Following the lead of their NHL parent club in Raleigh, the AHL's Charlotte Checkers unveiled new uniforms on Wednesday. The redesigned sweaters are based on those of the Carolina Hurricanes, who revealed their look to the world on June 4.
On first glance, it looks like they duplicated the Canes and swapped out the crest. But first glances can be deceiving. There are more differences than that and some are key to making this uniform work for Charlotte in a way it didn't for Raleigh.
By now you've probably read my review of what Carolina did. Overall, it wasn't great. But the Checkers have changed some details that really make their version easier to swallow. So let's go through them. The Checkers have made this very easy, outlining the differences on their website.
First, and most obvious is the black stripe on the red Checkers jersey. Come on Carolina, how hard would that have been? It wouldn't saved all the Team Canada grief you've gotten over the last week and a half. Then there's the lace-up collar on the white jersey. This isn't a big deal for me. A lot of folks bemoaned the non-matching home-and-roads in Carolina. I kind of liked that.
The Checkers also have a shoulder patch, something the Canes went without. Of course it's the standard Hurricanes logo, but at least it's something. Other changes pointed out on the Checkers' website include the Checkers retaining the shiny silver on the crest while Carolina opted for a matte finish. And, naturally, the collar doesn't have a row of storm flags like it does for the Hurricanes.
The reason I like Charlotte's version better is quite simply the black stripe on the red sweater and the shoulder patches. Seemingly minor details can turn out to be important.
And there's something else. The Checkers identity dates back to the 1950s in the old Eastern Hockey League. That's about 60 years of history there. Because of that, a traditional-style hockey uniform works for them in a way it doesn't for the 16-year-old Hurricanes. Plus, it never made sense for them to wear those storm flags around their waist like it did for their parent club. Moreso now that the Canes themselves stopped using that particular feature.
So for Charlotte, this is an impressive upgrade to the look. They will be one of the AHL's best-looking teams in 2013. How can two teams wear jerseys so similar and yet look so different? Now you know.
Your turn. Did the Checkers make the right move? Share your take in the comments.