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Fragile! THIS SIDE UP ^

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Courtesy of James Mirtle, and via the Boston Herald, we have this little tidbit of information to chew on this early afternoon:

"According to sources in the B’s dressing room, Reebok has been unable to correct problems with the new jerseys introduced this season across the NHL and will replace them at the company’s expense with new uniforms made of the old materials."


Talk about shameful. What happened to the glorified talk about how the jerseys would make players 8% faster? Or how they would wick away all that excess sweat?

While conversing with a friend of mine about a month ago, the topic of why is sweat building up in player's shirts -- as well as other pieces of clothing/equipment -- came up. And really, while the jerseys might be all sorts of technologically advanced and be the next best thing to sliced bread, players are still wearing the same, sweat-gathering undershirts and padding that they've always worn. Reebok must not have factored in such a thing, which goes to show how far ahead they seemed to be thinking. Changing hockey jersey material isn't as simple as changing the material for an NBA player's jersey or MLB player's uniform; those athletes don't need to worry as much about whatever they have under/around their jerseys/uniforms as much as a hockey player, who deals with elbow pads, leg pads, hockey pants, gloves, and skates.

And of course, there's still that issue about the jerseys easily turning in to shredded ribbons with just a good, hard yank during a fight between two enforcers. While I certainly believe it when players say that the material is flimsier than the original jersey material, it does surprise me when I feel the different material with my hands. I thought the EDGE seemed sturdier, just based off of the fact that it was stretchier, thus capable to handle more stress to pull. But then again, I'm not an NHL hockey player.

Still, this makes me wonder: will RBK have to do anything about jerseys that are currently in stores, considering that ... well, frankly, the "EDGE System" is being done away with (whether it's a temporary or permanent setback is debatable)? And what about the other 29 teams in the NHL? Are the Bruins the only one clamoring for replacement jerseys with the old material? Or will the other teams also be given the option to ask RBK to make them new jerseys with the old material? All out of RBK's pocket, at that.

Edit (2:06 PM ET): Uni Watch adds to the intrigue behind this story, commenting on the jersey issue after talking with a spokesperson from the NHL:

"Just spoke with an NHL spokesperson, who told me that the Boston Herald report is incorrect. As it was explained to me, Reebok has informed each team that players who have “moisture issues” with the new jerseys (i.e., lots of water ending up in their gloves and/or skates) will be given the option to have the option to wear a jersey with a new front panel made of a different high-tech material. The spokesperson maintained that there was no league-wide move to scrap the new jerseys, nor was there any move back to “old materials.”"

Well that's certainly interesting. Grabbed from Mirtle, Eric Duhatschek from the Globe & Mail gives us a bit more information on the material/fabric change:

"
“There are certain panels on the front of the jersey which are being replaced with a performance fabric, an air-knit fabric,” said Mansur. “They are being given to the players who are requesting them. There is no going back to the old jerseys, no. It’s just the use of an alternate (fabric) to resolve specific issues.”"

Well, give Reebok and the NHL credit for practically coming out, guns blazing, before this bit of news simmered and stewed any longer than it had.

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