I haven’t had a reason to write about the Arizona (formerly Phoenix) Coyotes in some time. The last time they made the playoffs was 2012; they were eliminated just two weeks before I started this blog. Now embroiled in another legal battle that threatens to force relocation on the already embattled franchise, days are once again dark for the Arizona Coyotes. However, that didn’t stop the team from recently refreshing their look, a symbolic new start for an ownership group that has been cemented, and really, there’s basically nowhere to go but up from last year’s disappointing tank of a campaign.
At Friday’s NHL Draft, the Arizona Coyotes took to the podium in Sunrise, Florida to select #3 overall. They handed über-prospect Dylan Strome their brand new home jersey, a piece still mainly colored in brick red but with noticeable additions of black and white on the arms.
Meanwhile in Glendale, four Coyotes prospects took to the stage at a draft viewing party at Gila River Arena and modeled the complete uniform for all in attendance (and on the internet) to see first-hand. Whereas the jersey itself is not a total departure from the former brick red colored getup, the entire uniform package certainly is. I’ll get to that soon enough, but first let me break this jersey down by its elements.
The crest is entirely unchanged — one of the few things that is so. Above it is the laced collar previously added during the last revision and which is a style that continues to sweep across the league. The only difference here from that set is that the cut of the collar and NHL shield are taken from last year’s Stadium Series jersey template. Inside the collar, and this photo is the best look at it I’ve seen so far, is a southwestern-looking pattern. I’m not sure what it is or what it represents, if anything, but I see it as a welcome addition, reminiscent of the old Kachina-styled jerseys from the Phoenix days and something that was completely missing from the Glendale set.
On both shoulders are identical patches. The red home jersey features a new paw ‘A’ secondary mark. I like how the ‘A’ is mostly made of negative space and how its roughly trapezoidal shape is befitting of a shoulder location. On the white road jerseys the shoulders are adorned by Arizona state outline/flag patches, differing from their predecessors only in the typeface of the ‘AZ’ mark, as far as I can tell.
Down the arms is where things start to truly diverge. The upper arms are wrapped in a swatch of black, formerly a tertiary color in their scheme. On the outer sides of the black areas are the TV numbers in sand with a vibrant brick red outline. I really like how this looks; it pops, but maintains the same subdued color palette of the old look. The number typeface is also different — sharper, less rounded. I also like the name typeface. It’s a bit like the one seen on the Sabres’ last third jerseys, which if I recall correctly is the only thing I liked about them.
Beyond the black is a wide strip of red, then alternating white and red stripes to a cuff of white. The three stripe motif of the original Glendale set, carried over through the change to Reebok Edge in 2007 is no more.
The torso itself is singled out and separated by the black of the upper arms. I’m not sure if these needed less black, or for the black to carry over across the shoulder yoke, but the main color of the torso is cut in a way that makes it look like a football jersey. Perhaps they’re trying to appeal to their fellow fans across the street?
At the base of the torso is a subtle stripe, black on the reds, red on the whites. Torso stripes were sorely lacking after the Edge transition. These are not quite those, but they add a much needed bit of contrast. One of the few complaints I had about the Coyotes’ previous red set was a lack of contrast throughout. It was monochromatic, featuring only red and white, including across the pants and socks (which is one reason I own a white version; the red shoulder yoke makes it). On its own, I think this definitely looks okay.
Now, for the rest of the uniform. The pants are black. Contrast abounds. I approve of this, for reasons listed above. I could also make this analogy of home uniforms: the 2003-15 uniforms are to the Detroit Red Wings set, while the 2015-present are to the Chicago Blackhawks. Both use similar palettes, but only one of them uses black pants. Which one do you think I like better?
The socks are a bit of a hodgepodge of color. White/red, then black, then red in varying widths before the white/red/white strip pattern of the arms is echoed above the skates. At least they did that to unite the look. In fact, the sock pattern is roughly the same as the entire arm pattern. I didn’t notice that at first; now I approve.
The gloves are black and red, while the helmets match the uniform color. Not really much to opine about here. At least they didn’t use black for the helmets too.
The verdict for these is still out in my head. They’re certainly very different than their predecessors, adding another prominent color into the jersey mix. I think I’d like them more if the sand color was implemented as at least an accent. The jersey template appears to be a new design. I have no problem with new templates or slight experimentation, as long as it looks okay. I have a feeling these will grow on me. They’re not traditional in the least, so they don’t fall victim to the same minimalist mistakes as the Carolina Hurricanes latest retool, but they’re also simple enough not to land at the other extreme. It’s a sleek look, to be sure. Whether or not it stands the test of time, I feel, is probably not up to the aesthetic quality of the uniforms so much as it is the fate of the franchise.
For now, though, I just think they look weird. An on-ice demo is needed before I can make a final decision. Is it October yet?