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Are Matte Helmets About to Become an NHL Trend?

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Interesting move yesterday by the Canucks, who announced that they’d be wearing matte-finish helmets with their popular “skate” throwbacks last night. Here are some additional photos of how that looked:

And here’s a comparison with the standard glossy helmet:

What do you think? I really like the matte version!

The Canucks are the second NHL team in the past three weeks to dabble with non-glossy headgear. On Oct. 30, the Coyotes began wearing a matte helmet with their alternate “Arizona” uniform:


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Obviously, two teams don’t constitute a full-blown trend, but they might be foreshadowing one, especially since the matte phenomenon spread fairly quickly once it was introduced in baseball and football. It’s not hard to imagine a similar round of bandwagon-hopping taking place in the NHL.

If that happens, would it be a good thing? I think it might be! Hockey helmets aren’t particularly attractive but they have lots of ridges and edges that cause glints and reflections. I say we’d be better off if these helmets didn’t call as much attention to themselves, so cutting down on the glossy factor might be a net positive.

Whatever you think of the matte finish, we can say this much: Hockey helmets don’t have a retail merch presence, so this move is strictly about aesthetics, not about the tail wagging the dog. Good!



Your Daily(ish) Dose of Kitten

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Can of the Day

Oh man, there is so much going on here! I particularly like “Safe Yet Amazingly Effective,” as if acknowledging that those two qualities rarely coexist. Also, don’t overlook what might be the world’s strangest Droste effect — a can on a can on the spokescharacter’s head:


Comments (46)

    It may be my poor eyesight, but it appears that with the Vancouver blacks, the glossy finish seems to be a closer color match to the jersey.

    I think I’m over matte helmets in all sports. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of it before there’s any regression in that trend.

    Likewise. Somewhere between chrome helmets and matte finishes is glossy, which is just fine. Cars and helmets alike.

    There may be some “in-betweens” of which I’m not aware, or different terms, but it seems to me there are 4-5 different degrees of sheen, in ascending order:

    matte (none)
    satin (some)
    semi [or low] gloss
    hi-gloss (most)

    I like them. There’s no particular reason for helmets to be glossy, and I suspect the reason they originally were involved a varnish that protected the graphics on the helmet.

    Glossy helmets are a vestigial tail.

    I love the matte finish but I’m wondering …

    “Hockey helmets don’t have a retail merch presence, so this move is strictly about aesthetics, not about the tail wagging the dog.”

    …if this isn’t somehow a way to show off the helmet ads more prominently.

    MLB helmets don’t have much of a retail presence either, so their adoption of matte was strictly aesthetics. It’s possible that this move is to enhance the ads, but I can’t imagine advertisers making that suggestion or even having a uni-trained eye that can pick up differences in finish. I think it’s a case of doing it “because they can.” And I like it!

    Hockey helmets have a huge merchandising market. Ask any kid who plays, or any parent who’s had to buy helmets every time their kid’s squash grows. Maybe not merchandising in the sense of novelty helmets like in baseball but still a market.

    Yeah, but they’re not sold as lifestyle merchandise by teams/leagues, like jerseys and caps. That’s what we’re referring to here.

    Matte hockey helmets look like bicycle helmets, I prefer glossy helmets. And I agree with Phil: it is there to show off the ads. Next stop: ads on NBA headbands?

    Just checked online: matte is the fashionable thing in bicycle helmets, especially the ATB types. That must have popped up when seeing the Canucks model. But I agree with Eddie: skateboard helmets may be more of a fitting compartson: mostly matte.

    A better comparison would be skateboarding helmets, my bike helmet is glossy as well, like Paul’s.

    I don’t care for matte helmets, and think the NHL is like 5 years late on the trend.

    Aha, here in the Netherlands it is 50/50 in helmet styles: expat bikers and seniors wear big glossy models, biking fanatics wear smaller matte ones like the pros. Most locals never wear one at all.

    And you are right, skateboard helmets is a better comparison. Without a visor, just like bike helmets.

    I was at the game at Rogers Arena last night. Really large look at it on the scoreboard. It is a change that looks strange and uncomfortable at first sight. It looks fine. Really not a big change from the glossy helmet.

    Notice that it has appeared just with alternate uniforms for the 2 teams that have it so far. I would imagine we will see more matte but could be possible it may be just with alternate uniform helmets to start.

    I would argue that both of these helmets, but the Coyotes especially, are more of a satin finish than a matte finish. Matte finish can get REALLY flat, these still have a bit of a sheen to them. I’m thinking specifically of the difference between like Utah’s football helmet compared with Iowa State’s matte from a few years ago. These look closer to the finish Utah has.

    My first thought: Should look good for old school brown with prehistoric throwbacks to simulate a leatherhead. The Toronto Maple Leafs go with green accessories for the St. Pats look but they did brown with Mats Sundin on the team and I’d want to see matte not glossy with those
    My second thought: Your turn Vegas! Matte graphite would look awesome!

    This is the first time I’ve heard the term “Droste effect”. I always called that sort of thing an “infinite regression”. Are these the same thing?

    Droste is from an old but cool Cocoa package…
    Wikipedia has a page on Mise en Abyme, the art technique used on the Droste label(no, I had not heard of either before I looked them up, but I guess that’s just a bonus of reading UniWatch)
    I have seen that an awful lot in comic books over the years though

    As a Dutchman my heart swells a little eacht time the term Droste effect is being used. Great can, by the way. From North Dakota, it says in very small print.

    I like the change from shiny to matte. Across all 3 sports recently. Helmets would look much better without the ads, let’s get back to just the team logo on the helmet.

    I don’t think it’s going to remain just 2 teams but I don’t think it’s going to be crazy either. While I don’t love them, I also don’t hate them. But I do like that it gives more variety. Glossy, matte, chrome instead of all glossy.

    More matte finish, please. It’s a good look in baseball and hockey. (Don’t love it in football, oddly.)

    The Canucks need to stop pussyfooting around it and just go back to this branding full on already. they’re doing what the Flames did a few years ago, the Flames eventually went all in on the old branding and it looks so much better than what they had. Vancouver needs to follow suit. So does Winnipeg btw, those “heritage jerseys,” need to go full time.

    I disagree with this as a Canucks fan. Those who forget history are bound to repeat it. We don’t need the Canucks throwing away the great original blue and green colour scheme again for this colour Black Skate colour scheme as primary. Been there, done that in 1978.

    This is part of the fun of being a Canucks fan with all the uniform changes but also part of the struggle with the different looks to choose from. It causes real tension within the fan base about what the primary look should be.

    I’m on team blue and green. I like Black Skate as an alternate. They just need to fix the blue and green uniforms into something magnificent and get rid of the Orca logo.

    In fact, it is a shame the navy with green trim Johnny Canucks Reverse Retros could not have stayed on as an alternate.

    One thing seems pretty certain in the Canucks fans’ struggle for which look the team should embrace. The navy with dark red, silver, and light blue is not on the radar for a return.


    Bring back the flying V and render it in blue and green.

    Something like this …


    or this …


    (Though I do reeeeeaaaaallllly like the StickinRink)

    That would have been a great option for Reverse Retro if that could have continued.

    Granted, I am a younger person (had to ask my mom to let me stay up past my bedtime to watch that 2011 cup finals), but I’ve always been more of a team Blue and Green person. I do agree that the Orca Logo needs to go, but we have the Johnny Canuck logo. USE IT. Honestly, I’d love a jersey set of the old stick-in-the-rink alt (the one with green sleeve stripes) and the Johnny Canuck logo on the front. When I was a kid playing NHL2k11, I couldn’t tell what the skate logo was supposed to be.
    Orca needs to go, but I don’t think that switching to Flames colors is the answer

    Does it reduce glare from the sun (in football and baseball) or stadium/arena lights? If so, then it might be a performance enhancer. As a batter, I’d think it might distract a pitcher, albeit just a little, if any, but seeing how it’s probably muscle memory anyway, pitchers wouldn’t be affected much. OTOH, affecting pitchers might not be a good idea since a batter might be accidentally beaned.

    I beg to differ with the notion that hockey helmets aren’t a retail product. I don’t know the number of youth hockey players in the US and Canada, but it’s a lot. And, they all need a new helmet every couple of years as they grow. I’m not saying this is the equipment manufacturers marketing a new style to youth players, but I’m also not willing to say it isn’t.

    I beg to differ with the notion that hockey helmets aren’t a retail product. I don’t know the number of youth hockey players in the US and Canada, but it’s a lot.

    My point is that teams/leagues don’t sell helmets the way they sell jerseys/caps/etc. Not part of the Big Uni industrial complex.

    Would you rather be described as someone who shines or someone who’s dull?

    Accordingly, I’d rather my helmet shines than is dull. Accordingly, gloss over matte.

    I hate matte helmets in all sports. Firstly the mattness washes out the colour so for example black helmets appear grey. Second any sort of nick or dink or scuff and the finish is ruined. You can’t clean or polish it out like a gloss helmet so as the season goes on they look worse and worse.

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