Since introducing their alternate jerseys before the 2008-09 season, the Carolina Hurricanes have seen remarkable success while wearing their black sweaters. They’re 64-34-9 all-time while in black, including a perfect 5-0 this season.
They’d better hope to replicate that success in their normal red home uniforms in short order, because the black third jerseys are going the way of the tie, the foot-in-the-crease rule and compensation for fired coaches next season.
As first reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the NHL is discontinuing the third jersey program next season, in conjunction with the shift of the NHL’s jersey manufacturer from Reebok to adidas. While teams will have the option to designate their third jersey as their new home jersey next season, a Hurricanes source tells Canes Country that the Canes will continue to wear their red jersey at home, meaning the end of the black jersey.
The source, who spoke to Canes Country on the condition of anonymity because the NHL has not publicly commented on the changes, says that the elimination of the third jersey may only be a one-year change, to allow for a smoother transition to the new adidas outfits. However, the Canes are reportedly considering their options for re-introducing a third jersey in the 2018-19 season, if the NHL permits, and no decisions have been made in that regard yet.
Reebok has been owned by adidas since 2005, and operates as a standalone division of the adidas Group. A source says that adidas plans to introduce merchandise next season “far beyond what Reebok has been providing.” Adidas also owns the trademark to the CCM brand, which was suppressed under Reebok Hockey for about eight years but has returned with some new gear since 2014, and the source says that the CCM trademark will be resurrected for throwback NHL uniforms that will be available to fans.
The end of the Canes’ black jersey will mean the end, at least temporarily, of some design elements that date to the team’s arrival in North Carolina in 1997, including the hurricane warning flag around the bottom of the sweater, the flag-on-a-stick that is the centerpiece of the third jersey and has served as an alternate logo for nearly 20 years, and the italicized font for player names and uniform numbers.
Most of those elements have been missing from Hurricanes jerseys since the main home and away uniforms were redesigned in 2013. Prior to that, the third jerseys were largely the same design, with different colors and a different chest logo, as the uniforms that the Canes had worn since 1997.
Adidas made its debut in hockey gear in September at the World Cup of Hockey to mixed reviews. As part of the deal with the NHL announced last year, adidas will also be responsible for teams’ training gear, including footwear.
The Hurricanes will wear their black jerseys seven more times this season, including this Saturday’s game against the Islanders. After that, they will become a collector’s item.