It's been more than three months since the last NHL JerseyWatch 2016 and there has been a ton of news covered in the meantime. Now that the draft is behind us, I'm gathering everything we know about the 2016-17 season right here. Enjoy!
World Cup of Hockey 2016
The NHL is organizing the first World Cup of Hockey since 2004. The tournament will take place in Toronto and run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, just before the start of the NHL's regular season.
In March, the jerseys for all eight teams were unveiled. But a problem was later discovered with one sweater. Apparently, the simplified coat of arms used on the Czech uniform violated a law governing usage of the design. So the crest was switched to the full coat of arms.
But there's bad news. Very bad news.
I think the point here is that when the ads start showing up on World Cup jerseys, we respond. Loudly. Folks, make your voices heard. We cannot have ads on NHL uniforms.
We just can't.
The Coyotes will wear a patch commemorating their 20th anniversary this season. It was unveiled during the draft on Friday and seen on jerseys handed out to draftees. The design has elements inspired by the club's history.
For the fourth consecutive season the Blackhawks will participate in an outdoor game. This time they're back in the marquee event, the 2017 NHL Winter Classic where they'll visit the Blues. It means there will be another new jerseys for the club this season. No word yet on what it might look like.
Detroit Red Wings
No new sweaters are expected in Detroit next season, but the Red Wings will be playing their final season at Joe Louis Arena. For that they'll wear a special commemorative shoulder patch, which was announced in Feburary.
The Wings will also take part in the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic on Jan. 1, which is likely to come with a new throwback uniform. Details to come.
Reebok's planning catalog for retailers indicated the Oilers will have a new third jersey next season. Most likely we'll see this year's orange throwback get a promotion. As a specialty sweater, it can only be worn for a handful of games in a season. As a third jersey, it can used up to 15 times.
In addition, there could be another throwback sweater in the works as the Oilers are slated to participate in the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic this October in Winnipeg.
If that wasn't enough, Edmonton is also celebrating the opening of their new arena, Rogers Place. A commemorative jersey patch, seen at the draft, will be worn on their sweaters.
In early June, the Panthers unveiled their long-awaited new logos and uniforms. The logo redesign introduced a more realistic and streamlined cat while the uniforms featured elements inspired by military insignia and Florida's state flag.
Speaking of which, I recently spoke with John Viola, who was instrumental in creating the Panthers' new visual identity. The interview was eye-opening in terms of the team's thought process and I'll be sharing it on the blog very soon.
On June 22, the NHL took the major step of announcing its first expansion since the 2000-01 season. Las Vegas will join the league for the 2017-18 season. Currently, the new franchise does not have a name or logo but owner Bill Foley has said he is working with the league to determine that.
Foley, a West Point graduate, is partial to the name Black Knights and a black and gold color scheme, but says he would like feedback from the league to come up with the best identity for the club. The name, logo and possibly Adidas-designed uniforms are expected to be unveiled before the start of the 2016-17 season, according to Foley.
In April, he stated on Twitter that the team's colors will be black, gold and grey.
Los Angeles Kings
In February, the Kings were one of four teams to reveal their 50th anniversary logo. It introduces a new metallic gold into the team's color palette. The commemorative patch will be worn on the right shoulder, as seen at the draft.
In addition to that, Reebok has the Kings down for a "special edition" jersey in 2016-17. Last November, Kings blog Mayor's Manor reported the team has a grey sweater in the works. There are mock-ups by Justin Cox on their website.
The Kings currently wear a gold retro jersey for their Legends Night games — there are usually three or four per season. They previously used a purple (or Forum blue) version. It sounds like the new design is expected to be something entirely new.
New York Rangers
It seems the Rangers will have a special logo to mark their 90th anniversary in the NHL and it might have been accidentally leaked by the team's own designers.
In May, a video animation showing a 3D version of the logo appeared on the Vimeo account for GardenVision, which is the name of the video displays used at Madison Square Garden. The video was quickly deleted once it started getting tweeted, but I did manage to grab a screenshot first.
This is the year for anniversary logos and the Senators provide us with another one. They're marking 25 years in existence and, mercifully, they've revised logo. The original design was revealed last summer with some pretty horrific chrome-like gradients. Wisely, those have been removed.
This season is also coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Canada and plenty of celebrations are being planned in Ottawa. There are significant anniversaries all converging in 2017, so I have to think logos and jerseys will be created to commemorate that.
The team already wears a throwback third jersey to honor their city's hockey heritage, so maybe a throwback to the early '90s could be on the way? Just wishful thinking.
Another team marking a half-century in the NHL is the Flyers. But so far, they're the only ones to give us a sneak peek at the specialty jersey they have planned. Given the fact that they're currently wearing their original sweater designs and their logo hasn't changed in 50 years, you have to wonder what sort of throwback they might be considering.
The white sweater from the '80s and '90s could line up with what we see in the teaser photo above. But another image released by the team shows a bit of white in a place on the sleeve where there wouldn't be. So maybe it's an entirely new design.
When will we get to see it? According to the team's website: "The Flyers will officially unveil their 50th anniversary jerseys prior to the start of the full team’s training camp in September. The exact date will be announced in the future."
There could be a fourth jersey in the works as the Flyers are set to take on the Penguins in the 2017 NHL Stadium Series at Heinz Field in February.
Penguins fans must be absolutely beside themselves this summer. Not only are they coming off an incredible Stanley Cup championship that forced a change to their previously revealed 50th anniversary logo, but now they're getting the full-time retro jerseys they've been begging for.
The Pens unveiled their new white road jersey just prior to the draft on June 24 and made the official announcement that the black throwback jersey is now their full-time home sweater. It's a good time to be a Pittsburgh fan, isn't it?
The 50th anniversary logo originally featured three Stanley Cups — 1991, 1992 and 2009 — but a fourth one had to be added earlier this month. It's possible the redesign kept patches from being ready for the jerseys present at the draft.
Each of the other three 50th anniversary teams have specialty jerseys in the works, but I'm not clear about Pittsburgh. That said, they are playing the 2017 NHL Stadium Series so we'll probably get at least one new sweater from them for that event.
St. Louis Blues
Like most of their fellow 50-year franchises, the Blues will have a new jersey to mark the occasion. Reebok indicates the alternate sweater could be replaced.
That navy blue third jersey is outstanding. To see it replaced would be a gut punch as far as I'm concerned — and I'm not even a Blues fan. But I could understand if we're talking about a true throwback taking its place. When the Blues redesigned their home and road uniforms last season, they were definitely inspired by the past, but those are still new designs.
This team has some great design options to consider if they really want to dig into their history. And given the milestone they're reaching, next season would be an appropriate time.
As for their 50th anniversary patch, it was seen on the right shoulder of Blues jerseys at the draft. But unlike the print version in regular team colors, the patch features a metallic gold.
Toronto Maple Leafs
After revealing their new primary logo in Februrary, the Maple Leafs kicked off the draft by debuting their new uniforms. The announcement was somewhat subdued by the leak a day earlier via the team's own mobile app.
The new sweaters borrow inspiration from throughout franchise history, including a very simplistic striping pattern that even extends to the socks. The casual fan, however, will be hard-pressed to notice the differences between the old jerseys and the new ones.
Considering this season will mark the Leafs' 100th anniversary, I'd expect to see a commemorative logo at some point before the fall. But nothing was on display at the draft.
And that's not all. Reebok lists a "special edition" jersey using the code "TSP" — possibly referring to the Toronto St. Pats, the name the franchise used from 1919 to 1927. Howard Berger reported last summer that the Leafs may mimic the Canadiens by wearing as many as five different throwback jerseys over the course of their centennial season.
At this point there are no details on designs, but there's a lot in the Leafs' arsenal, including their inaugural jersey from 1917 when they were known as the Toronto Arenas. There's also plenty of worthy speculation in Berger's article.
Could this finally be the year the Jets get a third jersey? No. However, they are hosting the NHL Heritage Classic for the first time in October. That usually means a throwback jerseys is on the way. Will they do like other teams and make it a third after this season? We'll see.
2016 NHL Heritage Classic
The first of this season's outdoor games will be the NHL Heritage Classic on Oct. 23 — the earliest one yet — at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The big game will see the Jets will hosting the Oilers.
Uniforms for the game are still in the works but Jets chairman Mark Chipman addressed the topic in a video tweeted by the team, saying the game "will probably see the Jets and the Oilers in the original jerseys or close to those original jerseys that they entered the WHA together in.
"Nothing out of the ordinary," Chipman said. "Nothing new created. It'll be something from the history of both these teams that they'll be wearing that weekend."
This is a bit of a departure from previous Heritage Classics. In 2011 and 2014, the Flames, Canucks and Senators each pulled from their city's long hockey history for sweaters, as opposed to something from their own club history.
2017 NHL Winter Classic
The Blues will host the Blackhawks in the next NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium, home of the MLB's St. Louis Cardinals.
The game will take place on Jan. 2 so as not to compete with the final day of the NFL season — and for another reason you'll read about in a moment.
While it will be the Blues' first opportunity to play outdoors, this will mark the fourth straight year in which the Blackhawks get to play outside and fifth time overall — 2009 Winter Classic, 2014 Stadium Series, 2015 Winter Classic, 2016 Stadium Series, and now 2017 Winter Classic. It's ridiculous.
Neither logos nor uniforms for the game have been revealed yet.
2017 NHL Stadium Series
The last outdoor game on the regular season calendar will see the Penguins and Flyers meet during their 50th anniversaries for the NHL Stadium Series on Feb. 25 at Heinz Field. This will be the second outdoor game staged at the home field of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, which had the 2011 Winter Classic between the Pens and Capitals.
By the way, the date was changed from Feb. 18, hence the incorrect graphic above.
No word on whether any other Stadium Series games are possible — though you probably know by now how much I want one at Tropicana Field (a.k.a. the ThunderDome) in 2017-18 between the Lightning and the Panthers.
NHL Centennial Classic
In addition to everything else, the NHL has added a fourth outdoor event by establishing the NHL Centennial Classic. It will be part of a series of 100th anniversary events happening in 2017.
The game will be played on Jan. 1 at BMO Field where the Maple Leafs will host the Red Wings — in an apparent rematch of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic that drew a record crowd in Ann Arbor. By the way, Michigan Stadium had a capacity in excess of 100,000 people. BMO Field maxes out at about a third of that. So it'll be much cozier.
No logo has been revealed yet but a line in the press release may hint at possible sweaters.
These organizations first played each other on Jan. 4, 1927, when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars, 2-1, in a game near Detroit.
From Reebok's catalog, we already know a St. Pats throwback jersey is in the works. The Red Wings wore a Cougars design for the 2009 Winter Classic in Chicago. They could bring those back or something else from those early years.
As far as whether the Centennial Classic has legs beyond 2017, keep in mind "centennial" doesn't necessarily have to refer to the NHL. The Bruins mark 100 years in 2024 and the Rangers, Red Wings and Blackhawks join them two years later. There's plenty of opportunity in the next decade for more Centennial Classics.
2017 NHL ALL-STAR WEEKEND
In January, Los Angeles was named host of the next All-Star Weekend in 2016-17. The Kings last hosted in 2002. The logo should be revealed by the fall, but there's nothing to see just yet.
2017 NHL Draft
Chicago was awarded the 2017 NHL Draft a few months ago. A full logo has yet to be released, but the NHL has shown the basic version that reaffirms the host city.
This edition of the NHL JerseyWatch really only applies to the 2016-17 season, but there are a few things worth mentioning in regard to 2017-18.
- The NHL will celebrate its centennial beginning in the fall of 2017 so it might be a while before we start seeing an NHL Centennial logo.
- The 2017-18 season will see the launch of the highly anticipated Adidas jerseys, which will replace the Reebok Edge uniforms. I hear some teams have already started looking at prototype jerseys from Adidas. Decisions will need to be made soon.
- Changes should be minimal for most teams since Adidas owns Reebok. But a few clubs could use a serious upgrade — the Senators and Avalanche especially. And I get the sense the Avs are already starting to move in that direction given the changes they made last year.
- While we're talking wish lists, the Blue Jackets and Canucks could use some work. And I know a lot of fans want to see the Flames just go full retro. It might be too long to wait, but the franchise turns 50 in 2022. And can we get the Jets a third already?
- In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning each wore 20th anniversary patches. I'd expect them to celebrate 25 next year along with some throwback jerseys for good measure.
- There are also a couple of 20th anniversaries coming up for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2017 and the Nashville Predators in 2018. Both celebrated the 10-year mark in 2007-08.
- Then of course there's Las Vegas. We should see what they have planned within the next several months, but it all becomes very real in 2017-18.
- I'm keeping my fingers crossed Seattle can get its act together by 2018-19.
And that's what I know right now. What are you most excited about for next season?