It's been a few months since the early kickoff of the 2016 NHL JerseyWatch so let's take some time to catch up on all the changes coming next season!
The headline of the 2016-17 NHL season will probably be the league's 100th anniversary. They officially hit the century mark in November 2017, but the celebrations will likely span the next two seasons — not unlike Montreal's centennial.
The NHL likely has a 100th anniversary logo in the works. Perhaps we'll get our first look at it in Buffalo during the draft in June. Until then, we wait.
World Cup of Hockey 2016
One thing we no longer have to wait for is the World Cup of Hockey. Last week the league unveiled the event's logo as well as the sweaters and logos for all eight teams.
The tournament will take place in Toronto and runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.
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. And for that a commemorative shoulder patch is in order.
Usually any details available this early in the year come from Reebok's planning catalog sent to retailers. It indicates the Oilers will have a new third jersey next season. Most likely we'll see this year's orange throwback get an upgrade.
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. And the design has been wildly popular in Edmonton. I can't imagine the Oilers going in any other direction if a new third is indeed coming next year.
On top of that the Oilers are likely to have another throwback in the works as they participate in the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic this October in Winnipeg.
One of the biggest changes coming next season will be to the Florida Panthers identity. The team will introduce new logos and uniforms for 2016-17.
Miami Herald reporter George Richards has been the source of most of what we know about the new look at this point. He began tweeting on the subject in December and went into great detail in a series of tweets in early January.
Beyond that, here are some of the highlights from his coverage:
- New logo is very aggressive looking, more natural "Florida Panther" — red eyes, bared teeth make it look mean.
- Not a "flat" panther head; seems to turn out of shield and remain 3D like current leaping cat.
- Horizontal stripe on sweaters; red/white/gold with blue pants. Airborne shield with panther head coming out, teeth bared.
- New secondary logo has a Florida feel. Hockey stick/palm tree out, at least for now. Stylized version of Florida state flag; doesn't include full seal in the center.
- Jerseys are very modern yet traditional. There are [collar] laces; no waist stripes. Lot of thought/detail went into the design.
- Home jersey: Red with big white stripe outlined in gold. "Panthers" on crest. Numbers white with blue or gold outline.
- Road jersey: White with big red stripe outlined in gold. "Florida" on crest. Numbers blue.
- Third jersey: Possible return of original 1993 design.
- No blue on jerseys outside of numbers and crest. Blue pants; probably blue gloves and helmets.
- New type for Panthers wordmarks, including crests.
- Expects unveiling at the draft in June; on sale at the draft party.
Los Angeles Kings
Last month the Kings were one of four teams to reveal their 50th anniversary logo. In addition to that, Reebok has them down for a "special edition" jersey in 2016-17 — meaning another throwback is likely in the works.
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. Perhaps it's as simple as seeing that one make a comeback.
It could also be a new retro design, like something from the 1980s just before the Gretzky era of silver and black. Then again it could be those Gretzky jerseys. The Kings don't have a ton of sweater design options in their history. They've been fairly consistent over the years. But there's enough there to get something new for a "special edition" jersey.
The Senators scared the Internet with this monstrosity of a logo last July. They shared it in that one tweet and I can't recall seeing it again since — so maybe they're coming to their senses.
Point is, the Sens seem to be preparing for their 25th anniversary season next year. As it happens, 2017 is also the 100th anniversary of the original Ottawa Senators club, a founding member of the NHL in 1917. They left Ottawa in 1931 and eventually the franchise folded.
By the way, this is also coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the city of Ottawa. There are lots of significant anniversaries all converging in 2017, so I have to think logos and jerseys will be created to commemorate that.
The team is already wearing 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.
The Flyers are one of four teams commemorating a half-century in the NHL. Their 50th anniversary logo was unveiled last month — as was a sneak peak at a new sweater!
Our previous report of a specialty jersey for 2016-17 was confirmed with the teaser photo released by the team. The photo tells us a few things: 1) the jersey is orange; the collar is black, 2) there's no shoulder yoke, and 3) it has the anniversary shoulder patch. Not much to go on.
It'll be interesting to see what this jersey will look like since the Flyers are the only one of the 50-year teams currently wearing their original 1967 design.
The other Pennsylvania club is also turning 50 next season. And they'll do it not just with a this Stanley Cup-laden anniversary logo, but with new home and road sweaters!
While nothing is official yet, I've heard from multiple sources that the retro colors are indeed coming back full time. The Penguins reintroduced the classic gold with a new third jersey in 2014. That may well be the new home sweater next season and it's likely to be joined by a new white road version. Wouldn't that be a gift for Pens fans?
And that's not all for the Keystone State teams. Scroll down to the Stadium Series section of this post for more details on the possible outdoor meeting.
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 may 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.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Possibly the most anticipated change of 2016-17 is redesign coming to Toronto. But Leafs put some of the speculation to rest with the early unveiling of their new logo last month. The jerseys, however, will have to wait — probably until the draft.
And that's not all. Reebok lists a "special edition" jersey under the code "TSP" — likely referring to the Toronto St. Pats, the name the team used from 1919 to 1927. In addition, Howard Berger reported last summer that the Leafs will 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 post.
2017 NHL All-Star Game
One thing that won't be happening in Toronto next season is the 2017 NHL All-Star Game, which was awarded to the Los Angeles Kings. They last hosted in 2002.
The logo package is likely in development right now, so there's nothing to see just yet. But for what it's worth, the last All-Star logo was revealed in May. So we may not have more than a couple of months to wait.
2016 NHL Heritage Classic
Making good on a promise, the NHL announced this week the next Heritage Classic will take place in Winnipeg on Oct. 23. The Jets will host the Edmonton Oilers at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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
In a series of outdoor game announcements, the NHL also revealed the opponents and location of the next Winter Classic. The St. Louis Blues will host the Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium, home of the MLB's Cardinals.
The game will take place on Jan. 2 so as not to compete with the final day of the NFL season on Jan. 1 — 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 consecutive season in which the Blackhawks play an outdoor game and fifth time overall — 2009 Winter Classic, 2014 Stadium Series, 2015 Winter Classic, 2016 Stadium Series, and now 2017 Winter Classic. It's just ridiculous. Honestly.
2017 NHL Stadium Series
The league also confirmed an earlier report that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet for the NHL Stadium Series on Feb. 18 at Heinz Field. This will be the second outdoor game staged at the home field of the NFL's Steelers, which had the 2011 Winter Classic between the Penguins and Capitals.
No word on whether any other Stadium Series games are possible — though everyone probably knows by now how hard I'm pushing for one in Tampa at Tropicana Field (a.k.a. the ThunderDome) in 2017-18 between the Lightning and the Panthers.
2017 NHL Centennial Classic
In addition to everything else, the NHL is adding a fourth outdoor event to their arsenal by establishing the NHL Centennial Classic. It will be part of a series of 100th anniversary events being hosted by the league during 2017.
The game will be played on Jan. 1 at BMO Field where the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Detroit 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.
It's also possible a second one could be held during the 2017-18 season, the NHL's true 100th season. But I wouldn't bet on that one.
2016 NHL Draft
So that brings us to the draft, which is in Buffalo this year. Every year as we glimpse the future of the NHL, we're often treated to the future of NHL uniforms. It's likely the Panthers and Maple Leafs will have their new sweaters on hand for their new draftees, but official unveilings could happen even sooner.
Perhaps the 50th anniversary specialty jerseys coming to Philadelphia, Los Angeles and St. Louis will be available as well. Mark your calendar for Fri., June 24.
And by the way, Chicago was recently named host of the 2017 NHL Draft. While a full logo has not yet been released, the league did show off a basic version.
2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs
But before we get to any of that, there's the little matter of the rest of the 2015-16 regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. You'll be seeing a lot more of this logo about a month from now.
That wraps up this edition of the NHL JerseyWatch. What do you think?