Get it? Sweater song? Like…a hockey sweater?! What Would You Do Wednesday returns!
A day after a tough loss, I thought it would be better if we took a little breather from the talk of lineup adjustments and the questioning of certain players’ usage (whose numbers may add up to 54, I ain’t saying who), and their continued existence on the roster over others.
Let’s embrace a topic I know will unify us. Those sweet, sweet retro sweaters that the Flames are going to bust out on Thursday. I know that they are immensely popular among Flames fans but I am curious how many fans would cast off their current robes for a return to the retro? Let’s flesh it out after the jump.
Before we engage in a spirited debate about which sweaters are the best and which, if any, should be adopted to usurp their current homes, I thought we should go on a stroll down memory lane.
Let’s start off with these puppies. I am going to use Theo as my model for the various choices because he is the best. No room for debate there. He is the man. From 1980-94, the Flames wore these and I don’t have to remind you that there were some pretty good players and some pretty good times in these silks.
Then, in an attempt to make the Flames appearance worse in accordance with their play, the Flames went in a different direction from 1995-2000. The Flames re-designed their sweater to have bizarre bars supporting the flaming C for reasons I cannot comprehend here in 2015, but maybe it made more sense at the time. Looking back now, these sweaters, honest to god, look like a design on MS Paint. Let’s have a look at these ones shall we?
Not the best action pose of Theo’s to be sure, but we must acknowledge that he had a kickass Jofa helmet and a Titan stick. This picture could double as a time-capsule. For me personally, these were the Flames jerseys of my youth, the team I grew up with. I got to meet Sasha Lakovic, Paul Kruse, and Zarley Zalapski while they were in these sweaters. As you may have guessed by that murderers row of players, the Flames weren’t great in those years…
However, the Flames decided to go abstract with their alternate jersey in 1998 and unveiled what I can confidently state as the most polarizing sweater in Flames history. “The…Satanic Fire-Horse” or as they are known around these parts (though I do not know who coined this…perhaps BoL?) Ol’ Blasty.
Theo went all-Nike in those days and man did I ever want that gear. However, being a youngster most of my gear was from Sports Swap (RIP) and they didn’t see much Nike Ignite or Quest gear, even though it was mostly garbage from what I’ve been told.
This sweater started as an alternate, but from 2000-03, it was the primary road sweater for the Flames. It was also the last variant of the Flames sweater worn by Theo, so I will have to make a minor detour from Theo as my primary model.
Here’s Martin Gelinas modeling the Flames primary home sweaters from 2000-03, and roads from 03-07. Essentially, while these sweaters were the homes, not a lot of good happened. However, when the league switched to darks at home, the Flames busted out a very popular sweater.
I don’t think I really have to add much here. Just seeing Gelinas in this sweater makes me feel things. Good things. It’s also worth noting that the Flames kept Blasty around until the 2006-07 season, when they ditched the alternate altogether. The NHL moved into the Reebok Edge era and the Flames changed their sweaters with them in 2006-07, and that gave us the home and away that are still used.
Let me be clear, I don’t hate these sweaters, I mean they are certainly an improvement from the mid-nineties ones. I do feel like they are unremarkable enough that a change certainly wouldn’t be the worst, especially to a sweater that is far more popular. I am not a fan of the shoulder patches, specifically the Canadian flag, but maybe I am crazy.
However, the Flames started opting for a retro throw-back jersey beginning in 2009 and man, were they ever popular. It just seemed right, seeing the Flames back in those colours and it seemed as though it was inevitable that the Flames would opt for them full-time (following the lead of the smoking crater of a franchise to the north).
So, let’s get into this. The Flames are unlikely to change their home or road sweaters next season but did introduce a new sweater last season, the largely lukewarmly reviewed and possibly cursed thirds that they currently wear. The retros were worn once last season when they ‘honoured’ Joe Nieuwendyk and they will only be worn once this year, this coming Thursday.
After the success of Phoenix’s throwback night earlier this month, I think that other NHL franchise’s will begin to embrace their tacky 90s past which means we are close to a ‘Burger King’0, ‘Duck Bursting Through Ice’, and yes I think a return of the ‘Blasty’.
What are your thoughts on the Flames current home sweaters? Do you like them? Have you grown tired of them? Would you support a change to the retros full-time? Re-design the whole thing again? Re-adopt Blasty as your sweater king?
Personally, I am completely on-board with adopting the retros full-time but, full disclosure, I have few memories of watching that team play in them. Perhaps they aren’t as novel to those who saw them play in them for 15 years. Or maybe that nostalgia makes them even more palatable? I don’t know. All I know is I am excited for Thursday just to see those silks again. Let me know what you guys think!