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Kings and Ducks embrace the past with NHL’s ‘Reverse Retro’ alternate jerseys

The Ducks' "Reverse Retro" jerseys are a call back to the alternate uniform the team wore during its 1995-96 season.
The Ducks’ “Reverse Retro” jerseys are a call back to the alternate uniform the team wore during its 1995-96 season.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

The Kings and Ducks each released new alternate jerseys Monday as part of the NHL’s leaguewide “Reverse Retro” reveal.

The Kings’ new threads include the classic gold and purple (or “Forum Blue,” as it’s officially known) color scheme they wore for most of their tenure playing at the Forum, as well as a recolored version of their primary logo from the ‘90s.

“We love the Kings jerseys and we feel our fans will as well as we hear so often from them that they enjoy when we go back and revisit our history,” Kings President Luc Robitaille said in a release.

The process began about two years ago, when league uniform manufacturer Adidas initially pitched the “Reverse Retro” idea at an NHL presidents’ meeting in Detroit in March 2019.

According to Kings chief operating officer Kelly Cheeseman, Adidas presented several designs to the Kings about a year ago. A purple and gold jersey including the Chevy-style logo of the ‘90s quickly became the preferred choice.

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“We’ve never really seen a great execution of a mash-up of our eras,” Cheeseman said. “This was the first time where we’d seen the purple and gold come together with something as iconic as the Chevy era … We really liked it, and the fans seem to like it a lot.”

The Ducks unveiled a much bolder look. Their white jerseys include a cartoon Duck breaking through ice, a call back to the team’s first-ever alternate uniform from the 1995-96 season.

Merit Tully, the Ducks vice president of marketing, said the club noticed fans clamoring for the return of the cartoon logo during the team’s 25th anniversary season two years ago ago — coinciding with the early planning stages for the reverse retro uniform.

“We have a unique history as the Ducks and there is a true affinity for some of those throwbacks items, both our original crest logo as well as this jersey that debuted today,” Tully said by phone.

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“Adidas had a few concepts they were thinking about and after seeing what our fans [wanted] for our 25th anniversary season, what their tastes were, we figured this breakout jersey was the one to go with.”

Each of the league’s other 29 teams debuted their “Reverse Retro” jerseys Monday, the first time the NHL has participated in a leaguewide jersey program.

“Hockey fans love retro jerseys and Reverse Retro is a great opportunity for adidas to work closely with the NHL and all 31 teams to bring back a design from a meaningful point in team history with a unique twist,” Dan Near, senior director at Adidas Hockey, said in a release. “Our goal from day one has been to work with the NHL and all of the teams to bring creativity, innovation, and energy to the sport with all that we do. What better way to do that than to bring together the nostalgia of historical moments in each team’s history with something new via designs that have never been seen before in the sport.”

Other pro leagues have embarked on similar uniform initiatives. The NFL created “color rush” combinations. The NBA has introduced a rotation collection of creative city-inspired alternate jerseys. And even MLB has used special “players’ weekend” uniforms in recent seasons.

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“As a league, if we want to start growing our fan base and skewing younger, we have to try new things and be able to adapt to new market trends and demands,” Cheeseman said. “That’s what the NBA and NFL have done … changing things up but still being within your brand.”


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