Auston Matthews reacts to putting on the (new) Leafs jersey for first time

Matt Larkin
Auston Matthews. (Getty Images)

BUFFALO –– The moment was surreal. Especially considering where the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise was even two years ago. Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock, standing on the stage, handing a sweater to the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, representing the Blue and White? Did Leaf Nation dream this? Nope.

Toronto selected what it believes will be a franchise-defining player in center Auston Matthews. It was only fitting that, when Matthews donned his Leafs jersey, he became the first player to do so. The old getup, associated with too many years of failure, wouldn’t do. The “new” look includes the veined logo worn from 1938 to 1963, a period during which the Leafs won eight Stanley Cups. The rest of the design is understated, simple and classy: two horizontal stripes on each arm and some thicker piping along the bottom.

“It looks good,” Matthews said. “I like it. It felt unbelievable putting on the jersey. Such a storied franchise, so it was a big honor.”

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Wayne Gretzky thinks No. 9 should be retired league-wide in honor of Gordie Howe

Jared Clinton
Gordie Howe's retired jersey (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 has been retired across the NHL, unable to be worn by anyone in the league in honor of the game’s most recognizable player and inarguably one its greatest. Gretzky is the only player with that honor, but, if it were up to him, he’d have some company.

With Gordie Howe’s passing, Gretzky was asked about the possibility of the NHL following a similar path as they have with his iconic jersey number and putting No. 9 in the rafters around the league and removing it from the jersey rotation. Gretzky, who grew up idolizing Howe, said he completely supports the idea.

“I’m pretty biased,” Gretzky said, via ESPN. “If I had my way, I would do it. But that’s for the league. I’m not involved with the league right now. But listen, whatever they choose to do is going to be very special because Gordie deserves something really special and unique.

“I don’t think anybody helped promote, support the game, the sport or our country better than Gordie Howe. He was proud to be a Canadian, proud of being from Saskatchewan. And I don’t think the NHL is going to overlook the fact of how important he was to the game, so I’m sure they are going to do something real special for him.” Read more

Panthers unveil new logo and jerseys to signal ‘new tradition of winning’

Jared Clinton
Reilly Smith and Aaron Ekblad (via NHL.com)

The Florida Panthers unveiled a brand new look — jerseys, colors and logo — Thursday evening for what the team hopes will be the beginning a brand new era of Panthers hockey, one the franchise hopes can build off of the success of the 2015-16 campaign.

The jersey and logo reveal took place at a special event at Florida’s BB&T Center, with a number of current and former Panthers on hand, including Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Ed Jovanovski and Olli Jokinen.

The new mark features a “stoic panther” inside a shield, with bot the home and away uniforms bearing distinct text. The home jersey boasts a red base with a white bar dividing the upper and lower halves and gold piping along the bar, and the logo reads “Panthers.” The away uniform is the inverse: white base, red bar and the same gold piping, with the in-logo text reading “Florida.”

Both jerseys feature a blue collar, and the lettering and numbering of both uniforms has gold piping. The away jersey numbers and letters are blue, the home jersey’s red. The numbers will rest atop the shoulders of the jerseys rather than on the sleeves.

“I think the logo harkens to the vanguard of courage; the idea that you put a shield on the hockey uniform,” Panthers owner Vincent Viola said of the new logo. “It’s something to protect, but you also protect it. We wanted something that began a new tradition of winning and demonstrated courage and selfless dedication to a team pursuit of victory.” Read more

Hamilton Bulldogs unveil black and gold jerseys to honor city’s hockey history

Jared Clinton
(via Hamilton Bulldogs/YouTube)

The Hamilton Bulldogs have nearly completed their inaugural OHL campaign, but the team will truly look the part of a Hamilton-based sports franchise come 2016-17.

As part of a jersey redesign, the Bulldogs are going to a black and gold color scheme from the next campaign and will say goodbye to the current red, blue and white scheme that was brought over from the team’s AHL days as the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. The updated scheme isn’t simply an eye-catching new look, though. It ties into the city’s sports history, dating all the way back to the Hamilton Tigers, one of the original NHL clubs during that played its first games in 1920.

In a video that was paired with the jersey’s release, the Bulldogs debuted the jerseys and talked briefly about Hamilton’s sporting history and the meaning of black and gold: Read more

USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks unveil hilarious ‘Beach Night’ jerseys

Jared Clinton
(via Muskegon Lumberjacks/Twitter)

Spring is right around the corner, but the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks want to skip the season altogether and get right to shorts, sandals and sleeveless shirt weather. Or at least that’s what one would assume by looking at their hilarious jerseys for their upcoming theme night.

Saturday night when Muskegon hosts the Sioux City Musketeers, the Lumberjacks will be welcoming their fans to the first ever ‘Beach Night.’ And while fans will likely be pleased with the leis, $3 drink specials, hula hoop contest and Tiki Bar beer garden, the star of the show — beyond the hockey, of course — will be the Lumberjacks’ jerseys.

The ‘Beach Night’ threads are hilarious and one of the more ridiculous jerseys we’ve ever seen. Made to look like a sleeveless shirt, the jerseys are paired with a pants shell that looks like a pair of swim trunks and custom socks that show off some “skin” and a socks and sandals look at the bottom. Seriously, these jerseys are great: Read more

Toledo Walleye to host Zombie Night, jerseys to get zombified as game progresses

Jared Clinton
(via Toledo Walleye/Instagram)

With the Bakersfield Condors playing in the AHL, the throne for best game-day promotions was up for grabs in the ECHL. And while there may be a few contenders for the top spot, it’d be hard not to give the nod to the Toledo Walleye this season.

Already this season the Walleye have hosted 8-Bit Night, which featured jerseys styled after Super Mario, and Don Cherry Night, which featured blue and yellow checkerboard jerseys, but the promotions aren’t stopping there. In less than two weeks, the Walleye will host Zombie Night, and they’re not settling for just one specialty jersey.

During the March 12 game against the Norfolk Admirals, the Walleye will make ECHL history by wearing three different jerseys in one game, and each one will get increasingly gory as the skaters become zombified: Read more

The World Cup team jerseys have been revealed. Let’s rank them

Ian Denomme
Canada

The NHL and NHLPA have spent all day Wednesday slowly, and meticulously unveiling the first 16 players for each of the eight teams participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The specifically made-for-TV event full of flashy graphics and many talking heads, for the most part, was about as exciting a trade deadline day without any trades.

The one bit of fun and frivolity came when the jerseys for each team were unveiled. The design of hockey jerseys can be almost as contentious an issue as the rosters themselves with some fans. And while some countries almost always have similar looks, the 2016 event has the added wrinkle of two teams, North America and Europe, with no existing logos or template to work with.

These jerseys are the first to be designed for the NHL by adidas as part of a new sponsorship agreement. You’ll note the strong adidas influence on all the jerseys with the three stripes running up the seems on each side into the armpits. And it’s not completely objectionable.

Here now is a look at each team’s uniform, ranked from worst to best.

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Canucks unveil awesome old school jerseys ahead of Retro Night

Jared Clinton
(via CanucksTV/YouTube)

Of all the classic Vancouver Canucks jerseys, there’s not one fans wanted to see make a return more than the old school ‘Flying Skate’ Canucks sweater. It’s the jersey of Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden and Kirk McLean. It’s the uniform the Canucks wore during their magical run to the Stanley Cup final in 1994. And it’s making its return Feb. 13.

The Canucks unveiled the updated version of the sweater Monday on their Twitter account in a take-off of the unboxing videos that have become popular over the past few years. With mascot Johnny Canuck behind the camera delivering a bizarre voiceover, we get our first look at the ‘Retro Night’ Canucks jerseys: Read more