After a morning practice earlier this season, a curious Kings player stopped a team equipment manager in the locker room.
With the Kings’ Stadium Series outdoor game against the Colorado Avalanche approaching, the player wanted to know what color helmets the team would wear when it took the ice at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium on Feb. 15.
He was surprised by the answer.
“Chrome,” the staffer said.
“Chrome?” the player parroted back, sounding slightly unsure at the extremely unconventional palette choice.
Indeed, when the team officially unveiled its Stadium Series uniforms Friday, shiny chrome helmets adorned the black-and-white Adidas-manufactured uniforms that were inspired by the historic P-51 Mustang fighter jets once built in Southern California factories.
“It’s one of the most iconic planes to have an impact on our nation,” Kings and AEG Sports Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman said in a release. “We wanted to draw an inspiration around the P-51 Mustang with Adidas as we designed the jersey.
“Our fanbase is incredibly connected to the aviation industry. The state of California and the city of Los Angeles have a rich heritage related to the industry. From Howard Hughes to some of the first test pilot planes created here in L.A. We wanted to tap into that.”
The Kings’ meeting with the Avalanche in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be its fourth outdoor game in franchise history, and the 33rd in league history.
In addition to the chrome helmets, the team will wear half-white, half-black jersey with the block letters “LA” horizontally-spelled out across the front; black breezer pants; white gloves; black, silver and white socks; and jersey numbers with military-style horizontal slants.
“That was important to us, to make it different and cool,” Kings President Luc Robitaille said. “We like it if our players like it, that’s No. 1. But on this one, Adidas and the league wanted to go a little bit [different]. You have the ski-mountain, almost snowboarder look. We like the military look, that’s what you have on the numbers. You try to do something that your fans will enjoy, either getting it or seeing it.”
The uniform reveal — the helmets especially — received mixed reactions on social media from fans, typical for the edgy designs that accompany most outdoor game outfits.
It's ugly every stadium jersey the kings have were ugly— Its Marc (@Marc_Geer) January 17, 2020
In their previous Stadium Series games, in 2014 at Dodger Stadium and 2015 at Levi’s Stadium, the Kings wore predominately silver-based jerseys.
This time, they picked the white-black look from a list of templates provided by the league and Adidas, then provided tweaks of their own. The numbers were one such example. So were the chrome helmets.
“They liked the Air Force [style] and streamline of an airplane,” Robitaille said. “That was the idea of getting the helmet that way, so it would be like the nose of an airplane.”
The last time the Kings played an outdoor game outside of California was in 1991, when they met the New York Rangers for a preseason meeting outside of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The league didn’t hold another outdoor game in the United States until 2008.
“Selling it out in Vegas, it felt like one of the biggest boxing matches,” said Robitaille, who was a player in that 1991 game and called it a highlight of his career. “To go play outdoors at Caesars Palace, it was incredible.”
The franchise is aiming to replicate that experience next month, hopeful their symbolic jerseys will add another memorable layer to the event.
“We’re honored to have the chance to wear that and tell that story,” Cheeseman said. “Because it’s really about the servicemen and women who created, manufactured and flew the plane.”