The 2016 NHL All-Star Game is blessed with being in Nashville. Not just for the food and the music and the fact that everything is in waking distance and doesn’t require anyone to get on stinky buses, but because the Nashville Predators have some damn fine team colors and, hence, the merchandise available for the game is pretty swaggy.
Here’s a look at the best and worst of the NHL All-Star Game gear, starting with one of the best:
You can’t have yerself a hockey game in Nashville and not have yerself a gen-uwe-ine cowboy hat!
Well, make that cowgirl hat, as these are available in the women’s section for $35.
But hey, you want the hat, you get the hat, fella. We ain’t here to judge.
Speaking of hats …
More lids from the ladies’ section, and that sparky sequined one on the left is the most NashVegas thing we’ve seen here in NashVegas.
The gear here in Nashville for women is better that we’ve seen at most NHL events. Such as:
These shirts for the ladies vs. …
These shirts for the fellas.
Which, again, aren’t bad, but not nearly as interesting.
We love NHL hats, and it could be argued that the official All-Star Game one with the jersey logo is better than the jerseys (more on those later).
They all retail for about $30 and come in a variety of different types, all with some great Nashville colors.
But we also love hats at NHL events because there are always a few atrocious ones that end up on our “worst” list, such as:
These white monstrosities. Honestly we have no idea who these are intended for, other than someone who doesn’t know how to work the contrast controls on their photo editing app. The Hurricanes logo looks like a child swirled strawberry yogurt.
But these are great. If you’re Powder.
The NHL also really came strong with the gear for kids, not only in shirts and hats but in mascot-related swag.
How many little tykes are walking around Nashville with that goalie stick autographed by all the mascots here?
And that bib! With the Detroit Red Wings octopus on it! So cute.
And only $10, so maybe the most bang-for-your-buck item at the store.
Honestly, the jerseys have grown on us. They don’t look that bad as a total package, and the yellow-accented NHL logo is pretty sharp. All that “they shimmer when the light hits them” nonsense is apparently reserved for the ones the players wear in the game.
These go for an absolutely insane $215, but hey, the NHL only gets to have one All-Star Game every year. Gary gotta eat.
Some Nashville-styled NHL pins, for those people who have large tables of pins at different sporting events and card shows. You know who you are.
This being Nashville, we can’t imagine a more appropriate display than things you can use to open your beer and then a thing you can put your beer in to keep it cool.
Foam fingers are dumb. They’ve always been dumb. They exist so editorial cartoonists can draw them on someone to identify them as a “fan.”
But foam devil horns that you throw up during a rock show are not dumb. They’re cool. And this item was rather popular at the NHL shop at the Fan Fest.
No word if they’re developing a giant foam Bic lighter for the power ballads...
OK, we’ve reached the point where we reveal the best and worst items for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.
This is the worst:
Honestly, we’re not even sure if these are available in the NHL Shop at Fan Fest, or if they’re just online. We didn't see them in the store, but we assume because they've all been repurposed as rags.
These youth hockey shirts have to be the most atrocious looking things we’ve seen. From Shop NHL:
“Your youngster has been following Alexander Ovechkin from the start, get him this 2016 All-Star Center Ice Name & Number tee so he can show off his NHL fandom in style. Showcasing his favorite player in this Levelwear shirt is sure to make him light up every time he wears it.”
("Him" ... bad news, my daughter ...)
They have them for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan McDonagh and Alex Ovechkin, and at least two of these people are actually taking part in the All-Star Game.
This shirt looks like someone printed a T-shirt transfer on their ink-jet and then spilled that gross water that collects at the bottom of outdoor ashtrays all over it. It also successfully adds piping to a T-shirt, and we all know if there’s one thing that makes NHL gear great it’s piping, right Reebok?
OK, enough of that crap. This, obviously, is the best thing in the NHL store at the All-Star Game:
But what will your children think of you if you bought it?!