The NHL is bringing its talents to South Beach for the 2023 All-Star Game and has unveiled the bold, lively jerseys players will be wearing to next month’s events.
The jerseys for the Eastern and Western Conferences are modeled after the jerseys of the mid-1990s, making Adidas’ “reverse retro” makeover. They’re featured in blue and pink “inspired by the vibrant sunsets and glowing neon of South Beach,” but not usually found on NHL uniforms.
“It really makes sense to embrace the cultural colors of South Florida,” said adidas Hockey design director Matty Merrill, who led the design of the jerseys that debuted on ESPN during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Modern Boston Bruins star to David Busterwho was voted into the NHL All-Star Game by the fans, saw the jerseys for the first time Thursday night and gave them their yes vote.
“Oh, that’s cute. Very old school. Reminds me a little bit of when I first learned about NHL jerseys,” he said. “It’s gorgeous. I love the color choice.”
The NHL All-Star Game and All-Star Skills Contest will be held February 3-4 at FLA Live Arena, home of the Florida Panthers, in Sunrise, Florida. The All-Star Game will once again feature a 3v3 tournament between 11 teams representing the four divisions of the league.
There are two primary jerseys, but if West meets West or East meets East in an All-Star Tournament final, there are dark and white versions for each conference.
This is the first time since 2009 that the All-Star teams have been identified as the East and West teams on the jersey logos. To continue the retro look, the NHL logo on the jerseys will be in the original orange and black colors.
The first plans to revisit the look of the classic NHL All-Star game were formed six years ago, when the Reverse Retro program was developed by adidas.
“Reverse T-shirts hit things people love and present them in a new way. They look different, without being annoying,” Merrill said. “For a long time, we’ve been waiting for this opportunity to make it happen [Reverse Retro] for an NHL event and the All-Star Game was the obvious choice.”
Adidas started designing about a year and a half before the event. They knew the 2022-23 season would feature the second batch of Reverse Retro jerseys in the NHL, so the timing was right to bring the gimmick to the league’s mid-season classic.
First, the designers created a board with images of every All-Star jersey in NHL history. Their decision on which jersey to give the “Reverse Retro” treatment was made when the NHL posted an Instagram post containing nine old All-Star looks, asking fans to pick their favorite.
“We do a lot of social listening. Usually it’s focus groups and looking up names or terms on Twitter. But here all we had to do was go into the Instagram comments and count the comments that fans were voting for,” said Merrill. . “And the 1994 shirt got twice as many votes as any other shirt. More than three times more than any other shirt. It was the clear winner.”
When the Florida Panthers were awarded the 2023 All-Star Game, there was suddenly another, more karmic reason to go along with the 1994 look: It was the first All-Star Game to feature the Panthers, who entered the league as an expansion team in 1993. Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck and quarterback Bob Kudelski were first stars. fl.
“The fact that it was their first and that it was a round number about 30 years ago… those little things are amazing,” said Merrill.
Players wore this jersey from 1994-1997, before the NHL changed the design. Stars like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagger, Mark Messier, Ray Burke, Eric Lindros and Dominic Hasek, just to name a few are legends.
“I think that’s an extra layer of calm for the players themselves,” Merrill said.
After choosing a style, it’s time to apply the colors that make the adidas ‘reverse retro’ shirts so eye-catching. The game, which was held in South Florida, was all the inspiration the designers needed.
“Sunsets on the beach, neon lights. It was obvious we were going to go pink and blue or bright colors,” said Merrill.
The team landed on “Biscayne Blue” and “Flamingo Pink” depending on which hues they would use.
Merrill couldn’t remember another NHL jersey that used pink in its design. Adidas has had internal talks and some discussions about whether to use them at all.
“It’s a conversation we’ve had many times. We know it’s polarizing. But if the story is strong, you can win people over,” he said.
The game’s presence in South Florida was just the “story” they needed to make the bold color choices. They stand out around the edges and trim, while the rest of the shirt is more traditional black and white.
Also practical were the “Biscayne Blue” and “Flamingo Pink” tunings. Merrill said Adidas has to make sure the colors don’t mimic any of the colors already in the league. “If your favorite man is wearing your rival’s colors, that’s a tough look sometimes,” he said.
They also looked at other examples of logos that were influenced by the South Florida plate and tried to avoid copying that. “We make sure we do something at least original and different — not just pulling the logos, the colors straight out of the ‘Miami Vice’ logo, but actually finding our own thing that was appropriate for the NHL,” he said.
The NHL has embraced local icons for its big events in recent years. The NHL Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl had a giant cowboy boot near the rink. Dodgers Stadium was surrounded by luminous palm trees. Last year’s All-Star Game in Vegas held an event where players fired pucks at decks of cards to make blackjack hands. And now, All-Star sweaters with a South Florida flavor.
“I think you’ll continue to see site, location and host consolidation of all of these events,” Merrill said. “You flip on the TV and you see this action happening and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this looks like a lot of fun.'” “