Steve Levy: They're Called Home Whites for a Reason

Steve Levy

Despite the non-stop urging by one of my many superiors, I have held out blogging on this subject, but I can no longer control my emotions and it's time to let it fly. Jersey’s are referred to as “home whites” for a reason. Traditionally the home team wears white (except in the NFL where the home team can wear whatever they want and can change week to week. The Cowboys are actually one of the few NFL teams to always wear white at home). It's always been that way in MLB and the NBA anyway. I’m sure there isn’t a single NHL player, coach or exec. who cares about this subject but in my own informal little poll (4 or 5 hockey fans I know) everybody hates the way it is now.

In the past you could just take a passing glance at a game and knew where it was being played…again, not a huge issue...but it was comforting to know…growing up in New York City you had to have cable to see Ranger home games. The road games were the only ones on free tv, therefore I always saw the Rangers in blue and it became so special to go to a game and see the Rangers in white. I always thought the Canadiens white uniforms were special too. While you could always see them anywhere in the rouge (red) you had to make a trip to the great old forum to see them in white. It was like a privilege, some sort of royalty to see them in those sweaters. Can you imagine the Yankees wearing the pinstripes in Kansas City?...Exactly…You want to see the pinstripes, you find a way to get to the Bronx.

My old ESPN hockey colleague Al Morganti made the point that the problem with wearing the dark jersey at home is that the majority of the white jerseys across the league are nearly identical, so your season ticket holders see the same thing every game night. You always see your team in the same colored sweater and unless you buy a program you can't tell if that’s a Flyer, Flame, Panther, Hurricane or Oiler skating away from you.

Lastly, “the white out”, was started by the Jets in Winnipeg where everyone in the building wore white, continued in Phoenix (and now Glendale) when the franchise moved to the great Southwest and became the Coyotes. So they’re playing a classic Game 7 there tonight against the Red Wings and there’s the big white out again. So while all the home fans are in white, the home team is in some color closer to red. It just doesn’t make any sense. Even the home page on the Coyotes website reads “rolling out the white carpet” and shows the arena packed with every single fan in white and five Coyotes on the blue line and THEY TOO ARE IN THE WHITE JERSEYS!! So how come they were wearing red or maroon or anything other than white when they took the ice tonight? The NHL has a lot of issues but this is an easy fix…and even if it's only to satisfy me and my four friends. Why not? Most people won't notice and those who do won't complain. Long live the white out and bring back the home whites!