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Earlier this month, the National Hockey League revealed the captains for this year's 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend, and in doing so, also revealed the jerseys for the festivities. While initial reaction was mixed, I find myself a big fan of what the league and Adidas, who are making the All-Star uniforms for the first time, decided to go with here.
Typically, when I look at a one-off jersey for something like an All-Star Game, I'm looking for a few things. I'd like it to have some ties to the city that's hosting, some nods to league history, and a look to the future, so teams can gain inspiration for their own next designs. For the most part, I think that's accomplished here. Let's start with the East, the conference where the host Tampa Bay Lightning play in.
The Lightning play in the Atlantic Divison, and comprise about a third of their All-Star roster, so it's of no surprise that they'll be wearing the same home blue that Tampa Bay wear on Amalie Arena's ice surface on a regular game night. What separates these colours from their own, though, is that splatter of bright, electric yellow. Some see it as a little much, but to me, I think it adds a bit of futuristic, extravagant flair to the uniform. Yellow is often used as the identifying colour for electricity and, well, lightning in most artistic forms, so to carry that over in a way that the team's brand can't normally provide is pretty neat.
Not to mention, these would make an awesome starting point for a Team Sweden jersey come the next World Cup of Hockey.
The electric yellow stays for the Metropolitan Division, though the uniform itself is a more subdued grey with black accents. That in itself remains a bit of a nod to the Lightning, who used to go with Black, White, and Grey as their main colour scheme. The team never did get around to wearing grey as a primary colour, though, so this gives them an opportunity to realize that part of missed history. The Yellow doesn't mesh quite as nice, and that probably makes this the least appealing of the four divisions, but it still comes together pretty well.
The Western Conference pivots from the Tampa Bay connection, and into the "homage to league history" territory. Those who wanted a throwback to past designs should find their comfort zone here. The Black and Orange (which Adidas refers to as "Solar Red", in reference to their bright, red-orange shoe colour) on display here is a nod to the logo that the league used for its first 88 years, and the colour scheme of the All-Star uniforms between 1934 to 1991, along with 1993.
The same scheme can be seen on the Pacific Division's uniforms, though flipped to make white the primary colour and black the secondary. These are likely the all-around best two of the bunch, in the sense that they throw back tastefully to the majority of the history of the festivities, use simple, agreeable colours, and still take on a modern-day template. Adidas kept the shape of these tasteful while still making it distinctly theirs; the three stripes along the sides feel integrated rather than slapped on, the star armbands work for an event like this, the fonts are standard shaped but accented in a cool looking way (that makes reference to Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge), and the arms are pretty standard fare.
Overall, I think this is going to be a hard one for the league to top. While the last several years have been a rather good stretch as far as pushing design limits, I think this is the best job they've done of it that has the host city in mind at the same time since Minnesota went full vintage in 2004. Getting the best of both worlds is difficult, especially when you have to design four jerseys instead of two, but I think they've by and large done that here.
If you want to pick one of these up for yourself, well, we've got excellent news for you: they're in stock right now here at CoolHockey! You can check out this year's selection, along with a few throwback options, by clicking here. Customization, as always, is available for you to get your favourite member of each respective team on the back of your favourite sweater.