In Minnesota, Labor Day weekend signals the official end of summer, and that great annual institution, the Minnesota State Fair. It's the last chance for kids to have some fun before the start of the school year, which is always the day after Labor Day. Kids and parents shopped for those last minute school supplies this past weekend, in between barbeques and trips to the fairgrounds. On top of pencils, new backpacks, and other various items, there's also the all-important outfit for the first day of school that must be procured. In the years since I've been in school, I've noticed that the back to school commercials on television seem to focus more on clothes than notebooks. But it's not just students of all ages that are going back to school with new threads.
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At this year's Minnesota State Fair, the Minnesota Wild reveled their new, white road jerseys. As a Wild fan, I've been eagerly waiting to see the new look. The team has essentially had the same white jersey since the 2000-01 season. In those years, about the only change has been the change in brand from the original CCM to the newer Reebok jerseys. Truth be told, there's not a whole lot teams really do with their road jersey, as the bulk of fans attending a game where the road jersey is worn is cheering against that team. I was feeling really good in the days leading up to the reveal, as we had already seen the new Iowa Wild jersey. The Iowa jersey is sharp, and will represent Minnesota's "new" primary development team well. Take a look and judge for yourself:
The Wild graphic for Iowa's white jersey is classic. It makes Minnesota fans think of the current Minnesota green jerseys. All the elements on the jersey work well together. If it's not a big seller in Des Moines, I would be shocked.
However, the Minnesota Wild did not do as well with their new white jersey.
While Minnesota wisely went with the same blank, that is where all similarities end. Instead of going with the same style of logo like Iowa did and would match their current green jersey, they insisted on putting the "bearcat" logo on the chest. And if you somehow missed the fact that the "bearcat" is in the middle of our players' chests, they also put the round logo from the home red jerseys on the shoulders. Don't forget, the "bearcat" logo will also be on the players' helmets. Sorry design team, but you need to go back to elementary art class. In my day job, I work the business uniform department of my company. Every day, I work with logos of various companies, some of them Fortune 500 companies. I know just how important a logo is, even for the small mom and pop business. A logo should make an impact, not bludgeon you over the head. That is what is happening with Minnesota's new white jersey. Not only are they shoving the "bearcat" logo down our throats, the jersey itself looks uninspired. My husband's response was "it looks bush league." And it does. Unfortunately for us, we're going to be stuck with this travesty for another 13 plus years, while our American Hockey League affiliate has the better jersey (and better ticket prices). So in honor of the Minnesota Wild failing the fans yet again, I give you their report card:
The jersey also uses obnoxiously big font for the player names on the back. The letters are big and boring and look like what you'd expect to see as nameplates for your local bantam team. They could've kept their old font and had it look fine but they decided to make it larger. The letters are so big they're almost touching the numbers which is another failure of its overall design. All in all, the Wild better hope the 'novelty' of this jersey works to be the primary motivating selling point because I think they dropped the ball on this one.
Of course, after the lockout the sheeple returned to the rink in droves so they'll probably be foolish enough to fork over $120 or more for the new sweaters. The team had a real chance to step a little farther away from the 'christmas colors' that have sort of dogged the franchise since its inception. A simple white and green concept similar to the Iowa Wild jersey would have been ideal. But adding red to the numbers puts us somewhere between a christmas card and a redux of the New Jersey Devils' 'Sbarro' jerseys. The early reviews amongst Wild fans are so far amazingly good. Yet, to go back to the theme of the introduction of this article. A lot of kids who return to school feel that their 'new' clothes they got for school look pretty awesome, until the novelty wears off and they realize they look pretty lame.