|We ain't talkin' bout the game.|
When I think of a practice jersey, I don't think of high end technology fabricated into a practice jersey. But in the NHL, no piece of equipment is left in the dust in terms of modernization. You have to upgrade, or how else are you going to sell a $250 hockey stick? At the turn of the millennium, NHL practice jerseys were polyester moo-moos. They were big, loose, and heavy. As an example, see this circa 2003 practice jersey from the Calgary Flames in a size 54.
|@johntkemp looking dapper and happy to be wearing a Team's Jersey.|
So after a season lost to a fight over a salary cap, the brilliant minds at CCM hammered out this puppy in about 15 minutes.
|Kempy, still not happy.|
The NHL and CCM gave it the old college try with this first Reebok branded practice jersey in 2006. I think most jersey collectors put this in the category of the "6100" jersey, but don't quote me on that. Collectors creep me out. This particular example is a size 52. First, they added lightweight and breathable material under the arms. A good start - however, the rest of the jersey was still straight up polyester and remained heavy and hot. While CCM did make the jerseys SLIGHTLY slimmer fitting through the trunk, the sleeves still looked like Dumbo's ears. Oh, and for some reason reflective piping was sewn into the sleeve for reasons we're still unsure of. The jersey still had double shoulders, elbow patches, fight strap, and the NHL logo moved to the collar in a Hi Vis area.
Not to be discouraged, CCM took what it learned from this iteration and moved onto this in 2007-2008:
|John Kemp smiles wearing the good old CBJ practice jersey.|
Undaunted by failure, Reebok rolled out their Opus in 2010-2011, the Edge 2.0
|John Kemp, grumpy once again in a Size 58 practice jersey.|
While no team is required to wear a specific style of practice jersey, most teams are wearing the Edge 2.0. No rule or CBA requires any sort of standard for a practice jersey. You would think that all teams would move to this new lightweight, cool, and durable jersey right? Wrong. There is one team that refuses to be swayed by fancy practice jerseys. One team will not budge and sticks to old rags like polyester is the fabric of the Gods themselves. And appropriately, that team is the New Jersey Devils. Because after all, the New Jersey Devils are like the 'New Jersey' of the NHL. Polyester is king, like Ed Hardy T-shirts. Fist Pump.
|"A drug dealer wouldn't be caught dead in those polyester rags!" - Data from the movie The Goonies|