The New Jersey Devils introduced … new jerseys … that say Jersey on them.
These are alternate jerseys that the team will wear next season, in conjunction with celebrating the 40th anniversary of the franchise moving from Colorado to New Jersey in 1982.
Devils legend Martin Brodeur — who was a longtime goalie for the franchise, won three Stanley Cups and now works in the front office — spoke to ESPN about the process of creating the jerseys. He was involved with the design.
“We kind of started the process three years ago,” Brodeur said. “We looked at a lot of different ones. We had some samples made, some players wearing it. Our logo is simple and easy to recognize, but now you’re talking about writing on the jersey — how well can people recognize what it says 30 rows from the ice?”
As is the ritual when teams unveil new garments, there was a lot of chatter from the peanut gallery.
“Consider that this is an attempt to reach new fans,” tweeted ESPN hockey writer Greg Wyshinski. “That maybe the ones Jack Hughes’s age *might* dig this design more than ones who attended the 1995 Cup parade.”
He also quipped that they should make a hat that says “HAT.”
“Someone at the Devils found the first draft of the 2019 Blackhawks Winter Classic jerseys in a drawer and said “f*** it, good enough,” tweeted hockey writer Jeff Veillette.
“They look like the Chicago Blackhawks,” read a review of the jerseys on the web site sportslogos.net. “It’s the same colours and almost exactly the same layout of what the Blackhawks wore in the 1920s and 1930s and have brought back again a few times in recent seasons. Upon the first presentation of this concept someone in that Zoom call should’ve squashed it and steered it away for that reason alone.”
A review of the new jerseys on the SB Nation Devils fan site “All About the Jersey” was similarly uninspired.
“It is baffling to me that this franchise literally had the Coca-Cola Classic of jersey designs and the Best Logo in Sports, and have opted to do away with both entirely for a cheap knockoff that you would expect to be sold outside the arena after a game or in Seaside Heights or similar. You only get one chance to make a first impression,” wrote the author John Fischer. “The Devils blew it with this one.”
Pucks and Pitchforks, a Devils site in the FanSided network, mocked the idea that the Devils and Adidas wanted to pay homage to the long-defunct minor league Newark Bulldogs.
“The striping seems to be a real testament to the old days of hockey in Newark, but it’s weird that Adidas is turning so clearly into a team that doesn’t have a huge history in Newark,” wrote Nick Villano. “The Bulldogs played one season of minor league hockey back in 1928.”
Fans felt similarly.
“[Y]ou’re making me want to become an Islanders fan,” tweeted Devils fan Jason Borstein.
The responses were not all negative.
“Here’s a hot take…maybe it’s nice for once that we don’t have our crest on the jersey,” tweeted Devils fan Deniz Yalcin. “For years it’s only been the logo, now it’s something different and I love it. We in Jersey call it JERSEY. Everyone else just wouldn’t understand. Great job @NJDevils and @MartinBrodeur.”