Team Canada Olympic hockey jerseys revealed
Photos leaked out weeks earlier
Sitting in her dressing stall inside Team Canada’s dressing room and preparing to make her international debut, 17-year-old Cheryl Pounder held her jersey in front of her and looked at it with utter amazement.
Then she did the first thing that came to her mind.
“I kissed it,” Pounder, a Team Canada veteran, said Tuesday morning at Maple Leafs Gardens where the Canadian Olympic hockey jerseys – one red, one white and a third jersey that is black – were unveiled.
The jersey designs weren't a surprise since photos had leaked out weeks before on social media, but Hockey Canada still put on an elaborate presentation for the new uniform announcement.
Players and officials focussed on the sentiments behind the look rather than the design themselves.
“I remember putting the jersey on when I was watching the Olympic Games when I was very young,” Pounder recalled.
“And then when I was able to wear it for the first time at my first world championship, just before I put it on I hesitated and then I kissed it. For the next decade, not matter where I was, before I put the Team Canada jersey on I kissed it because it was a privilege, an honour and it was very passionate to represent our country.”
The jerseys, designed by Nike, are bold and slick. The white jersey features a red bar across the chest with a white maple leaf outlined in gold inside it. The red jersey features a white bar across the chest with a red maple leaf outlined in gold. The black jersey had a red bar across the chest with the word Canada inside.
All three jerseys feature 12 gold maple leafs at the waist which represents Canada’s hockey gold medal count at the Olympics: eight men’s, three women’s and one sledge hockey gold.
“When I was a little girl, I remember watching the Olympics and just falling in love with the Canadian jersey,” Pounder said. “That is where my dream began. When I put it on for the first time, it was so emotional and surreal. I was overwhelmed.”
Jersey 'captures' history
Former NHLer Joe Nieuwendyk knows all about wearing the national jersey having won a silver medal at the 1986 world junior championship and a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“I love the new jersey,” Nieuwendyk said. “I think they look fast. It’s a sleek new look, but it captures the history. I think the guys that will e selected to wear them will be very proud to represent the country well in these jerseys.”
Pounder added, “I am a little bit sentimental and I absolutely love the 12 gold stars on the inside. I think when you put that jersey on and it’s close to your heart you understand what you want to bring home and hopefully we bring home 13, 14 and 15 for next time.”
Ken Black, the creative director for Nike for the Olympics, said much thought went into the design of the jerseys. He said Phil Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame brought a number of old Canadian jerseys to Nike to use as inspiration for the new jerseys.
“For us it’s all about innovation,” Black said. “First of all, being able to innovate for better performance for the athletes so we can use things such as Nike flywire which is a footwear technology that is about lightweight, support and strength and we used that at the neck line which eliminates the heavy binding that hockey jerseys have had for years. It creates a better fit as well as making it lighter and faster. We believe that lighter is faster.”
Black added Nike used recycled water bottles to make the jerseys and every jersey has 17 water bottles in it.
While current and former players seem to love the jersey, fans had plenty of criticism to offer on social media.
Reaction was swift on Twitter
These uniforms are the worst thing @HockeyCanada has done since Rob Zamuner was on the Olympic team.
— 67Sound (@67sound) October 8, 2013