Unlike Team USA and Team Russia, Team Canada opted not to debut their new Olympic jerseys as their recent Olympic orientation camp. They haven't even announced a date yet for the unveiling.
But we're pretty sure Jonathan Toews, a lock to be on the team, got a sneak peek, and even the opportunity to be photographed in it. Here's a picture snapped during the 2013 NHL Player Media Tour on Thursday in Newark. It seems a safe bet that this is Team Canada's new sweater:
(UPDATE: Getty has pulled this photo from their site, if you needed any further evidence that these were the real deal.)
Your first clue: the Nike logo. Your second, much larger clue: take a close look at Toews' neck. Notice the zig-zagging pattern? Here. We'll zoom in on it:
That's that heinous, heinous fake lace print I and many others mocked Team USA mercilessly for, before realizing that Team Russia had them as well, at which point it began to dawn on us that this might be something Nike was doing for all the Olympic jerseys.
Sure looks like it. Crud.
Either way, if this isn't Team Canada's official jersey, it's clearly a new product, because those laces are a brand new design.
As for the rest of the jersey, I don't hate it. It's a little simple and it kind of has that practice jersey vibe that so many teams seem to be going for all of a sudden, but I like the maple leaf cresting flatly over the red base -- a change from 2010's leaf, which had the usual corners. (The Maple Leaf had a flat base during thee 1972 Summit Series. Is this an homage to that?)
Note the gold border around the leaf, too. Gold, eh? That's a tad ballsy, no?
The "Canada" written in a minimalist script underneath it is a nice touch too.
I'm especially fond, however, of one thing, and I'm sure that while we won't all agree on whether or not this is a nice piece of apparel, we can all agree on this: the jersey appears to be without tiny maple leaves all over the shoulders, and that's great news, because it means we can continue to make fun of the Team USA jersey's stupidest innovation. (There does appear to be something shiny, though. Please just be glare. Please just be glare. Oh god, please just be glare.)
With that, I'd say Canada takes an early lead, if indeed these are the duds they'll be wearing in Sochi.