Team USA surprises in Sochi with 1960 throwback jersey

The United States faced Slovenia today, but they weren't wearing either of the two jerseys that were unveiled in the fall. It was a pleasant surprise to see the USA donning a classic jersey — a throwback to what the 1960 gold medal team wore.

Normally I wouldn't be so slow to post news like this, but I wanted to enjoy the game unspoiled this morning. (Since I was sleeping at 4:30 AM, I relied on my TiVo.)

So I hadn't seen the tweet from USA Hockey teasing the jerseys hanging in the locker room. I found out on TV.

I think it's awesome that the U.S. played this one close to the vest. It was a very cool surprise this morning. What did you think of it?

AHL Penguins get nostalgic for a 1980 miracle jersey

The AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are paying tribute to the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team next weekend — by appropriating their jerseys.

It's Military Appreciation Night on Sun., Feb. 22 for the Baby Pens. So they'll be sporting the red, white and blue you see above. Note how they've cleverly replaced USA with their own initials. Genius.

Anyway, for those of you who'd been longing for an American throwback jersey in Sochi, hopefully this can hold you over. Of course die hards will scoff at the nameplate on the back of the jersey — which isn't blue as it should be.

Remind me to grab some photos after the game next weekend.

Olympic jersey night hits Everblades like a brick

Last weekend, the ECHL's Florida Everblades wore one of the year's ugliest minor league specialty jerseys. They were so ugly, in fact, that the players jettisoned them after only 20 minutes of action.

To be honest, the Blades' problems went deeper than jerseys. They were in the midst of a nasty rough patch, allowing 24 goals in five games.

But let's at least admit their marketing department isn't exactly helping them out. As the Everblades hit the ice last Friday (Feb. 7) against the Gwinnett Gladiators, the players wore specially-designed sweaters with a Winter Olympics theme.

Only they were "designed" by kids from a local hospital. And they were an absolute disaster — in terms of aesthetics. I think it's awesome to let sick kids help design a hockey jersey. But certainly a grown-up with taste could've come in somewhere along the way to guide the art direction a bit, no?

According to Craig Handel, Fort Myers News-Press, this happened last Friday:

The Everblades had planned to wear jerseys designed by kids at the Golisano Children’s Hospital, the uniforms feature the Everblades logo in a shiny gold—to represent the medals—over a blue background, with drawings by the children of Olympic events near the waist and flags of the world along the arms.

However, it lasted just one period. Players complained that they looked too much like Gwinnett’s road whites.

Now don't be misled. Gwinnett has great jerseys. When they say the jerseys looked too much alike, I can only assume they were talking about how much red and white were incorporated.

The Blades switched into their regular blue jerseys and had an amazing four-goal second period. Unfortunately, they blew it and ended up losing 6-5 in overtime. But at least they couldn't blame that on the jerseys.

To make matters worse, the rink had been "repainted" earlier that day as fans were invited to decorate the playing surface with all manner of graffiti — Paint the Ice Night. Be sure to flip through all the photos in that slideshow above — but be warned you may feel the urge to poke your eyes out after.

The following night, in a rematch with the Gladiators, only the Everblades' goalies wore those ridiculous jerseys and the team went on to a 3-0 shutout victory — proving that maybe the players were onto something after all.

AHL all-stars meet Swedish club amidst jersey medley

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.

Morning skate

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.