NHL And Adidas Unveil Reverse Retro 2022 Jersey Collection
Let the debates begin.
Two years after the NHL and Adidas partnered to release their first league-wide alternate jersey program under the Reverse Retro banner, a new instalment has now been unveiled.
This time around, with the expansion Seattle Kraken added to the mix, fans can feast their eyes on a set of 32 new designs that imaginatively remix nostalgic elements of the past with fresh new elements.
“This is the scarcity drop,” said the NHL’s chief brand officer and senior executive vice president, Brian Jennings. “Worn anywhere from two to eight times. You almost have permission as a brand to kind of go out and have some fun, right?
“This time, every team kind of leaned into that and said, ‘All right. I get it now.’ They went all in and I’m excited for them to get the full realization of it.”
Once again, many of the jerseys draw from club histories. Logos and design elements from the 80s and 90s figure prominently. That means the return of the New York Islanders’ fabled fisherman, the Boston Bruins’ bear head, and the Los Angeles Kings’ purple-and-gold crown logo — but on a white background for the first time.
Textures are incorporated into many of the designs. Stripes are reimagined. And new colors are introduced, such as the eye-catching light blue that’s meant to represent the city of Montreal, used for the first time as the base color behind the classic Canadiens logo.
The juxtaposition of old and new is intended to connect with two different demographics.
For fans who have lived through those earlier eras, the jerseys serve as reminders of bygone days and bring back memories like seeing 21-year-old Joe Thornton sporting Boston’s bear head or six-time Vezina winner Dominik Hasek’s otherwordly acrobatics in the Buffalo Sabres’ crease.
Simultaneously, the designs tap into current trends that catch the eye of Gen Z. “Nineties retro is really hot right now,” said Jennings.
Newer franchises like the Kraken and the Vegas Golden Knights don’t have the same history to draw from, so they’ve taken a deeper dive into their iconography. The Kraken chose to play up the sea green that is part of their main color scheme, while the Golden Knights aimed to capture the feel of what their own third jersey would have looked like in 1995 — complete with a diagonal wordmark inspired by vintage signage from classic Vegas Strip hotels and, for some extra sparkle, glow-in-the-dark stars hidden in the letters, which will be visible in the dark or in black light.
“They know their brand and they certainly know what this program was looking to accomplish,” Jennings said. “Those tiny little specks will glow in the dark, so you can imagine when they come out and skate around, that’s going to create its own buzz.”
The first iteration of Reverse Retro launched in November of 2020, while the NHL was on pause as league executives and medical experts tried to work out the logistics of mounting the 2020-21 season amidst the early challenges caused by the pandemic.
Once the games did get going, limited fan attendance and in-division matchups inhibited the program’s rollout to some extent. But the multiplier effect of having 31 new jerseys unveiled at once and the creativity of the teams’ designs made Reverse Retro enough to a hit to bring it back in relatively short order.
This time around, the league is back on its regular 82-game schedule for the second-straight year. And those dates include a lineup of Reverse Retro matchup nights, starting Nov. 2 when the Sabres host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There’s a healthy balance of light and dark designs in the new collection, Jennings said, which will allow opposing teams to both wear their Reverse Retro uniforms on the same night. And on top of the intriguing details in the main jersey designs, many teams have incorporated additional elements including special fonts for nameplates and numbers and design details that will appear on pants, socks, gloves and helmets, which won’t be seen until the players suit up.
“I call it discovery,” Jennings said. “You can see something in 2-D, right? Then you can see something in 3-D. Then when you get up close to it and you start to look at some of the design elements, all those little touches and details that make these sweaters, frankly, special.”
One common thread crosses all 32 designs. This time around, the NHL Shield logo at the neck of each jersey has reverted to the league’s previous vintage orange and black colour scheme. It was swapped out for to the current silver-and-black combination in 2005.
Reverse Retro jerseys are priced between $190-$240 in the U.S. and $210-$260 in Canada. They’ll be available for purchase Nov. 15 exclusively at adidas.com, adidas.ca, NHLShop.com, NHLShop.ca and team stores, with wider availability at additional retailers starting Nov. 20.