By Phil Hecken
Yesterday afternoon, as part of the festivities surrounding today’s Stadium Series outdoor game (at TCF Bank Stadium, in Minneapolis) between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks, fans were treated to an “Alumni Game” featuring former players from the Minnesota North Stars and Wild, and the Chicago Blackhawks. Even though the Minnesota North Stars franchise moved to Dallas following the 1993 season (has it really been over 20 years?), and the franchise that plays in Dallas bears no bloodline to the Minnesota Wild (who were founded in 1997, but didn’t begin play until 2000-01), the players making up the “Alumni” team were comprised of former players of both the Wild and the North Stars, and were wearing the uniforms of the North Stars (with a Wild patch on the shoulder).
This was a first for the NHL — and the old wounds from the North Stars departure to Dallas may not still be fresh, but they’re still there. But, just for one day, all that was forgotten. And in what was both a genius marketing move (the ability to showcase and sell more North Stars jerseys to legions of fans, both old and new) AND a treat for everyone, a uniform not worn on NHL ice for more than 20 years was again seen and enjoyed. First, lets take a look at some of the game shots (you can click any photos below to enlarge):
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the players seem to be smiling a lot, (they didn’t always get along in the old days), and everyone is wearing a helmet — I’m not 100% sure if all of those guys wore helmets when they played, but it’s possible some did not. You’ll also notice the Wild patch on the left shoulder of the North Stars jersey — somewhat visually jarring, but understandable, considering the circumstances. Finally, you’ll also notice the “old time” brown *leather* gloves. With a number of uniforms to choose from, the Wild/North Stars alumni wore the home uniform worn from 1981 through 1991. That style was worn longer than any other North Stars jersey, so it makes sense, although I had hoped they would have worn an earlier style that featured no black. But I won’t complain — what a joy it was to see those on the ice one more time! If you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback took a look at the North Stars logos & uniforms over the years — great read if you haven’t yet checked it out.
The players weren’t the only ones who got into the throwback spirit — the goalies did as well (by the way, how great is Gilles Meloche’s old school face mask?):
And of course, as we often see at these outdoor games, the coaches eschewed the traditional suits for team jackets (always a treat)! Also notice the fake snow, which also seems to be a feature of the outdoor games.
While I really enjoyed the outdoor games for the Winter Classic and Stadium Series that were played in baseball stadia, those sometimes proved not the best for fan viewing and sightlines. Games played in football stadia seem to be a much more logical (and better) fit, as is the case with Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. Sure, most of the seats are really far from the action, but the shape of a football stadium seems much more logical than shoehorning a rink into a baseball park. And there is nothing like seeing a game ourdoors as the sun sets:
In the end, the North Stars/Wild alumni beat the Blackhawks alumni 6-4, but I’m sure not many really cared about the score — it was a chance to see one of the NHL’s great uniforms worn on the ice, one more time. And,of course, there was an actual hockey game played, and it even featured former rivals Denis Savard and Dino Ciccarelli dropping the gloves and faux-fighting, to the delight of the crowd:
Clearly, the Wild are not the North Stars, but both franchises hail from Minnesota. The Dallas Stars, while the same franchise, clearly want nothing to do with their roots (and there are probably many a Minnesotan/St. Paulite who feel the same way). And, obviously the Wild franchise isn’t wearing North Stars uniforms (having alumni of both teams was a nice way around that). But…
…I’d love to know how you guys feel about this. We’ve discussed this a bit before (but not in some time) — should a franchise that still exists (and as far as I know, the Dallas Stars own all the records, colors, logos, etc. of the old North Stars) but which basically refuses to acknowledge its history in another city “relinquish” that history (or at least uniforms) to a team that now resides in that city? Or does that belong to the franchise? Some teams have at least acknowledged their former existence in another city (as the Rangers have done by throwing back to the Senators’ unis), even though there are probably few Texans who have any physical or emotional attachment to the Washington Senators. Not that the current Washington franchise or city has much attachment to them either, but should the Nationals be able to wear those unis (or really any unis from the former Nats/Senators — the original franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961, and were replaced with an expansion team that moved to Texas in 1971)?
There are plenty of examples, especially in hockey. Should the current Winnipeg Jets (born as the expansion Atlanta Thrashers) be able to sport the uniforms of the original Winnipeg Jets (now the Arizona Coyotes)? Do those colors and uniforms belong to the current franchise (legally, yes), or to the fans from the city that lost a franchise? Even if it were just for one game, if both teams were willing to play along, should those beautiful North Stars uniforms see another game in Minnesota (since they probably never will in Dallas)? I used to think, “No. The franchise belongs to its owners,” but after seeing those unis on the ice yesterday, I’d love to see them again. The fans clearly love them, and the NHL could certainly market the shit out of them (possibly even giving a percentage of sales to both clubs). It would be a win-win for all. But it would especially be a big win for uniform watchers, who got to see the North Stars go Wild, if just for one day.
What say you?
(Monster) Mash Ups
As is often the case on Twitter, a simple tweet can lead to a giant response (which isn’t necessarily a good thing), can lead us down a rabbit hole, or can simply aggregate a great amount of information in a relatively short period of time. Such is the case with this simple tweet…
— Nick Gratton (@thenickgratton) February 18, 2016
I retweeted that, as it looked to be one of those City/Team logo mashups (some of which we’ve featured on Uni Watch, and some with which I’m sure you’re all familiar). That unleashed a torrent of City/Team mashups into my thread — many of which I’d seen, but some I most certainly had not. More than one soul has actually tattooed these mashups onto his back (now that’s dedication…or insanity…or perhaps a bit of both). Anyway, I thought it might be cool to post (just some) of the mashups sent my way, in case you’re interested or haven’t seen. Enjoy.
— Rich DeGrave (@degraver36) February 18, 2016
— Roberto CastaÃ±eda (@rocastan) February 18, 2016
— Kyle (@TRKG12) February 18, 2016
— THOM D. (@THOMPUCKS) February 18, 2016
— Dan Kennedy (@kennedds) February 18, 2016
— Tim Sievers (@T_Sievers7) February 18, 2016
— sports expert (@dcsportsfan6) February 18, 2016
— Jon Klingel (@KlingJ_H2P) February 18, 2016
— Creth Davis (@crethdavis) February 18, 2016
— III (@JohnSerioIII) February 18, 2016
— Steve Kuilder (@SKuild53) February 18, 2016
— 69 Points (@PhilBeckons) February 18, 2016
— Ashly Elam (@AshlyKBMT12) February 18, 2016
— Jason Crigger (@PossumJ16) February 18, 2016
— Creth Davis (@crethdavis) February 18, 2016
— hoot (@__hoot) February 18, 2016
— Rory Roth (@RoryRoth) February 18, 2016
— Kev Jansma (@iarekevbot) February 18, 2016
— Joe Farris (@joedfarris) February 18, 2016
— Dahlelama (@dahlelama) February 18, 2016
— Anthony Tringali (@Anthsaveslatin) February 18, 2016
— David Collins (@David_G_Collins) February 18, 2016
— Footlong Zaun (@RNs_Funhouse) February 18, 2016
— Fletcher Keel (@FletchTopper) February 18, 2016
— Nick Shrader (@nshrader10) February 18, 2016
— O M âˆ† R (@tvvin) February 18, 2016
— 34inXXIII (@34inXXIII) February 18, 2016
— Savage Salgado (@alvarito3911) February 18, 2016
— D.J. Miller (@mrdj13) February 18, 2016
— Anthony Tringali (@Anthsaveslatin) February 18, 2016
There were actually a few more, but you get the idea. There were even a few clever folks who sent in the OKC Thunder logo. It took me a second to realize what they were doing.
Anyway — what do you guys think of these City/Team mashups? I think some of them are actually clever, but in general, I’m not a fan. I think they also work better if your city has at least three major teams. If I missed any, I apologize. But I think this was a more than representative sample of just how many of these mashups are out there. And to the guys who got them inked…well, I hope none of your teams ever moves. Well, I guess it’s better than getting one of these…
— Kevin Hynson (@KevHyns) October 28, 2015
Who’s the Pirate?
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Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: “I was just shopping on Fanatics and came across this cap,” writes Jeremy Edom. “Not sure if it’s part of an alternate or anything the Cubs may have upcoming, but it’s definitely a Cubs cap I’ve not seen before””at least not one that’s considered an on-field cap. Thought I’d pass it along!” … There is no bat contract for the University of Texas. “Usually whole team uses same brand of bat with contract with bat manufacturer,” adds submitter John Furstenthal. See here, and here, and also here. … Reader Andrew Cosentino ran across this ranking of every baseball uniform number. … This might just be the coolest thing you’ll see all day (from J. Daniel). Yes, an artist designed baseball bats that feature Jackie Robinson’s face on the top. … Henry Lansing asks, “when did the Orioles ever use the 1981 logo?” Here’s one answer. … We know that adidas college teams have been using “tequila sunrise” type jerseys for many of their schools, but now it looks like Northwestern, a UA school is going that route (h/t Mike Knapp). … Here’s a closeup of the new Mariners spring training jersey (kudos to Mike Dahlstrom). … Here’s an up close look at the new Pirates pillbox caps. They don’t look like true pillboxes to me. Disappointing. … Davidson and Buffalo played a black top vs. black top game yesterday (from Ethan Faust). … In yesterday’s “Colorize This!” Bruce Menard colorized a beautiful photo of Babe Ruth and Al Devormer. Baseball HOF Curator Tom Shieber provided this wonderful background as followup. … Here’s a look at the dark gray alternate road uniform for the Diamondbacks. It’s not as awful as the home primary with the bloody pant bottoms. … Here’s the sequel to OU and Northeastern’s epic stirrup battle Friday (h/t Trayton Miller). … New jerseys and stirrups for Troy Baseball (from Judson Ricks).
NFL/College/Football News: Just cuz: Here’s a picture of Franco Harris in a Seahawks uni (from Super 70s Sports), who adds, “Still feels weird that this actually happened.” … This is a photo of Penn State Dance Marathon families touring the football facilities. Submitter Chris Flinn adds, “I can’t even count all the Nike logos in this pic.” … Oooohhh, check out this old color pic of kids football with the chinstrap facepiece and one with clear plastic mask (from Larry Bodnovich, who adds, “I forget where I found this. Just a neat old color pic. Note the kid in orange with a plastic clear facemask.” … Also from Larry, check out this article on the Jack Trice 1920s era jersey, with a color study and good info about old b&w pics. … “Bizarre hat spotted in Pittsburgh,” tweeted Ajon Barksdale. “Steelers lost in the divisional round this season to Titans.”
Hockey News: The University of Oregon has a club hockey team. They happen to have pretty damn awesome unis (h/t NHL on NBC). … Oooohhh – check out these Cleveland Hockey History socks (from Jimmer Vilk). I’d wear those (not at $20 a pop, but I’d wear them). … The Charlotte Checkers did a pink-in-the-rink thingy, and went with pink breezers! … OK, I’m just gonna leave this here. … The Arizona hockey team wore their throwback peyote coyote unis last night. … Also last night, the Lake Erie Monsters become the Cleveland Barons (h/t HueGottaBelieve). Here’s a look at the sweaters up close. … Here is the mask that Devan Dubnyk will wear during today’s Stadium Series game between the Wild & Blackhawks. And here’s some video. And here’s some more on that.
NBA News: Thanks to the indispensable Conrad Burry we already knew this, but the Philadelphia 76ers will debut ‘hardwood classic’ alt unis in 2016-17. … Jae Crowder’s dad, Corey, used to play for the Jazz. So when Jae’s team, the Celtics, played in Utah on Friday, the Jazz gave Jae a pair of Corey’s game-worn LA Gear shoes (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … Tweeter Chaz Thomas asks, “Have the NBA refs been wearing these BHM (Black History Month) pullovers all month?” I don’t watch
any much NBA hoops, so I’m not sure — anyone know?
College Hoops News: Sir Charles Barkley’s birthday was yesterday, and one of the more interesting photos of him floating about the interwebs was this: War Damn Eagle (pic via Super 70s Sports). … Beautiful throwbacks worn by Western Kentucky University yesterday (via Josh Claywell). … Oops — wrong logo for St. Joseph’s yesterday — that’s the logo of the Johnnies (h/t #3BLESTG). … The Hokies went BFBS vs Florida State for their Blackout game today, with some pink in there too (from Andrew Cosentino). Here’s another shot. … The Tennessee Vols wore their smokey gray unis yesterday vs. Louisiana State University (from Chad Fields). … If you like to look at Notre Dame UA sneakers, then this link is for you. … “Marcus Lee of Kentucky has been wearing #00 since he arrived in 2013,” notes Brian Tracy. “However with this year’s special Hyper Elite Disruption alternate uniform they wore last weekend vs South Carolina, he switched to #0. I saw him do this and figured he had switched permanently, but when they played Tennessee he was wearing #00 again. Yet (yester)day, they wore the alternates and he’s back at #0.”
Soccer News: “I know shirt sponsorship isn’t a particularly palatable topic on Uni Watch, but Italian football (soccer) club Inter has just signed a 5-year deal to continue having Pirelli as their main kit (shirt) sponsor,” says Rich King. “Pirelli has been Inter’s shirt sponsor for 20 years and this contract will extend it to at least a quarter century, which is substantial. Deals of this length between a club and a company usually are based in ownership (PSV Eindhoven was once owned by shirt sponsor Philips, Wolfsburg are owned by shirt sponsor Volkswagen), however Inter and Pirelli are very much separate entities.” … The Brazil Men’s Football team stayed at a rural English hotel in preparation for the 1966 World Cup in London. Now there’s an exhibition about their time there (from Zac Neubauer). The article features Pele’s 1966 World Cup Warm up Kit and there is a bunch of uni-related stuff regarding Pele giving his to the hotel laundryman. … FC Cincinnati broke out the new white jerseys yesterday (via Nickzingis).
Grab Bag: Race car driver Danica Patrick has a new sponsor and new colors for the 2016 season (from Mike Chamernik). … “OSU men’s lacrosse has been using its Instagram account to highlight the entire game day kit this season most games,” says Kevin Mueller. “I think they did last year, as well. Interesting that it’s not just pads and uniform, but also their warmup/post game stuff too. You can’t see it in the photos, but the helmet stripes are similar to the football helmets, and are continued through the face mask. Note also the different sleeves (or lack thereof) for home and away.” … Is nothing sacred? ” I’m at a volleyball tournament for one of my daughters,” explains Joseph Bailey. “All of the nets in this complex have the Nike swoosh. I’ve never seen these before and it’s fu#king distracting.” … Yesterday’s ticker included an item mentioning Team Canada Curling would be outfitted by Goldline. Here’s the ladies Scottish Team, recently crowned champs, also wearing Goldline. … Here’s a look at the Michigan lacrosse unis worn yesterday vs. Penn State (from UMich Lax Managers).
And that will do it for today. Today’s my Mom’s 82nd birthday, so I’ll be off the boards and spending a good chunk of the afternoon with her — so you guys play nice. Enjoy the Stadium Series game between the Wild (wearing this special uni) and the Blackhawks (who’ll be in these) and anything else that’s on your agenda today. I’ll be back next weekend. Until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I know Kentucky isn’t exactly a football school (we haven’t had a winning season since 2009, but who’s counting) but they know how to look good while losing.”