The SHL’s 2018 season will see the addition of two new teams, the Boston Badgers and Kansas City Smoke. But Boston’s and Kansas City’s uniforms aren’t the only new threads that fans will see on the ice this year. Almost half of the league’s existing teams are making changes to their looks, with two teams – the Quebec Tigres and Saskatchewan Shockers – making major overhauls.
According to Quebec GM Pete Gondret, the Tigres’ revamp was the brainchild of owner Marc Delattre, who felt that the team’s old uniforms – which famously featured striped sleeves and socks – were too busy. “Mr. Delattre was not a fan of our old costumes,” said Gondret. “When he watched our games, he said ‘We look like a junior team, not professional.'” Delattre wound up hiring fashion designer Rene Saramond to develop something cleaner.
Saramond’s design, which was reportedly inspired by vintage hockey sweater designs of the 1920s, preserved the stripes, but compressed them into a narrower band across the chest, sleeves, and socks. Each band contains seven stripes, which symbolize the seven gates in the ramparts that surrounded the old city of Quebec.
“These uniforms are a perfect blend of old and new,” said Gondret. “They speak to the history and tradition of both hockey and of Quebec, but at the same time they are fresh and sleek and modern.”
The Tigres unveiled their new jerseys at a season-ticket holder event in late November. Captain Stephane Mirac, who modeled the home jersey, said that he is a fan of the new look. “The old uniforms, they were a bit too garish,” Mirac told reporters. “Now, we have a better look, and as we start winning more games, we can be proud of how we look and how we play.”
Meanwhile, the Shockers’ uniforms are largely similar in design to last year’s, but they’ve made a significant change to their color scheme. Previously, the Shockers were notorious around the league for sporting the eye-searing combination of yellow and seafoam green Reportedly, this unusual look was chosen by owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz, as those are his favorite colors.
The fact that the colors clashed with one another apparently did not trouble the owner, although it did trouble Shockers fans and players. Former Saskatchewan RW Daniel Bellanger, who played for the Shockers for half a season in 2015, likened the color combo to “a wound that is infected and filled with pus.”
After years of lobbying by the players, coaches, and front office, Doofenshmirtz finally relented this season, dropping seafoam and replacing it with electric blue. GM Cooper Matthews hailed the new look, calling it “striking and eye-catching, but more pleasant to look at.”
Upon receiving news of the new colors, Saskatchewan players erupted in celebration. C Napoleon Beasley declared the new combination “really cool! We’ve got a new look we can be proud of. The old look kind of made guys a little sick just looking at it, to tell the truth. And we definitely came in for a lot of heckling about it from fans in other arenas. But that’s over now! Now they can just heckle us for our play instead, and that’s way better.”
A couple of other teams are making smaller but still noticeable changes to their uniforms for the new season:
- The New York Night are are making a number of tweaks, adding drop shadows to the numbers on the back of their uniforms and adding more silver to their black-and-white-heavy palette. They’ve also gone from single-color stripes to a two-color pattern on their home and road unis (and changed the stripe pattern on their alternates to match.) GM Royce McCormick called their new look “sophisticated and classy, just like our city.”
- The Washington Galaxy have added white outlines to the logo on the front of their home jersey and to the numbers and name on the back. According to GM Garnet “Ace” Adams, the team made the tweaks in response to feedback from fans, who sometimes had a hard time reading the jerseys from the upper rows of the Constellation Center. “We always put the fans first,” said Adams, “and we want them to be able to see who they’re cheering for.” In addition, the team switched from gold to blue numbers on their road jerseys, as well as changing from red socks and helmets to white.