Panthers to overhaul uniforms and logo

Through a series of tweets today, we got some confirmation of the initial report in NHL JerseyWatch 2016 that the Florida Panthers will have new uniforms next season. In fact, there may be a new logo in the mix as well!

George Richards, beat writer for the Miami Herald, was all over the story all day. I'm recapping his tweets in this blog post tonight. It all started with this.

That's an idea I discussed in the JerseyWatch post a couple weeks ago. I really hope that's a strong possibility because it would look fantastic. As for details...

As dramatic as the other Florida team's change in 2011?

Well that's definitely dramatic for a '90s expansion team. But then again, if the Lightning can borrow heavily from the Red Wings and Maple Leafs uniforms, why can't the Panthers do it with the Blackhawks and Canadiens?

I think we'll all be eagerly awaiting that description!

Makes sense that it's already finished. Keep in mind the jersey and logo redesign process is a long one in the NHL — usually about two years.

Considering the source is something in the organization, that's sort of the expected assessment. I've got my fingers crossed though.

I'm not exactly sure what he means by that but I hope that's more wishful thinking than reality.

Richards is replying to a tweet asking why the team is doing this now when Adidas is soon to take over. But there are some things to keep in mind. Because the Reebok redesign of 2007 is less than a decade old and still fresh in our minds, I understand the knee jerk that this will be that all over again. That thinking is simply unfounded right now.

The NHL and its uniforms were in a much different place when Reebok entered the picture a decade ago. The league had just gotten over losing the entire 2004-05 season to a labor dispute and needed to take better control of its brands moving forward.

In 2007, the league took over jersey production, which was something previously handled by the teams individually. There's no tectonic shift like that happening with the move to Adidas.

Not to mention — Reebok is an Adidas brand. It's basically the same company. Adidas doesn't need to redesign the NHL uniform because they already own the existing design. Plus, the NHL and Adidas both said in September they are not about to make any sweeping changes

Will the Adidas hockey jersey evolve in the years to follow? Almost certainly. But don't expect the overnight overhaul we saw 2007 to repeat in 2017. It's just not needed right now.

My point is, whatever the Panthers do with Reebok in 2016-17 will likely fit nicely into whatever Adidas has planned for 2017-18. And by the way, this isn't unprecedented. The Ducks and Sabres both introduced new uniforms in 2006-07 — a year before Reebok's takeover. The designs were created with the Reebok Edge system in mind.

So that's my thing. I'm just as excited about new NHL sweaters as anyone else — and so I write this blog — but I don't want to leave you with unrealistic expectations of what's to come.

UPDATE · Jan 1 · About a week after his first report, Richards had more details to share.

The team will change their primary 'leaping cat' logo for the first time in franchise history and will have new logos. From what a player who saw the new jerseys said, this is a complete departure from everything the team has had in the past. 

"It's completely different,'' the un-named player said, adding that he really liked the new look.

The new Panther is said to look more natural, like the big cats who roam the Everglades. The Canadiens' style horizontal stripe across the jersey is what they're going with.

The biggest change in the color palette apparently is blue is being minimized, red is the signature color and the yellow gold is going to be a much deeper gold.

While Richards has not seen the new uniforms himself, he said he'd pass along better descriptions as soon as he does.