We are gathered here this morning to remember the Atlanta Thrashers' blight on the NHL -- better known as their third jersey.
They arrived in November 2008, back when Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) was still in Atlanta and Don Waddell was making terrible decisions behind the bench and in the front office. When the design first leaked, we didn't find them terrible. But when we actually saw the players wearing them … well, it looked like someone had taken an indoor lacrosse jersey, gave a yellow crayon to an irresponsible young child and said "have at it."
The essential problem with these jerseys -- besides the fact they seemed to be stitched together from several other terrible sweaters -- was that the Atlanta Thrashers had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars branding their home ice as Blueland, from the color of their usual jerseys to the color of the partitions in the rink glass.
And really, what better way to reinforce that marketing message than with a third jersey THAT DOESN'T HAVE A THREAD OF BLUE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED ON IT?!
Last week, Ben Wright of Blueland Blog broke the news that the third jerseys will not return:
After launching in the fall of 2008 and being worn for three seasons as an alternate home jersey the red Thrashers jersey is being retired. The Thrashers will return to the basics next season and stick with their regular home and road uniforms with no third jersey in 2011-12.
I like slightly oversized shoulder patches and the stripes on the sleeves. And I was always on the fence about the socks and the odd elements on the sides of the jersey. But after years of seeing it over and over again I've been unable to reconcile the front of that uniform. It's just not what a hockey uniform should look like.
It's not, which is why the Thrashers' thirds were the fifth-worst jersey of the last decade.
No, it didn't feature a diagram of the female reproductive system. And no, it didn't feature a logo as heinous as the Buffaslug. It was just an unsightly, messy look that was counterproductive for the team's branding; a misfire that wasn't not even bad enough to be a memorable third-jersey disaster like this one.
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