League introduces new format, many jerseys
On Wednesday night, the AHL's best players will face off against Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in the uniquely formatted 2014 AHL All-Star Classic. The St. John's IceCaps are hosting this year's festivities.
Now I have to level with you. I thought this was going to be a quick and easy post. Show you a couple photos of the teams' jerseys and move on. Oh yeah sure, if it were only so simple. Folks, to my surprise, the AHL has given us six different sweaters to discuss in relation to All-Star Week in St. John's.
So settle in.
It all started Tuesday morning at practice. The AHL All-Stars wore jerseys that looked like they could very well be game uniforms. Half the players wore white while the other half wore blue. But it was just practice.
Skills Competition (AHL All-Stars)
Tuesday night then brought the Skills Competition which pitted the All-Stars against the SHL's Färjestad BK — we'll get to their jerseys next. The AHLers wore blue versions of the game jersey.
Skills Competition (Färjestad BK)
Meanwhile, Färjestad sported these white Reebok Edge ad-free (mostly) versions of their uniforms. It's pretty sharp compared to what they usually wear. (I'll get to that.)
AHL 2014 All-Star Classic
Finally we get to the actual game jerseys for Wednesday. The AHLers will don white as Färjestad BK wear green.
The AHL All-Stars' jersey utilizes the very first Reebok Edge template, which was introduced at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas. It's an awful look in my mind — and I usually like modern jersey styles — but it continues to survive thanks to the AHL.
Meanwhile, knowing what little I do about European hockey, I expected Färjestad to have ridiculous jerseys. But in fact, they came out on top here. This is the kind of classic hockey sweater I was anticipating when the Dallas Stars rebranded themselves over the summer.
Too bad Färjestad only wears them for special events.
Färjestad BK (SHL)
This post would be incomplete without a quick look at what Färjestad normally wears. And as you'd expect, it's covered in advertising.
Mark my words. If the NHL ever allows this, I'm shutting down Icethetics.
In case this is the first you're hearing of a European team coming to North America for an AHL All-Star Game, allow me to wrap up with some brief background on Färjestad BK, who hail from Karlstad, Sweden. They've been around a while. They were founded in 1932 and have won four Swedish league championships in the past 12 years, most recently in 2011.
Currently, Färjestad's roster includes one American and one Canadian. It's also without three of its Norwegian-born stars — Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Martin Roymark and Anders Bastiansen — who are suiting up in Sochi this week. Like the NHL, the SHL is taking a break for the Olympics. At this point, teams have played 49 of their 55 games. Färjestad is 23-26 and in 8th place out of 12 teams.
If all this talk about the AHL All-Star Classic has you eager to watch the game, it'll air tape delayed on NHL Network and live on several other regional sports networks. Click here to see if it's available in your area.