I wrote a piece for the “Fix it Friday” feature over at SportsLogos.Net but they decided not to run it, so I’m posting it here.
The idea of that feature is to take the uniform set of a sports team and point out what’s wrong with it, then propose an alternative. My focus was the new alternate jersey of the NHL’s New York Islanders. What follows is slightly edited from my original text, as I don’t need to follow the same format here as I would there.
The New York Islanders unveiled their new alternate jersey two weeks ago. A departure from their blue and orange standard set, the alternate is black and white, mimicking the color scheme of their new landlords, the Brooklyn Nets.
Though statements at the unveiling of this jersey say otherwise, the new Islanders jersey doesn’t tie into the team’s history at all. It could be any team’s jersey. It doesn’t tie into a history of four consecutive Stanley Cups, even with four stripes to represent those wins. It doesn’t share anything with the modernization of that set worn in the late 1990s into the Reebok Edge era. It (thankfully) doesn’t evoke memories of their previous departure from the norm: the Fishstick jerseys.
And – again, despite what team executive say – it’s not supposed to.
While this doesn’t in any way say “Islanders,” it screams “Brooklyn” (at least the Brooklyn brand that the Barclays Centre team is trying to build). Minimalist and a little retro, with rounded fonts.
As such, there are two ways to look at this. Is it a successful New York Islanders jersey? Not in the slightest. Is it a successful Brooklyn hockey jersey? Based on the brand they’re trying to build there, I think so. That said, there are still issues with it.
The minimalist version of the Islanders’ current primary logo – stripped down to just the connected “NY” – works well as an alternate logo for the team, as it did on their Stadium Series jerseys. Additionally the “B-with-stripes” alternate logo that appears on a tag at the hem of the jersey looks good, as does the BKLYN logo on the helmet that makes use of the Y from the primary.
The inclusion of a white hem stripe at the waist of the jersey, breaking up what would otherwise be an all-black body, is a big factor towards making the color choices work for me. Those stripes also being used at the cuffs of the sleeves is a good bit of consistency.
Similarly, the contrasting-color collar helps break things up, though, as I’ll get to below, I don’t think it’s quite enough.
The thing that supposedly ties these Brooklyn-themed jerseys back to the New York Islanders franchise is also the thing that was most poorly executed. Four stripes, one representing each of the team’s Stanley Cup Championships. These stripes appear on each arm and on each sock, but they’re far too thin to appear very visible during game play. They get lost. Even when modeled on a white background, they appear more like a musical staff than anything athletic.
Speaking of tying into the past, on a black-and-white jersey the use of orange for the four stripes in the crest logo is jarring. The blue and orange Brooklyn shoulder patch on a black background also has this problem, as do the helmet logo and the hem tag logo.
The hem tag logo is something else I take issue with. Not the logo itself, which I mentioned liking, but the placement. Those hem tags won’t be visible on the ice, they’re just included for the fans wearing them in the concourse.
Finally, I’’m not sold on the number font. It’’s unique across the NHL but it feels very overbearing. It’s a big, bulky font – with just a little bit of rounding that feels like a throw-in.
The sleeve and sock stripes are made thicker, making them more visible. A white shoulder yoke is added, breaking up the solid black look and giving the blue an orange shoulder patch something to pop off of. A white stripe is added to the side of the pants and the “B” logo is moved to the bottom of that stripe, replacing the redundant “NY” logo. Orange is swapped out for white. A more rounded font is used for the numbers.
There’s no undoing the revolutionary change that is going to black and white for the Islanders. What we can do is clean up some of the mistakes they made in the process. Bolder stripes, rounder numbers, and removal of jarring colors gets us that. It ends up with a retro-modern look that the Brooklyn organization seems to have been going for.