What’s in a Third Jersey? – Part One

ARTHUR:

Anaheim calling to the hockey world...

We continue our offseason writer tryouts with Robby (aka PhantomPretender). He's a relatively new hockey fan, with his first game being the OT win against the Flames in February of last year. He works as a web writer/editor in Beaumont, making his commute to and from games during the season almost as long as the games themselves. For now, he is really interested in covering some of the off-ice storylines in the Ducks' organization. In this post, he wades into the murky waters that are the NHL third jersey. Show him some love and throw him some feedback.

ROBBY:

As reader Bleys pointed out a few weeks ago, word on the street is that Reebok has confirmed that they’re in the process of creating a third jersey for the Anaheim Ducks for the 2010-2011 season. According to the information at Icethetics, this new jersey will be an alternate and the home and road jerseys will remain unchanged.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a rumored Ducks third jersey. Icethetics has a great post from last year chronicling a post on the Ducks Blog (from Adam Brady) about past third jerseys and the possibility that Anaheim would soon get one, and on-air personalities John Ahlers and Brian Hayward discussed a finished third jersey product last season. For comparison’s sake, here’s an image from Wikipedia showing the third jerseys Anahiem has used over the years:

-From Wikipedia

Who could ever forget the Wild Wing abomination?

In the first part of this series, I wanted to examine trends around the league regarding third jerseys and find out what you think Anaheim will do with theirs.

If you look at third jerseys around the league, you could roughly categorize them into one of the three following groups: retro/throwbacks, color changes, and complete departures.

Retro/Throwbacks

This grouping of jerseys is pretty obvious, and it’s been a growing trend in the league over the past few years for teams to pay homage to their pasts. By my count, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, and Montreal all rocked a retro design of some kind this year. For Buffalo, Calgary, and Chicago, these jerseys were true alternates. Montreal was a bit of a different story, as they went through a complete wardrobe of third jerseys to celebrate their 100 year anniversary.

-From Jersey Express

Buffalo’s third jersey for the 2009-2010 campaign, a total throw back to the old logo.

Much like the Habs, the Flames’ retro jersey this year was also inspired by an anniversary (their 30th). While an anniversary isn’t the only catalyst for bringing out a retro jersey, it does seem to be a convenient reason for doing so. Given that the Ducks will not be celebrating any kind of anniversary or epic achievement, I can’t say that I really expect them to go with a retro look in 2010-2011. If the Ducks were to go retro, I would expect it to be a carbon copy of their home or road jerseys from 1993– 2006.

Color Changes

One of the most prolific of the third jerseys in the league today, these sweaters are mostly carbon copies of either the home or away jersey, with different colors swapped into the design. In some occasions, a slightly different logo is used, but the main change is the colors. For the purposes of this post, I’ve characterized Dallas, San Jose, Nashville, Phoenix, Edmonton, and the Islanders as all using this type of jersey.

-From Jersey Express

San Jose’s third jersey, which I hate to admit I actually like.

These kinds of jerseys are popular throughout the league for two reasons: 1) They maintain basic branding continuity with the franchise by using the same colors and logos, just in a different arrangement and 2) They’re similar enough to existing merchandise that it’s easy to predict how well they’ll do.

I have a strong feeling that the Ducks will probably go with a jersey in this segment. For the reasons I’ve stated above, I think these types of third jerseys are the least risky and bear the most financial benefit to the team. Given the Ducks' current color scheme and logo, I would expect some combination of the web-footed "D" and orange, gold, and black.

Complete Departures

And now, the fun category. Throughout the history of the league, teams have come up with jerseys that seem to have nothing to do with their existing color scheme or logo. While such complete departures are more rare today, many teams still wear jerseys that feature color schemes or logos that do not closely align with existing logos. Based on my subjective division of jerseys, St. Louis, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Ottawa, Atlanta, and Florida all fall into this category.


-From Jersey Express

I know their regular logo sucks, but there’s just no excuse for this.

These jerseys are popular amongst teams that either: 1) Hate their primary logo/colors and are trying something else or 2) Sell so much merchandise that they can completely branch out without reservation.

Given these reasons, I really don’t expect the Ducks to do something along these lines. The team does not sell much merchandise, and the new logos and color scheme are new enough that I don’t think the franchise would be abandoning them with their first third jersey in years. Not only that, but the Ducks don’t have a fantastic track record with trying something out-of-the-box.

***

So, there’s a brief recap of what current trends in the league appear to be. In the next part of the series, I’ll go over some of the fantastic designs those on the Interwebs have offered up, but for this installation, I really wanted to get a sense of two things:

1) What type of jersey do you think this the Ducks will adopt for their third jersey in 2010-2011?

2) What type of jersey do you want them to adopt in 2010-2011?

For my part, I think they will probably go with a jersey that closely mirrors what they’re doing now. What would I like them to do? Bring back the last third jerseys they ever used and just update them slightly.

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