By Phil Hecken
While many of us are focused on the big NCAA Football rivalry games today (and yesterday as well), the New York Rangers officially unveiled their 2018 Winter Classic uniform on Friday, just in time for our holiday shopping. Let’s take a look-see:
OK, it’s blue (“Blueshirts” — check), it’s got RANGERS written in diagonal across the front (check), it’s got red and white striping and piping (check and check). But what’s with the solid white, block lettering? That’s not quite the Rangers sweater we know and love, is it? No.
At first glance, I thought this was some kind of a joke — that jersey looks like one you’d find in the Sears catalog in the 1970s or something. But I knew it was real and, not being the hockey historian many of you are, I figured there was another reason. Turns out, this sweater is actually a fauxback to the 1926-27 season. Our pal Chris Creamer already whipped out the comparison:
As you can see from Chris’ dating, the photo on the left is from 1926, and the uniform pictured on the right will be worn in 2018. I’m not real good with math, but that’s like a 92-year gap. Not an anniversary or anything. Hmmm. Well, it just so happens the Rangers first season in the NHL was 1926-27, so this is the look they’re seeking to replicate. Of course, back then, the sweaters were actual sweaters, and they wore tan breezers with that getup. So, the uniform they’ll be sporting for the Winter Classic (taking place on January 1, 2018, in
Citi Field I’m Calling It Shea, Queens), is fauxing back to their original season in the National Hockey League.
If we compare the original to the WC jersey, you can see it’s not a bad approximation:
The blue appears to be quite a bit lighter in the ’26 version, and there is an extra layer of blue beneath the white/red/white stripe on the hem. The new version also has a white/red/white thin stripe across the collar/shoulders, which wasn’t on the 1926 version. Obviously, the pants on the modern look are red, not tan, and there are some additional accoutrements (patches, logos, etc.) on the WC jersey. It looks like they pretty well approximated the white collar. Not bad!
The front of the jersey contains a patch with the letters “NY” as well as an NHL logo just below the collar. The NY appears to be chain-stitched:
For captains and assistant captains, the “NY” switches to a “C” or “A” respectively. The right shoulder also contains the Winter Classic logo patch:
Of course, the cynic in me couldn’t help but notice that the non fauxback white/red/white stripe on the shoulders also appears on the back of the uniform. It makes a very convenient place to house the adidas logo. I’m sure this was completely unintentional:
The NY patch on the jersey also appears on the lower right side of the shorts:
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 24, 2017
Gotta say, after initially not liking this uni, it’s already beginning to grow on me. Interestingly enough, the Rangers, despite wearing blue, are the designated away team (odd with the game being played in Queens, too). That means the Buffalo Sabres, the Rangers’ opponent, will be wearing white at home, as God intended.
The Sabres actually unveiled their uniforms a couple days ago (and they’re drop dead gorgeous) — but since we were in the middle of Thanksgiving week, you may not have seen them. Feast your eyes:
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 22, 2017
Here are some stills. This one is a home run — they really knocked it out of the park. Hey, it’s an outdoor game in a baseball stadium, I need some diamond metaphors.
It’s hard to believe this is actually the 10th Anniversary of the Winter Classic Game — the 2008 game also featured the Sabres, playing in outdoors in Buffalo against the powder blue clad Penguins, in the snow. That was a huge success (and the teams, conditions and uniforms certainly helped) they’ve kept it up for 10 seasons. I’m not a huge fan of the extra “Stadium Series” outdoor games the NHL has added (though I like the “Heritage Classic” played between Canadian teams in Canada), but the Winter Classic has always been a nice addition to a New Year’s Day dominated by football.
I’m looking forward to this one. Readers, what say you?
And the XFL Contest Winner Is…
… Ben Polizzi
The voting ended earlier in the week and Ben’s design won by a pretty good margin:
Ben described his submission like so:
These Chicago Enforcer threads pay homage to Chi-town Police and Swat. A bulletproof vest with updated Chicago Police Department badge and modified name/number, Sillitoe Tartan on the front/left shoulder [gold/black pattern for team captains (sheriffs) and white/black for all other players]. The sleeves mimic the actual CPD uniform with the Chicago flag on the right and Enforcer-style patch on the left. The inside of the collar reads “We Serve and Protect”. Why Urlacher? Because no one else looks more like a cop. Just because: Riot helmet + light blue combat pants [with holster and baton stripes]. Hope you dig!
Well done, and congratulations to Ben. I’ve already informed Steve Rosenbeck of Garb Athletics that Ben’s design has won the contest — so Ben, if you haven’t already heard from Steve, please let me know and I’ll be sure you two touch base to design the custom jersey based on your design!
Thanks to all who participated, congrats (again) to Ben, and thanks again to Steve for providing a neat prize for the winner.
If anyone has thoughts or suggestions for the next jersey design contest, please post them in the comments below! We’re always up for new and innovative design contests.
And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, we have a new limited-edition shirt, designed by Bryan Molloy, available only through next Monday. It’s a doozy of a package, with front and back designs, a custom hangtag, a sticker, a custom mailer, and, for the first 40 orders, a magnet. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
Also: In case you missed it during the Thanksgiving shuffle, my latest ESPN column tells the lost story of how the Vikings’ original uniforms were created. Check it out here.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: You guys are (no doubt) aware the great Todd Radom is a logo designer, but he’s also quite the talented graphic artist as well. … When you think of Ron Santo, you undoubtedly think “Chicago,” but you don’t usually picture him as a member of the White Sox (from @OldTimeHardball). … Talk about throwbacks: here’s a Christmas ornament from the 1993 World Series featuring the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies (from James Gilbert). … Here’s an absolutely gorgeous photo of the 1964 New York Yankees Joe Pepitone and Kansas City Athletics Jim Gentile (from @OldTimeHardball). Wowsa!
NFL/CFL News: Paul had highlights of the Thanksgiving color on color matchup between the Chargers and Cowboys yesterday. Our pal Bill Schaefer from the Gridiron Uniform Database notes the last time 2 teams wore blue jerseys in the same NFL game was 12/16/56 Detroit at Chicago. … During the Thanksgiving game, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott sported some fancy custom cleats. … Tweeter Funhouse observes, “You guys had a column in January about holders without facemasks. Here’s a good screenshot I took of Wayne Rasmussen, from a 1969 game vs. the Rams. Everyone else had a facemask.” … The Chicago Bears will wear white jerseys and navy pants this week. … Jets guard Brian Winters was missing his nameplate at a Thanksgiving charity event (from Kenny Saidah). … The Cleveland Browns will be wearing orange/white/white/orange Sunday versus the Bengals (from Robert Hayes). … “Interesting fashion choice for an athlete while accepting a sports award. Very much a Calgary-style fashion statement representative of the Stampede City,” says Wade Heidt. “Stampeders’ linebacker Alex Singleton accepts the CFL’s 2017 Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award while wearing a cowboy hat on Thursday night.” … CROSSOVER ALERT (Also posted in Hockey): Also from Wade, the Calgary Stampeders logo replaces the Hitmen logo on the helmet to help support the Stampeders in their attempt to hoist the Grey Cup this Sunday. … Nice article here from the New York Times on how the CFL has taken a number of steps to reduce hits and concussions, in contrast to the NFL (from Tommy Turner). … The Cincy Bengals will wear orange jerseys and black pants Sunday against Cleveland (interesting way to announce the uni combo).
College/High School Football News: In their rivalry game with NC State today, North Carolina will go blue/white/blue. … Further south, SCar will be going black/garnet/garnet. … The Washington Huskies will wear helmet stickers during Apple Cup to promote safety in football campaign. Here’s what their opponents, Washington State, will wear. … Here’s the West Virginia combo for today at Oklahoma. … Wisconsin will wear lumberjack plaid-themed accoutrements for their game against Minnesota. … Notre Dame’s storied football program announced this week that the Fighting Irish would be the first team to outfit the majority of its roster with the new VICIS Zero1 helmet. … Here’s a look at Vanderbilt’s uniforms versus Tennessee. … Here’s Colorado’s uniforms vs. Utah. … UCF wore helmets that featured personalized UCF logo decals that were unique on each player’s helmet. A photo of each of the players was featured on their respective helmets, shimmering within UCF’s main logo. … It appears Navy will be wearing Blue Angels-themed uniforms when they play Army on December 9 (from Jake Russell). … Here are two interesting high school uniform notes from two different states: (1) Blue Valley North (Overland Park, KS) places its “TV numbers” directly onto the Northwestern stripe on the sleeves instead of the shoulder pads; (2) In a November 10 playoff game in Louisiana, Catholic (Baton Rouge) wore white at home vs. Archbishop Shaw (Marrero), a violation of National Federation of State High School Associations rules, which require the home team to wear dark jerseys. According to submitter David Steinle, “Massachusetts and Texas play under NCAA rules, so the jersey choice rules apply there, and the home team can wear white. Until 1980, the home team in Louisiana usually wore white due to the intense heat; the home team could wear its dark jersey if it so desired.” … At one time the Iron Bowl was color vs. color. That was 1961. According to Thom Abraham, “Was a bitch on TV!” — Check that, “Auburn and Alabama have swapped home and away designations for decades in the Iron Bowl. Each team has worn their corresponding home color and road white uniforms in every game since 1964,” says Clint Richardson. He adds, “The last time Auburn and Alabama was a color-on-color game? November 30, 1963. Auburn won 10-8.” He continues, “The Iron Bowl was a navy vs crimson affair 8 times over a 13 year span from 1950 to 1963. Auburn and Alabama split the games, each team winning 4 of those. Auburn won the final color-on-color Iron Bowl in 1963, 10-8.” … Here’s the outfit Maryland will wear today against Penn State.
Hockey News: Tweeter Dennis W. Alpert has some strong opinions on the Bruins change from gold to black socks. I have to say I agree with that sentiment. … CROSSOVER ALERT (Also posted in NFL/CFL): From Wade Heidt, the Calgary Stampeders logo replaces the Hitmen logo on the helmet to help support the Stampeders in their attempt to hoist the Grey Cup this Sunday. Here is a photo of the Hitmen in action on Wednesday against Portland with the logo on the helmet. … Pretty cool looking goalie masks for the Alaska Nanooks here, here and here (from Joshua Dryer). … The Dallas Stars all wore Jere Lehtinen jerseys in warm-ups. Here’s another look. … A pair of Columbus Blue Jackets took NCAA Football rivalries up a notch: Michigan (Werenski) and Ohio State (Anderson) represented in post-game fashion (from Kevin Pedigo).
NBA News: Today the Golden State Warriors will break out their alternate uniform that is a tribute to Oakland (the Town). … Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, the Lakers have worn their gold uniforms 11 times in their first 19 games, including in five of their eight road games. Fear not purple-uni lovers, they’ll be breaking out the purple Monday against the Clippers (and will wear it a bunch of times this season). … The Utah Jazz will wear their gold alternate uniforms today (from Landry Heaton). … The Cleveland Cavaliers broke out their black alternate jerseys last evening (from @willchitty4), and LeBron James said black uniforms will be staple of Cavs ‘forever’ (which will make Jimmer Vilk very happy). Here’s another look at the new alternate. … Also breaking out new black uniforms last evening were the Boston Celtics (from Ryan Mahan). Yeah, these are not good. … These were just several
Statement alternate jerseys to make their debuts last night. This reply kinda sums up a lot of our feelings about the OKC alternates. … The Pacers broke out their gold uniforms last night. … Speaking of black alternates, the Lakers will debut these “Black Mamba” uniforms in early January (credit to Conrad Burry). … Here’s more on those teams who broke out their alternates last night.
Soccer News: PUMA have unveiled a range of new international kits, including Uruguay and African giants Ghana and Ivory Coast, among others. … Players in the Premier League will wear the rainbow laces for matches over the next 10 days as part of the now annual Stonewall-backed Rainbow Laces campaign (from George Chilvers). … Nike And Adidas will make 22 World Cup uniforms — but can you guess the other seven companies?
Grab Bag: World Rugby team Wales Sevens have launched a new kit.
… In College Hoops, Oregon and DePaul played a game where team name, player names and numbers were all virtually illegible (from Rex Henry).