The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place in Toronto this September, and today we got our first look at the jerseys, which are being made by Adidas.
The good news is that the jerseys aren't bad. Even the worst of them are adequate, and the best ones are spectacular.
The bad news is that they all share a common flaw: Adidas has put its signature triple-stripe design on the sides of each jersey, making the countries feel like they're all playing for Team Adidas and chipping away at their individual identities. Let's hope Adidas doesn't do this when it takes over the NHL's uniform contract for the 2017-18 season.
There's one other frustration, at least for now: Adidas and the NHL have so far released only the jersey designs -- not the full uniforms. Obviously, a jersey is the most important component of a uniform, but it's hard to assess a jersey without seeing how it works with the uniform's pants, socks and helmet. Here's hoping we get to see the rest of these elements soon.
Here's a quick look at each design.
Beauty, eh? Everything about this one works, from a gorgeous crest to the blue sleeves and the white panels at the top and bottom. Even the lion's gold crown and talons add nice little touches of warmth to the design. Nicely done.
"Suomi" is Finnish for "Finland," but in any language, that lettering looks too big, too overwhelming. It relegates the crest to an afterthought.
And would it have killed them to include some striping or other decorative element toward the bottom? As it stands now, this feels more like a sweatshirt than a hockey jersey.
Definitely the weirdest design of the bunch, with a two-tone color scheme and an unusual crest. It's hard to assess how this one will look until we see the full uniform with the pants and socks, which hasn't yet been released. Moreover, according to Adidas' media notes, "Players will wear their flag on their shoulder and the names of each European nation in the unity stripe across their sleeve," but none of that is shown on the promotional images.
On the plus side, the three Adidas stripes are so low-contrast as to be almost undetectable. Overall, this one gets an "I" for Incomplete.
Easily the strongest design of the set. Russia's double-headed eagle crest always looks great on a jersey, and thick color-blocked striping works really well. A winner.
Sweden's three-crown design, familiar from the Olympics and other international tournaments, always look good. But this version looks even better, because of the inner detailing on the crowns -- a very nice touch.
Hmmm, black with gray trim -- could look great or could look awful, depending on the lighting and, especially, the rest of the uniform. Either way, that crest looks like something out of a video game or Dungeons and Dragons -- not good.
Love that crest! By removing the maple leaf's stem and streamlining all the angles, they've managed to make a leaf look slick, modern and cool, which is a pretty good trick. But they overplayed their hand by including the outsized leaf outlines on the sleeves, which feels like overkill and distracts from the crest. Would've been better off going with stripes.
Is anyone else underwhelmed by this? Maybe it's because U.S. Soccer just released a shield-based "USA" crest earlier this week, but something about this design feels very rote. Disappointing.
Paul Lukas is troubled by the increasing number of teams and leagues that unveil new jerseys without showing the rest of the uniform. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.