According to a report on Sportslogos.net via Rick Westhead of TSN and Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, Adidas will be taking over from Reebok as the official jersey maker of the NHL in 2017-18.
Adidas reportedly beat out UnderArmour and Bauer to become the new supplier, although Adidas is not really much of a departure from Reebok, due to the two companies being under the same corporate umbrella. The deal, when announced, should be worth more than twice as much per season than the one with Reebok, according to Sportslogos.net’s Chris Creamer.
Creamer’s Sportslogos.net report brings up the question of whether the new Adidas-made jerseys will include the company’s trademark three stripes in the design of each team’s jersey. He does not seem to think that this is going to be a possibility for the NHL jerseys (although he does concede that the international jerseys – Adidas will be making the jerseys for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey – may include this design element). Another possibility brought up is if ads will finally be making their debuts on NHL game jerseys. Creamer seems to think that this, at least, may be more plausible
Reebok took over the league-wide contract in 2007-08 with the RBKEdge system, according to Creamer’s article. This changed the traditional hockey jersey from the cut used for decades previous by companies like CCM, Starter, Koho and Nike and replaced it with a more streamlined, form-fitting jersey. This jersey cut was less well received by fans. Adidas, one would assume, would be using a similar cut and “system” to what Reebok has been using due to their being within the same corporate structure.
Adidas had previously held the contract to make the jerseys for the NBA’s 30 teams (they lost the contract to Nike for the upcoming 2017-18 season) according to a post on Sportslogos.net, but are no strangers to hockey. They have supplied jerseys to various college teams over the years, as well as making international jerseys and, according to NHLuniforms.com, worked with the Los Angeles Kings in the early-to-mid 1980s in making their jerseys.
Although not much will probably change, since Reebok and Adidas are corporate partners, where will this leave the Devils? When Lou Lamoriello was here, fans knew that the jerseys would not change and there would be no third jersey, since Lou’s philosophy was that players should be proud to wear a jersey and the history and tradition that it represents. With Lou gone, what will the future hold for the New Jersey Devils’ uniforms? Only time will tell on that, but any choice to change would most likely be a team-based decision, not one made by Adidas. If anything, as a guess, the Devils may simply opt to add a third jersey, one which they have never had on a full-time basis.
Now as far as ads on the jerseys go, many fans in every sport have made their feelings known on this. Forsaking tradition and legacy for a few extra bucks is tarnishing a team’s history. Only NHL ownership’s greed (or lack thereof) will make that decision, but count me out of any jersey with ads on it. Again, previously, I would have guessed that the Devils would never go down the ad route, but with all of the changes the organization has made in the past few months, I am not sure of anything anymore.
In the end, we will see how it shakes down with Adidas taking over the NHL’s jersey contract. New possibilities for teams to change their uniforms are nice, but hopefully things do not get too crazy.