unaware of the last-minute change.

In case you weren't following along, here's the gist: Last year, the Predators were planning to ditch their current home and road sweaters, promote the new third jersey to home and add a white version for the road. It seems at some point over the summer, these plans were nixed.

To see the jersey now being auctioned off means it clearly moved beyond the prototype phase. So what do you do with a product that won't see action this year? Sell it to the highest bidder, of course, as a "limited edition" item. Not only that, but it serves as a convenient way to get feedback from the fans.

Jersey koozie / from PredatorsBy the way, this is unrelated to the auction jersey, but it is timely. Tonight the Predators tweeted a photo of a jersey koozie they were giving away at the game. What I wouldn't give to have a Lightning one like that.

Anyway, my impression is that last year's sweater-swapping plan will be revisited and this jersey will hit the ice to open the 2011-12 season. I think the Predators have been looking to lose the current look for a while, in favor of simplified logos and sweaters.

Things probably didn't materialize properly to get the jerseys out this season. If I had to guess, I'd say the league wasn't happy with a third jersey being promoted that quickly. It would've been an awfully fast turnaround.

We'll see where it goes when summer rolls around, but I think it's a good sign to see fans now getting a look at the jersey at least. And hey, if it's not a popular design, maybe they'll go another route. What's your theory and do you like this white jersey better their current one?