One news item dominated my inbox and Twitter feed today. Jason Gregor — "Edmonton's sports radio authority," according to his website — declared this morning on OilersNation.com that the Edmonton Oilers will have an orange third jersey this fall.
As someone who follows these things pretty closely, as you can imagine, I was both surprised and skeptical. I'll explain, but first Gregor's report.
At the tail end of a blog post primarily discussing Friday's draft, he wrote:
The Oilers will have a new third jersey this season. I’ve been told that orange will be the dominant colour. I’ve also been told they won’t be available for purchase until late September, or realistically, early October.
I haven’t seen the jersey, but it sounds like it might look similar to the orange jersey the OKC Barons had last year. I like bright colours and if orange is the dominant colour, I'm all for it.
If this is true, I am absolutely on board! I'd love to see the Oilers in orange. In fact, just last week I posted this on the Concepts page.
So why am I skeptical? First, no source is cited. That's not a deal breaker, of course. There have been plenty of occasions when I've had a source with unreleased information who wishes to remain anonymous. But regular readers know that I won't post something here that I don't believe could be accurate.
That brings me to the reporter. I'd never heard of Jason Gregor until this morning. I don't listen to Edmonton radio and I don't read Oilers blogs. I'm probably like most people who live outside of Alberta in that regard.
But dozens of you trust him enough to pass along the link to the article — either that or you just want it to be true so much that the source is irrelevant.
Second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that Reebok has not given retailers a heads-up about a new third jersey for the Oilers in 2015-16.
You may ask, Chris, why are you so obsessed on Reebok's stupid retailer catalog anyway? Listen, if Reebok wants retailers to sell their products and give them money — which they absolutely do — they need to tell those retailers what will be available to sell so they can stock their shelves in time.
That's why our annual NHL JerseyWatch series focuses so much on what's in that document. And the only time I've ever found it be wrong is when a team decided late in the year to scrap plans for new or updated jerseys.
In fairness, though, the catalog never says "new jerseys on the way" but rather labels jerseys as "TBD," or "to be determined" — meaning a team may "determine" that they will keep or drop an existing design rather than necessarily introducing a new one. Did any of that make sense?
Am I saying the orange Oilers jersey rumor is false? Not at all. Maybe Reebok made a mistake and omitted it from their catalog. Maybe the team got permission to add a new jersey late in the calendar. Maybe Gregor has a solid source who is dead on.
Or maybe this isn't technically a "third jersey" as we know it but more like the retro throwbacks we see on special occasions in Los Angeles and New Jersey — worn just two or three times a season. Reebok doesn't list those in their catalog.
I don't know. And if I ever pretend to know something I don't, I just remind myself of this catastrophe.
So let's see what happens. Past experience tells me there's nothing to this rumor. At the same time I have no reason to think Jason Gregor is making it up.
If we're lucky, we'll get something official on McDavid Day. Sorry, I meant Draft Day.