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Can We Talk About The Ugly USA Hockey Sweaters?


One of my friends has a very distinct way of wanting to talk about something that she deems extremely important to talk about. Oftentimes, the pop-culture item or gossip is not actually that important, but she has a way of making things seem important, which is often just as important. For example, if she really wanted to discuss Miley Cyrus’ meltdown at the MTV Video Music Awards, she would say start a sentence with “Um… so can we talk about that Miley Cyrus performance at the VMAs?”

Now, we sort of make fun of her for it, but yet we also started doing that “Um… so can we talk about (insert relevant topic here).” We do it so much that when USA Hockey revealed their hockey sweaters for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia, I immediately sent a text message to my friend asking “Um… so can we talk about those ugly U.S. Hockey jerseys?”

With complete seriousness, though, this is kind of important. Um… can we talk about those ugly U.S. Hockey jerseys?” What was revealed at Kettler Iceplex in Ballston, Virginia on Tuesday afternoon might have been one of the worst things to happen to ice-hockey since the delay of game penalty for flipping the puck over the glass.

The abomination should have been predicted when the current heads of marketing for Nike were basically put in charge with designing the jerseys for 2014. Obviously they need to sell jerseys, but they also need to appeal to the young, hip whippersnappers that are buying hockey sweaters these days. In response, Nike decided to put the following things on the sweater:

  • For some unbeknownst reason, they decided to put the K-Swiss logo on the front of the jersey. Okay, the reason is technically a good reason. It’s one of the original crests of Team USA Hockey. That does not make it good nor does it make it look good on a modern-looking jersey.
  • They put a stripe on the sleeve of the dark jersey for the sake of putting a stripe. It does not match or line up with anything and just looks completely out of place. To Nike’s credit, the white one looks better because the sleeve stripe matches up with the stripe on the chest of jersey. Nike did something right.
  • What in the name of the good hockey gods are those stars on the shoulders? It looks like some pre-schoolers got their hands on some clear star stickers and just stuck them on the uniform. Does anyone think that looks good? In fact, does anyone think the clear shoulder-pads look good on any type of uniform? Oh, Oregon students do. I forgot. Stupid Oregon.
  • At least they got some fly-string in there which is like the greatest thing about a hockey… wait… they put fake fly-wire on those things? They took one of the most underrated great things about a hockey sweater and made them shiny sticker things? What the hell were they thinking?

The worst part about this is that Nike designed a great-looking hockey jersey three years ago. The ones they used in Vancouver in 2010 were as classic as they come, featuring large “USA” lettering that was simple, which in reality is the best thing that can be said about a hockey sweater. Look at teams like the Blackhawks, the Bruins, the Flyers, the Red Wings or the Canadiens who all are often considered tops in the league when it comes to good-looking sweaters. The biggest thing they share between them is that they are simple. That is why the 2010 jerseys were so great and why the 2013 ones struggle.

Hopefully I can still find a 2010 sweater to wear to support Team USA during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

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