The “Reverse Retro” style adapted to the All-Star Game jerseys

It all started with a post on Twitter.

As adidas team members gathered to determine what the Honda 2023 NHL All-Star Game jerseys might look like in preparation for the Feb. 4 event at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla. (15 h ET; TVAS, CBC, SN, ABC, ESPN+), they realized that the NHL had already helped them in their search.

On Jan. 28, 2022, the NHL’s Twitter account posted photos of past All-Star Game jerseys and posed the question, « Which one is your favorite? » »

“It was a great opportunity to listen to people on social media,” said adidas Senior Hockey Designer Matty Merrill. “I spent two or three hours scrolling through the comments of NHL fans across the country – and the globe for that matter – and tallying up the likes. We are always listening to feedback from fans. But it is rare that we have such statistics, where we can literally count the votes. »

And they got their answer.

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« The 1994 jersey with the huge star was everyone’s favorite, » Merrill said. Everything worked out perfectly this time. »

Merrill and the adidas team decided that they were going to apply a « Reverse Retro » color mix to the jerseys designed for the 1994, 1996 and 1997 All-Star Game editions. In doing so, they resurrected a very popular jersey concept for one of the showpiece events of the NHL season.

« We were able to say, ‘You asked the fans, and the fans spoke up,' » Merrill explained.

Another element fit perfectly: the 1994 All-Star Game was the first in which Florida Panthers players participated, in their inaugural season nearly 30 years ago.

There are two concepts, one for the Eastern Association and another for the Western Association, as was the case in 1994. The name of the association surrounds a puck bearing the image of the NHL in orange and black. This is the first time since 2009 that teams will be identified by East and West on their jerseys. The puck and the NHL logo on the collar in orange and black are a nod to the old colors of the League.

While sticking to the 1994 concept, adidas chose colors that are typical of South Florida – an electric blue called Biscay Blue and a hot pink flamingo that add punch to the mostly black and white jerseys.

« Having designed a lot of ‘Reverse Retro’ jerseys, it’s often the case that we know exactly where we’re going with a classic jersey, incorporating a team’s current colors into it, » Merrill said. In this case, we’ve stretched the definition of « Reverse Retro » to add culture-specific colors.

« South Florida has such a vibrant and electric culture, and we thought we’d start looking at images of South Florida sunsets and neon lights, to decide what colors to use on the jerseys. We wanted it to mean not only to everyone who voted and the NHL fans around the world who loved this All-Star Game jersey, but also to the hosts of the event. We wanted Florida to feel on the jersey. »

Novelty and a retro look have been behind the huge success of « Reverse Retro » jerseys since their launch in 2020. NHL star players will be sporting jerseys that have already been worn by many of the biggest names of the 1990s, from legends like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Chris Chelios, Raymond Bourque, Patrick Roy and Eric Lindros.

“If you ask the players who will be playing in the All-Star Game this year to name their favorite player from the 1990s, they will definitely name a player who has already worn this jersey,” said Merrill.

That’s what makes them so unique: the memories of those great players and all the nostalgia combined in a Florida-flavored jersey.

« It’s like coming full circle, » Merrill said. As if the curtain was closing on the « Reverse Retro » concept. We’ve done it for all 32 teams in all 32 markets and now we’re doing it for one last time with a « Reverse Retro » jersey that all teams are going to wear at the same time. »

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