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Preview/Lines #54: Sturm, Duclair on Why Players Love the Black in Sharks’ New Cali Fin Jerseys

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks will look a lot different tonight.

Debuting tonight, and for every February and March home game, the Sharks will wear their new Cali Fin jerseys.

San Jose chief marketing officer Doug Bentz made some waves last month when he discussed the new Cali Fin jerseys, and the decision to use the new Fin logo, as opposed to the iconic Sharks logo, as the primary crest.

“The fin, like you said, it’s something that it says Sharks hockey, but it’s not a big, animated character. People love the Shark, but it’s a little cartoonish, it’s like, ‘Hey, this is hockey,’ whereas I think the fin is just a little bit more modern and contemporary,” Bentz said. “That may appeal to a wider range of people.”

Bentz Talks Sharks’ New Cali Fin Jersey, Teases Future Looks

Die-hard Sharks fans weren’t thrilled by Bentz’s remark, though it’s worth noting, a shark chomping a hockey stick is the very definition of a cartoon. Also, Bentz’s tone wasn’t mocking, he has a lot of respect for the traditional logo.

The other controversial aspect of the CaliFin jersey is the decision to use black as the primary color. Understandably so, fans might be a little tired of black as the star of the show. That color was groundbreaking in sports more than three decades ago when Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings borrowed the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders’ black, silver, and white motif, but not so much anymore.

But?

“When it comes to sales, we continually see that our black jerseys sell well – and much better than other colors. In some regards, the proof is where people are spending versus maybe what they say,” Bentz said. “I think the players like black, it’s much more intimidating on the ice, and again, coming back to this more fashionable, wearable, for someone who does not necessarily know the whole history of Sharks jerseys and already has a teal jersey and already has a black, this to them, is a little bit more attractive than a gray jersey.”

Unprompted, Nico Sturm, who took a marketing course at Clarkson, echoed Bentz’s analysis.

“A black or white jersey, you can just wear with your street clothes, you can combine with nice sneakers, maybe a pair of jeans, just look stylish. Whereas a teal jersey, you’re going to stick out,” he said. “If you go to a bar and you wear a black jersey, any sports team, nobody’s really gonna blink an eye. But if you wear our teal jerseys?

“I don’t know if you want to get noticed all the time.”

It’s hard to argue with the combination of more robust sales and support from the people who are actually wearing the uniforms for work.

“I love the black, I think it’s unbelievable. It’s a nice design, very excited to wear it after the break. I wish we wore it tomorrow, but I’m very excited,” Anthony Duclair, the Sharks’ self-appointed King of Style, said. “All the boys love it, and it’s gonna look really good.”

Subscriber Q&A: Duclair on What Matters to Him More Than Points, Most Stylish Sharks (+)

“I think it looks clean. I don’t like when there’s too much going on, in terms of like colors and themes and things on the jersey. Black looks clean,” Sturm said.

Duclair agreed: “It’s nice, it’s stealth, it’s clean, it looks mean. If you don’t like the color, I don’t know what to tell you, to be honest, I’m not on your side, but I love it. It’s great, it’s nice, and I just think, as a team, on the ice skating around with black jerseys just looks so much better.”

San Jose Sharks (15-33-5)

Kaapo Kahkonen will get the start. Kevin Labanc comes in for Jacob MacDonald, and Nikita Okhotiuk enters for Kyle Burroughs.

Projected lines:

Zetterlund-Granlund-Duclair
Barabanov-Eklund-Kunin
Zadina-Sturm-Labanc
Hoffman-Carpenter-Bailey

Ferraro-Rutta
Vlasic-Emberson
Okhotiuk-Addison

Columbus Blue Jackets (16-26-10)

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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