Third Jersey in the Desert
January 20, 2009 | Kevin Zdancewicz



I’ve mentioned this in passing before, but when the NHL mandated that all of its teams use the Reebok Edge uniform system last year, it also prohibited alternate jerseys for the 2007-2008 season. That ban was lifted for the current hockey season and 18 out of the 30 NHL franchises have since introduced alternate jerseys. Each of these teams unveiled its third jersey at a different time, most opting to wait until the season was under way. However, that did not stop some designs from being leaked (as far back as last summer) or prevent rumors from swirling about potential alternate looks. Out of all of these rumored jersey concepts prior to the start of the season, I was most intrigued by that of the Phoenix Coyotes. The buzz was that the Yotes’ alternate jersey would incorporate this new logo on a black sweater to contrast with their overly brick red home uniform. I loved the potential new full-bodied, leaping coyote logo to complement the headshot howling at the moon and thought it would look great on a black jersey, even though it seems so many teams are going that route recently.

When the Phoenix alternate uniforms (featured above) were finally introduced, I have to admit I was a little bit let down. I tried to figure out what was bothering me about them, originally thinking it was the fact that the jerseys and helmets were different colors. But eleven NHL teams wear different colored jerseys and helmets as part of their home uniforms, so that couldn’t be it. Eventually, it hit me: it's the fact that the helmet is lighter than the jersey color, when usually the helmet is either darker or the same color. Seriously, check out every team's uniforms here and try to find a set similar to the Coyotes’ thirds (with helmet lighter than jersey). The red breezers (aka hockey pants) don’t help the matter, but would look fine with the new black jersey in my opinion if Phoenix had gone with black helmets. The Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers both rock red pants with darker jerseys/helmets and it looks great.

Overall, I still like the jerseys themselves – just not the entire uniform. The new logo is solid and the new shoulder patch is a nice addition as well. The red patches on the cuffs of the sleeves don’t look great, but are much less of a problem than the shiny red helmets. I like the jersey side panels when actually viewed from the side, although the white stripes serve little purpose other than cluttering the front and back of the jersey. Originally, I thought the Coyotes had the potential to unveil one of the best alternate uniforms once I saw the jersey alone. But I expected an all or mostly all-black set, with the brick red only serving as a secondary color on the jersey and socks. Though not as bad as the Coyotes’ original alternate jersey, these uniforms had the chance to be great, but now appear to be a missed opportunity.

Bonus Material: The Coyotes did a really cool thing by releasing some of the other concepts that the organization considered in designing its third jersey. I especially like the fifth one with the coyote leaping in front of desert landscape.

Photo Courtesy of Phoenix Coyotes