Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Jon Jordan on 02/01/11 at 12:22 PM ET
I’m not going to commit to complete disdain for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new uniforms, if only because that wouldn’t be fair until I’ve had the chance to see them in person. But, the first glances I got in pictures yesterday – pictures on a cell phone at that, while driving back bleary-eyed from All-Star Weekend in Raleigh – solicited much of the same negative reaction you may have heard in other circles. (Polls conducted by both the St. Pete Times and Tampa Tribune are reflecting as much so far.)
I believe one of the first things I may have said was something regarding the Lightning taking Sunday afternoon’s revealing of the NHL’s silly “Guardian Project” seriously enough to put themselves at the front of the line in the battle against Deven Dark and his minions. (Mr. Dark’s may not have been revealed as of yet but every evildoer has to have minions, no?)
Honestly, I can’t get away from the gut reaction that, in attempting to create a classic look, the Lightning have gone all superhero on us – at least with the home threads. (And lawyers for The Flash might just be meeting as we speak to consider all options.)
Picture the color scheme of the guy on the bottom to be altered to that of the fellas on the top. Eek.
I get the desire for change and the effort to “rebrand” under the new regime but, as I admitted before the switch was announced, I feared how things might end up here. Judging from initial fan reaction, which is, at best, in shoulder-shrugging mode right now, it’s going to take a while for people to warm up to the new duds, if they do at all. I’ve already received a link to one online fan petition against the new scheme, though there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of legs behind that just yet.
On the positive side of things, what I can easily get behind from yesterday’s press conference is the announcement of a jersey for every season ticket holder, complete with a microchip that, when presented at the St. Pete Times Forum, will afford the bearer 25% off concessions and 35% off merchandise. Providing every STH with a jersey is a fine concept on its own but the added bonus of giving each recipient incentive to wear their new sweaters at each Lightning home game, thanks to the innovative implanted microchip discount is brilliant.
One, you’re furthering a united culture in your home rink. (Nothing cooler than everyone –well, as many as possible – wearing the team’s color in the local barn.) Two, you’re giving back to your most loyal fans both with the jersey itself and with the discount that comes with it. (Hockey people appreciate an $8.00 beer becoming a $6.00 beer, believe me.) And finally, it’s a fine business move that I’m sure will translate to an uptick in on-site merchandise sales as well. Kudos to the club for a great idea here.
(No truth to the rumor of the chip also having homing device functionality – well, not that I know of.)
Again, I’ll withhold my final judgment until I’ve seen the new threads up close, which may or may not happen any time soon. For now, for those of you that are struggling with the new look in its early days of existence, I feel your pain.
Up, up and away!!! (Sorry, had to.)
Up next: A final look back at All-Star Weekend in Raleigh.
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