The Home Stretch
It was like a bad April Fool’s Day joke or a scene out of a horror movie when Hockey Canada announced their jerseys for Sochi 2014 earlier this week.
The only thing is you can’t turn the TV off or find out that you’re having your leg pulled. Those jerseys launched by Hockey Canada and Nike this week (although they were leaked in September) are for real. That’s what the men’s, women’s and sledge teams will be wearing in Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
It won’t change whether I support the team, but I can’t help but look at their new jerseys and imagine them being comparable to the rip-off ones you could buy at Walmart or a gas station in the past – I’m sure you still can, just they’ll cost more cause they have a Nike logo on it.
If that’s not bad enough, I’m sure Hockey Canada is lucky that Petro-Canada isn’t suing them for copyright infringement (logos look very similar). Maybe that was all part of the plan. I’m not sure if anyone remembers the books you could get at Esso in the 90s with all the Team Canada players, but as a youth at that time I thought they were fantastic. I may still have it stashed away in my parents’ basement even. Maybe that’s the second phase of this launch, a partnership with Petro-Canada. Don’t you want another one of those?
All joking aside, I personally, along with a number of other Canadians, think the jerseys look sub-par. Let’s be serious, it’s just a money grab anyways. Every time a new jersey is released the goal for both Nike and Hockey Canada is to make money, although they’ll never say it. They want Canadians to look at it and say ‘hey, I don’t have that one, but it’d look great hanging in my closet next to my 2010 Canadian Olympic jersey.’
That all really started in 2008 with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver looming. After using its logo on international sweaters for a number of years, they were forced to come up with a new design due to International Olympic Committee rules. National logos aren’t permitted on uniforms at the games, something the IOC cracked down on in 2008 at the summer games. Up until that point Hockey Canada signed an exemption from Games uniform regulations, but they were not allowed that time around.
When Hockey Canada found that out they went to the drawing board and came up with something simple, but popular.
The 2010 jerseys looked very similar. They basically dropped the hockey player and the puck and simply left the maple leaf with new artwork inside it. It was a simple change, but was very popular.
This time around they went for something “inspired” by Canada’s Olympic jerseys from 1920 and 1978. I will admit they do have a cool feature in the jersey’s collar, with 12 gold maple leaves representing Hockey Canada’s number of Olympic gold medals. They’ve won eight in men’s hockey, three in women’s and one in sledge.
I know that regardless of who is selected for the team, they will be proud to be representing their nation regardless of what the jersey looks like, but as Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee stated, “In Canada, the concept of jersey is an integral part of the DNA of our nation…. There is only one hockey jersey which unites us all – Canada’s Olympic jersey.”
And thus Canadians have united to make fun of it, well most of us.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NGNewsChris.