The Summer of the Phony Leak

Presumably, you visit Icethetics to keep abreast of the latest hockey jersey and logo news. It stands to reason that you'd also count on this site to set the record straight when something is amiss. That's today's topic.

Leaking unreleased designs is by no means a priority here, but it happens on occasion — as seen yesterday with the new Ottawa Heritage Jersey. It's not my purpose to foul up any team's marketing plans. However, this summer has been especially lousy with "leaks" that aren't really leaks at all.

It's all thanks to a bunch of halfwits who aren't clever enough to find an honest way of making money. They sell cheap knock-offs of NHL jerseys. But this is old news. The new trend over the last few years seems to be these manufacturers turning fan-made, Internet-posted concepts into "authentic" merchandise.

Over the past few weeks, I've been inundated with emails from readers convinced that one of these aforementioned outfits has leaked the Winnipeg Jets or 2012 Winter Classic jerseys. Time for me to step in.

The apparent Winnipeg Jets jersey "leak" that's been floating around the web is nothing more than a mutation of Columbus Blue Jackets jerseys.

Alleged Jets leak is nothing more than a recolored Blue Jackets jersey

It doesn't take a trained eye to see this is a Photoshop job, not an official photo that's been leaked. The collar on both jerseys is a dead ringer for the collar on the official Reebok photo of the Blue Jackets' home jersey. Almost everything below the collar is taken directly from the official photo of Columbus' third jersey. Only the stripes and colors have been altered. 

If you're still not seeing it, study some of the details. Look at the creases and the way the sleeves hang. There's no question it's a direct copy. Even the stripes along the waist line up perfectly with the Jackets jersey. And to make all of this moot, True North chairman Mark Chipman has already said these are not the jerseys. He didn't say "no comment," he said this isn't the design. Take that for what it's worth.

Having made my point, I should also say that I haven't seen the design of the official Jets' uniforms, so I can't say with any certainty that they won't look anything like this. They might, though I highly doubt it. (I also doubted the logo leak an hour before I was proven wrong so there's that.)

The alleged 2012 Winter Classic jersey "leaks" bouncing around are based off of a concept posted on Icethetics in June.

Phony Winter Classic 2012 jerseys based on concept art

As you can plainly see, these jerseys were born out of a concept created by DC Visual Arts, which I posted on the blog in June. Not only have they ripped off the jersey designs — which, let's be honest, are not all that original in the first place, but rather based on historical sweaters — but they've even used the guy's Winter Classic logo.

Quakers-based Flyers concepts have been all over the place as have white Rangers jerseys with the logo instead of the wordmark on the front. You can see lots on the Icethetics Concepts page alone. Look, if it comes down to someone just wanting a physical representation of their own design, there are legitimate ways to go about it. But let's call this what it is. These boneheads are saying they're "authentic" just to make a buck. It's embarrassing.

As with the Jets, I'm not saying these designs could not possibly be similar to the 2012 Winter Classic jerseys, but simple fact is, the event hasn't officially been announced yet. We know from the schedule that the Flyers will host the Rangers in the elements on the afternoon of Jan. 2, but who knows whether they'll even have new retro jerseys. In fact, both teams are already wearing throwbacks on a regular basis.

My goal here isn't to be a downer. I'm just trying to help you separate what's real from what's not. You don't have to buy it, but I have offered evidence. And just understand that if/when any NHL uniform design does leak, it certainly won't be coming from an illegitimate Chinese company that makes lousy knock-offs.

Some final thoughts: If you're the sort of person who's eager to hand his money over to an illegal business for a fake NHL jersey, then you lose the right to complain when your team has a shitty season or the owner does anything you don't like — be it snubbing a high-value player or not fixing up a run-down arena. It just makes you a hypocrite. Buy officially licensed merchandise and support your team. That's my bit.