Sabres reveal tremendous jersey for Winter Classic
It’s fitting that the 2018 Winter Classic is being hosted in a baseball stadium, because the only appropriate way to describe the Sabres uniform is “home run”.
After some detailed teaser images on Tuesday, the Sabres fully unveiled their Winter Classic uniforms today, giving fans a full look at one of the best jerseys in team history.
The white uniform features a double set of stripes that call back to the 40th anniversary alternate jerseys, an updated version of the original crest and something that many fans are rejoicing over, royal blue as the primary trim.
The collaboration between the NHL, Adidas and the Sabres resulted in a phenomenal uniform which combines the best of the organization’s history and unique features which are new for the Winter Classic.
It’s hard to pinpoint the changes that were made to the primary crest, but you’ll pick them up if you look closely. The addition of “NY” was unnecessary, in my opinion, but when judged with the entire uniform, it hardly registers. While it’s probably my least favorite aspect of the jersey, I understand the impetus for including it, and the rest of the uniform is so good that it really doesn’t matter.
What’s coolest about the crest on the uniform is that it’s built with felt and faux leather, per the Sabres press release. The felt material is fairly evident in press photos but I’m very curious to see what the faux leather looks and feels like up close.
The crest isn’t the only felt feature on the jersey. The numbers and names will also feature a felt treatment, lending an additional vintage aspect to the uniform.
One thing that may go unnoticed is the ribbed collar design that calls back to vintage hockey uniforms. The collar treatment is far more traditional than the standard Adidas jerseys which debuted this year. The lack of the toilet bowl effect isn’t just good news for the Winter Classic unis but for the long term outlook as well. This opens the door for teams to tweak some of the standard Adidas features down the line, removing such unfavorable designs and features such as the collars.
My favorite piece of these jerseys is the gold charging buffalo on the left shoulder that features a Sabres wordmark in its body. The logo is dynamic, extremely attractive and something I hope to see the Sabres make more use of down the road.
Even though the league isn’t allowing alternate jerseys this season, the trend in recent years has been for teams playing in an outdoor game to get to sport their duds in at least one future home date. I’d be shocked if the Sabres and Rangers weren’t provided such an opportunity later in the year. I could even see the Sabres saving their game for fan appreciation night as a form of penance for shipping a home date to Citi Field.
There’s also a phenomenal foundation here for a future alternate jersey once the league reopens that door. Pull the pointless NY from the main crest and swap that with the gold charging buffalo on the shoulder. That would make the gold buffalo the primary logo for the jersey and the normal primary crest the shoulder logo, as it was on the pre-1996 white home jerseys. Trim the numbers in gold and you’d have yourself a pretty good looking, non-Turd Burger third jersey.
The design team behind the Sabres new uniform deserves a ton of credit. Recent jersey history hasn’t been kind to the Sabres, or their fans, but these jerseys are stunning. There’s no conceivable way for the Rangers jersey to surpass this one and I’m looking forward to seeing these on the ice on January 1.