(Las Vegas) Five years ago adidas designers Dominique Fillion and Jeff Eagles set out to completely revolutionize the uniforms for the National Hockey League.
“We wanted to deliver a uniform platform to the athletes that was giant steps beyond what they were used to wearing” says Eagles, “so we really had the athlete in mind from the get go.”
“It really starts in the locker rooms, talking with the players and equiptment managers,” says Fillion “speed, form, and function really stood out to us as a starting point“.
Balancing progress and tradition, the design team worked closely with the NHL to ensure that the final product would set a new industry standard for uniform innovation, while respecting the deep history that team jersey’s (sweaters) have in the league.
“Hockey isn’t hockey without tradition” says Eagles “we all knew that going in, and I think we’ve done an excellent job of bringing innovation while still embracing all that tradition.”
One cherished NHL uniform detail is the traditional team crest that covers the front of each jersey. But those crests, along with the jersey numbers, accounted for a large percentage of the uniforms weight.
“The previous crests, are made from a multi-layer twill, which absorbs a lot of water and becomes heavy” says Fillion “but we didn’t want to simply devalue the crest by getting rid of the rich detail and the embroidery.”
“We brought in new materials to the cresting that reduced the weight up to 46 percent,” says Eagles, ”and we brought new technology to the numbering system that reduced the weight up to 60 percent.”
The Golden Knights
Just days after the NHL announced that Las Vegas would be joining the league; the design team was off to Whitefish Montana to meet with team owner Bill Foley to quickly create the new teams uniform and logo from scratch.
Also along on the trip was Brian Jennings, V.P. of marketing for the NHL. “It was very exciting” says Jennings “When we arrived, Mr. Foley had very strong thoughts about what he wanted his brand to be, from colors, to what he wanted the logo to look like.”
“Mr. Foley is a great guy” says Eagles “He’s soft spoken, very direct, but he was open to allowing us to be creative. “
“He ended up putting down his notebook and saying ‘you guys know a whole lot more about this than I do, and I want you to take me on that journey.’”
The Golden Knight’s new uniform was the first to be showcased at an ADIZERO special unveiling event on the eve of the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
“The color combinations are great, the brand is very strong and I couldn’t be more pleased.” says Jennings about the Golden Knights uniform.
Conner McDavid: “It’s a beautiful looking jersey”
Edmonton Oiler superstar Conner McDavid was one of several players standing side by side with the adidas design team at the Las Vegas unveiling.
“It’s a beautiful looking jersey” says McDavid about the new Edmonton Oilers orange home uniform “a little bit newer, a little bit fresher, and the material is so light, that’s the main thing I noticed how light it is. It almost feels cool, like you’re not wearing a sweater. It’s overall just a great jersey.”
“It’s been an amazing journey” says Fillion “to be able to celebrate it all together, and unveil to everybody what we’ve been doing for the last five years, is pretty magical.