Close your eyes and picture the city of Dallas at night, what do you see? I’m betting many of you pictured the green lights outlining downtown’s Bank Of America Plaza – the tallest structure in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Like green stars aligning in perfect constellation to form an imposing, towering force. I think you know where I’m going with that.
How important is a team uniform? Some may argue not very, but I would argue against that. Of course winning is always number one – but a team’s uniform is as important as one’s family shield and becomes the color of the very blood that pumps through the veins of every die hard fan. My blood has been green; gold; and various degrees of black for darn near 30 years now and I’m not about to go for a transfusion.
Almost instantly after the Stars current RBK uniforms were introduced in 2007, the groans began. In going for a simple; modern yet classic look – they traded in eye-popping and unique for dull and boring. While both home and away uniforms lack color, having a simple wordmark across the chest in favor of a symbol has only added to the blandness.
Since Tom Gaglardi was introduced as the team’s new owner one year ago, uniform talk has only accelerated. Going by what Mr.Gaglardi has said in interviews, it seems a new look is immanent indeed. But how new are we talking here? Many different rumors about colors have been thrown around – from a more throwback North Stars-type look, to a complete color overhaul with colors like navy blue; red; and silver being thrown around.
A big decision lies in the hands of the powers that be and in the end, Mr. Gaglardi. Lots to consider here, and I would put the following at the forefront:
There’s been template alterations over the years, and we saw the North Stars “N” converted to the current ST/\RS symbol back in 1991. We saw a slight change in the shade of green; yellow has turned to gold; and we’ve even seen the dominant color go from green to black. Through the alterations, there isn’t one uniform or symbol in franchise history that doesn’t have both green and yellow/gold – whether the jersey itself is dominated by green or dominated by black – the scheme is involved in every single uniform since the birth of the franchise back in 1967. We’re not as entrenched in history as the original six teams for the obvious fact that we haven’t been around as long, but we’re “The Next Six” and make no mistake, this franchise has a long standing identity in the hockey world and a stranglehold on a great color scheme to work with. To those who wish to argue, refer to the jersey plaque above and then get back to me.
Since the Hartford Whalers moved to Carolina back in 1997, the only teams to even use green in their full-time uniforms at all have been Vancouver (green and blue) and Minnesota (green and red). Blue is currently used in 15 of the 30 NHL franchises color schemes, while red also makes its mark on exactly half of the entire league. The only color combination the league has ever seen that was remotely close to the one synonymous with the Stars was that used by the short lived California Seals. Do we want to blend in, or would we rather standout?
If it aint broke
Does the traditional color scheme truly need an overhaul? Or is it just something to do for the sake of it? I can see if the Stars were a team like say the Phoenix Coyotes, who once sported one of the worst looking uniforms in the history of hockey itself. In a case like that, there’s a definite need to do something drastic. But the fact is, there is no need for anything drastic where the Stars colors are concerned. If you go back to the greener star template they introduced in their Cup winning season of 1999, as well as the sets they wore as the North Stars back in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, this franchise has sported some of the most popular uniforms in NHL history. When you can make even fans of other teams go out and purchase your jersey, that’s when you know you have a winner.
Give em what they want
When the North Stars switched to predominantly black uniforms in 1991 after 24 seasons of kelly green, it was at a time when black uniforms were a popular trend in sports. The market was ready for it, as evident by the through-the-roof sales of the Los Angeles Kings black and silver. It seemed as time went on though, fans were ready to see a greener, brighter version. When the star patterned third was brought out in the Cup winning season of 1999, they were an absolute hit and even became the permanent road uniform for the playoffs. The following season saw a home version of the uniform added and the new permanent look was a homerun.
But alas, Reebok took over and the template for that jersey was apparently “impossible”, so Stars brass came up with the boring color-less uniforms we’ve been complaining about for the last five seasons. It seems the more the team has gotten away from a traditionally colored, brighter looking Stars uniform (Mooterus included), the more fans yearn to see that reversed. If you’ve scoured the net at all the past couple years, it seems to be what most Stars fans are wanting to see – a brighter, greener, traditionally colored uniform. And other than winning, nothing builds a better relationship with fans better than saying to them, “You matter.”
Classic/throwback is in
Let’s take a lesson from the Buffalo Sabres – who traded in their traditional blue and yellow for the black, red, and grey uniforms we saw in the 1999 Cup Final (GOAL!). Eventually they heeded their fans cries and to a degree of 99%, have recently returned to their classic, timeless look – which for my money is one of the nicest looking uniforms in the league. The Philadelphia Flyers have returned to a brighter throwback looking orange, and the Edmonton Oilers have recently returned to their classic looking Grezky-era blue and orange silks after about a decade of a darker blue mixed with copper and red. Both are wildly popular and are among the top sellers league wide. The Stars dropped the ball in 2007, but the iron is still hot and they can certainly strike hard with it now.
This franchise has seen the late Bill Goldsworthy do the “Goldy Shuffle” after every goal; miracle runs to the Cup Final in both 1981 and 1991; Steve Payne score the franchise’s only game 7 overtime playoff goal; Brett Hull fire the puck passed Dominik Hasek in triple overtime for our lone Stanley Cup victory; and its greatest player ever skating around the ice in tears with the Cup raised above his head; and it all happened in different variations of green and gold.
This is indeed a turning point for this franchise’s identity. Do we group ourselves in with those teams who have traditionally kept the same basic color scheme forever and have forged definite identities in the hockey world? Or do we go the route of a team like the Vancouver Canucks – a team who truly has zero identity as they’ve swapped out colors more often than Elizabeth Taylor swapped husbands? The answer is clear to me – go with what you have right in the palm of your hands that has proved to be a winner in the past.
A bird in the hand, as they say. A green and gold bird that stands out from all the rest.
I’ve included a few of my favorite mock-ups. There could be tweaks some would prefer here and there, but overall they show how much we have to work with. Personally I prefer an overall retro looking uni with our current ST/\RS symbol on the chest and green helmets, but any of these would be great improvements and are at least great jump-offs.
Thanks for reading. Comments are more than appreciated. Please check me out on Twitter at travcurrie