Breathe easy, Bruins fans.
The hellish amalgam of Windows 95 ClipArt and self-loathing that is the “Pooh Bear” logo doesn’t appear to be going back into Boston’s rotation of jerseys any time soon.
Rather, the Original Six franchise is set to welcome back a classic design of yesteryear as part of the NHL's new “Reverse Retro” line of revamped jerseys — as Boston unveiled its new alternate sweater for the upcoming 2021 season on Monday morning.
The design borrows heavily from Boston’s primary sweater from the 1980s through the mid-’90s — featuring the classic, simplified Spoked B and that crazy bear logo that is miles ahead of the “Pooh Bear” in terms of its charm and pure nostalgia.
Per the team release: “The Reverse Retro treatment was given to the classic white uniform worn at home at the Boston Garden for 15 years, including the 1988 and 1990 Stanley Cup Finals. The shoulder patch features a fan-favorite bear crest to complement the traditional spoked-B. Honored numbers Ray Bourque and Cam Neely both donned the ‘90s version of these threads before having each of their numbers retired to the rafters at today’s TD Garden."
The Bruins and the remaining 30 NHL clubs will all don "Reverse Retro" jerseys this season — marking the first time in League history that all 31 teams have participated in a league-wide alternate jersey program. Each team will wear these new sweaters multiple times during the 2021 season, with specific dates to be announced at a later time.
“Hockey fans love retro jerseys and Reverse Retro is a great opportunity for adidas to work closely with the NHL and all 31 teams to bring back a design from a meaningful point in team history with a unique twist,” said Dan Near, Senior Director at adidas Hockey. “Our goal from day one has been to work with the NHL and all of the teams to bring creativity, innovation, and energy to the sport with all that we do. What better way to do that than to bring together the nostalgia of historical moments in each team’s history with something new via designs that have never been seen before in the sport.”
Boston has unveiled a number of retro sweaters over the last decade — including three Winter Classic jerseys that primarily paid tribute to some classic threads from the '30s-'50s. Using that classic design from the Bourque/Neely era as a template was a fantastic pick by Boston — highlighting an era that still resonates with plenty of B's fans, while incorporating motifs that aren't remotely as dated as some of the fashion faux pas that a "Pooh Bear" jersey would feature.
I'm going to wait until we get the full ensemble (how are they paired with pants/socks/gloves/helmet) before handing out my final verdict on these new jerseys — but I'm impressed with what we've seen so far. Boston was due for a gold sweater after primarily focusing on a darker palette of colors for most of their alternates over the past decade, while a refreshing take on this now-"retro" design was overdue, given the number of classic uniforms that Boston has cycled through for close to a century.
And any day in which the horrid visage that is the "Pooh Bear" jersey remains locked away in a warehouse – a la the Ark from "Raiders" — is a good day, in my book.
Where exactly do they rank in our favorite B's sweaters of all time? Click below to find out:
As for what "Reverse Retro" jerseys stood out — and which ones fell flat — here's a look at my favorite (and least favorite) designs:
Top 3 Favorite:
No. 3 - Minnesota Wild
Rather than pull a classic move out of the Hurricanes' playbook and just snag the design of a former franchise (the people of Hartford remain FURIOUS), the Wild did a more subtle move by melding their sweater with the color scheme of the Minnesota North Stars. Not too shabby.
No. 2 - St. Louis Blues
The Blues already have some of the cleanest sweaters in the NHL, and they should be applauded for just "going for it" with these sweaters. If you're going to go wild with a new design, at least make them stand out — and St. Louis checked off plenty of boxes with this design.
No. 1 - Los Angeles Kings
Now, this is how you do a "Reverse Retro" jersey. This design, which harkens back to those classic sweaters from the late '80s - early '90s, has a color scheme that absolutely pops and is a fantastic departure from the club's regular drab black-and-silver design. L.A. knocked one out of the park here.
Top 3 Least Favorite:
No. 3 - Dallas Stars
Maybe Dallas simply ran out of dye after unveiling these trippy neon, Monster-Energy0inspired unis last month, because there's wayyyyyy too much white and silver here. The NHL might need to bring back its "glowing puck" technology in order to keep track of these guys on the ice.
No. 2 — New York Islanders
I mean, guys — the opportunity to bring back those "Fisherman" jerseys was RIGHT THERE.
No. 1 - Detroit Red Wings:
I mean, listen, the Red Wings didn't exactly have a whole lot to work with. Detroit has about as much variance in their wardrobe as Steve Jobs, but man these are booooooooring. If the league really wanted to go for it with these sweaters, you'd think they'd come up with something that would create a bit more buzz for a historic team that, well, is in need of some buzz these days. It's not like the Red Wings haven't hit on revamped designs before. Just a snoozefest here.