It’s an NHL first: Every team will participate in a league-wide alternate jersey program for the 2020-21 season.
This “Reverse Retro” series, brought to you by adidas, celebrates and re-mixes classic jerseys from every NHL city’s past. The league has not announced when each team will wear the alternate jerseys.
The San Jose Sharks’ Reverse Retro jersey, inspired by their 1998-99 kit, is noteworthy because of its emphasis on gray as opposed to the team’s signature teal.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) November 16, 2020
San Jose Hockey Now caught up with San Jose Sharks vice president of marketing and digital Doug Bentz to get the low-down on the Reverse Retro jerseys, how often the Sharks will wear them, and other 30th anniversary plans.
Sheng Peng: Obviously, there’s no 2020-21 schedule yet, but how often do you anticipate the Sharks wearing their Reverse Retro jerseys?
Doug Bentz: [Pre-COVID], it was going to be worn 2-4 times within a two-month time frame.
My sense is — and this hasn’t been confirmed — the league will have a little bit more flex in terms of how and when teams want to wear them. So in some cases, maybe teams wearing them more, some cases maybe teams wearing them less.
From our perspective, we’d probably be in the camp that wants to wear it a little more. The timing of this was perfect for us because it’s our 30th anniversary — we have some things we’re looking to roll out in terms of celebrating the history. The reverse retro plays right into that.
We’ll need to see when the schedule comes out. I’d say maybe four or five times, if I were to guess.
SP: What elements of the Reverse Retro were Adidas, what were the Sharks?
DB: The whole thing was a collaboration. The Reverse Retro concept obviously was spurred from adidas and the NHL.
But we started talking to adidas and their designers kind of from scratch about what we wanted it to look like.
It being a throwback uniform, we thought about what uniform made sense. What we thought would play.
We settled on the 1998. That general design was our first alternate jersey. As a team, it was our first jersey experimentation. There were good parallels with that one.
And obviously, it became our primary home jersey through a pretty important era of our team’s history.
That combined with the fact we have the [2015-16] Heritage jersey that we’d worn during our last anniversary year — this was going to be something new.
We settled on [the 1998] being the one we wanted to focus on. And from there, we started experimenting.
Do we want to do orange? It was a little too much when we looked at that. We looked at gray, we looked at black.
Settled on gray — one, it was brand-new. Two, it really makes that original crest pop.
I still hear from people to this day that would love to bring back that original crest. So that just had to be part of the new jersey.
Finally, taking the modern touches of all the new adidas jerseys, whether it be the messaging on the collar, the new fit and design, the small little jersey aspects that adidas ties into everything — that’s where they polished it off.
SP: Why weren’t the ’91 jerseys used as the template?
DB: If you’ll wait a little longer, maybe you’ll understand.
SP: We’ve seen the 30th anniversary patch and the original logo is also on the Retro Reverse — based on what you’re saying, there are more jersey nods to the original jerseys on the way?
DB: Yes, that’s an accurate statement. There’s more coming around the 30th anniversary that we’re looking forward to announcing very soon. Stay tuned for that.
Whether it’s locally or nationally, our original ’91 jerseys are still at the top of a lot of jersey lists.
One, we’re very keen on trying to make sure we give the fans what they want. And two, with it being such a great and admired jersey, it’s hard to maybe do a lot of experimentation with it.
Just another reason why we went with a different jersey, where it wasn’t so sacred.
SP: Just doing the math here: You have the current home and away uniforms. You have the Reverse Retro. Assuming you keep the Stealth, the current alternate jersey. Does that mean the San Jose Sharks will wear five jerseys next year?
DB: I don’t think there will be five. (laughs) Stay tuned for more from the 30th anniversary. That’s what I’ll ask you to ask everyone else to do.
adidas Reverse Retro ADIZERO Authentic jerseys go on sale December 1st at the Sharks Store at SAP Center. Go to the Sharks Store online for curbside pick-up. You can also visit the Solar4America Ice at San Jose Pro Shop, adidas, and the NHL Shop, with a wider release on December 6th.