Earlier this week, the Portland Bluebacks revealed the uniforms for their debut season after relocating from Seattle. But the Bluebacks aren’t the only team that will be donning new togs in 2020. Several other SHL teams are modifying their look, in ways both small and large.
The biggest changes came from the Kansas City Smoke, who also rolled out a new logo this season. When the Smoke took the ice for their debut season, their logo was mocked by KC ‘cue heads for omitting a key element: smoke. “One of the consistent pieces of feedback we got on the logo was that it was about grilling, not smoking,” said team president Eddie Whitmore. “I’d point out that plenty of people smoke ‘cue in their backyard kettle grill, but what we kept hearing was that it wasn’t real ‘cue. So we decided to go a different direction.”
The Smoke drew up a new logo that features wisps of smoke, and they put the logo front and center on their uniforms, replacing the old “SMOKE” wordmark that looked like it was being licked by flames.
In addition to that change, they updated their jersey templates with a more modern look that replaces the previous diagonal-stripe-based motif. The team kept its existing color scheme of gray, black, and burnt red.
“We figured: as long as we’re changing the logo, why not go ahead and freshen it all up?” Whitmore said. “This gives us a uniform that can stand the test of time, that our fans can wear with pride as we build toward our goal of winning the Vandy.”
The Smoke and the Bluebacks are the only teams making wholesale uniform changes for the coming season, but two other teams are debuting eye-catching alternate uniforms.
The New York Night, aiming to remain on trend, ditched their previous silver alternates for a dramatic gradient look that changes from purple to black.
Star RW Rick “The Stick” Nelson was one of the players who modeled the new sweater at the unveiling, and he was audibly impressed. “Damn,” he was heard to exclaim, “these threads look almost as fine as I do!”
McKay predicted that the new jerseys would become the top sellers in the SHL. After the unveiling, at least, his words seemed prophetic: local sporting goods stores indicated that the jerseys were flying off the shelves.
The Saskatchewan Shockers, meanwhile, did make changes to their home and road jerseys, simplifying the striping pattern on the socks and sleeves. But that change was not what had people talking after Saskatchewan rolled out its new look. Rather, it was the new third jersey the left mouths agape.
For the past couple of years, the Shockers have sported an electric-blue third jersey that they generally wore on Sundays and holidays. It was eye-catching, but in the same template as their home and road jersey. Their new third jersey, however, doesn’t match their usual template – or any other, for that matter.
The new jersey is half yellow, half blue, split diagonally with a white lightning bolt. Immediate reactions were mixed: some fans on social media dubbed it the “Franken-jersey” while others noted its resemblance to the Grateful Dead’s logo.
According to Shockers owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz, the polarizing look was inspired by some of the NHL’s uniform designs from the ‘90s. “In those days, it was all about trying new stuff and moving the merch. Yeah, some people think those styles were a complete disaster, but nobody ever forgets them! And they’re not going to forget us either!”
Saskatchewan’s players regarded the new uniforms a bit warily. “It’s going to take some getting used to,” said LW Troy Chamberlain. “It’s definitely different than what other teams are wearing.”
“We’re not going to be able to sneak up on anyone in these,” quipped C Lars Karlsson.
Other smaller changes for 2020 include:
- Last year, the Michigan Gray Wolves switched from using the “Gray Wolves” wordmark to the wolf-and-moon logo as its primary home jersey. This season, the Wolves are making the same change to their road jerseys. “We wanted to unify our look,” said GM Tim Carrier. Also, the numbers on the back of the jersey have changed from blue to red.
- The Washington Galaxy have updated their logo, but their uniforms will remain the same as last year.