I don’t get all the hate for the NJ Devils’ new jersey (Opinion)
And this is coming from a Rangers fan.
In November the New Jersey Devils unveiled their new alternate jersey to mixed reviews at best.
Fans have been clamoring for a black third jersey for a long time as the Devils were one of the few remaining holdouts. Only the Detroit Red Wings and the expansion Seattle Kraken now remain as the two teams without a third jersey.
People seem to be the most hung up on the fact they dropped the "New" from New Jersey and omitted the famous Devils logo.
Do I need to remind you that these are alternate jerseys and not the beginnings of a permanent rebrand? They're just changing it up every once in a while. 13 games this season to be exact.
As far as the "New" is concerned, what is so special about it? We are lucky to live in a place so identifiable, the "New" is optional. Drop the "New" in New York and what do you get? Oh, I'm sorry, are you referring to the mid-sized college town in southern Pennsylvania?
Yes, I know, there is an island off the coast of the U.K. named Jersey. But two words out of your mouth and everyone will know that you are not from the largest of the Channel Islands. You're from ... like Sayreville or something.
Mike here took the redesign personally:
I never knew this to be an unwritten rule. I use both: New Jersey and Jersey. But I drop the "New" when I'm really pressed for time.
Some people can't get over how literal having the word "Jersey" on a jersey is. In fact, the Devils were teased about it by other NHL teams.
But the Devils are in on the joke.
The meaning behind the Devils' new jersey
So if you can get over yourselves just a little bit, let's talk about the meaning behind the jersey.
Instead of just mailing it in and having a third jersey for the sake of having a third jersey and hoping for a spike in merchandise sales, the Devils creatively paid homage to their team history and the Garden State.
Devils legend Martin Brodeur, who had a hand in the jersey's design, decided it should have 21 stripes, one for each New Jersey county. And the design is inspired by hockey teams from years' past that used to call New Jersey home. Specifically the Newark Bulldogs, Jersey Larks, and River Vale Skeeters.
Brodeur then managed to include the five retired player numbers on the jersey's left shoulder: Ken Daneyko #3, Scott Stevens #4, Patrik Elias #26, Scott Niedermayer #27, and Martin Brodeur #30.
On the inside neck, you'll see the years the Devils won the Stanley Cup in silver lettering: '95, '00, '03. Brodeur says the silver signifies the shine you see when the Stanley Cup reflects back at you.
So, where's the problem here Devils fans?
Your team's greatest legend designed the damn thing. You have been asking for a black third jersey for what feels like a decade. North AND South Jersey are represented. And your team's all-time greats and Stanley Cup victories are incorporated.
Seeing the Devils wear these jerseys should be cool enough. But it also sounds like a great collector's item.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.