Hockey fans loved the Colorado Avalanche’s new Reverse Retro jersey. Will Quebec Nordiques fans who still want a team embrace it or hate it?
The clear winner from Monday’s reveal of the NHL’s new Reverse Retro jerseys was the Colorado Avalanche. In their nearly 25-year history the Avalanche have used the same basic logo.
The team turned to their predecessor, the Quebec Nordiques, to use the old N and hockey stick combination, along with the Fleur de Lis going across the bottom. Even if the new jersey was heavy on the Avalanche’s current color scheme, some of the classic Nordiques baby blue makes an appearance.
The people the jersey is meant to honor may be the people who like it least. Ever since their team moved in 1996, Nordiques fans have been desperately trying to get an NHL franchise back. The city even built a new arena to NHL specifications with the main goal of getting an NHL team again.
Unfortunately, the weak comparison between the Canadian dollar and the United States dollar stood in the way of those plans. The same reason that sent the Nordiques to America in 1996 was the same reason Quebec was passed over in the latest round of NHL expansion talks.
Quebec was the only serious contender for a new team in Canada.
So will Nordiques fans be happy to see their beloved jersey hit the NHL ice again? Or will it serve as a reminder of what could have been? Is it a way of the hockey world saying they appreciate the Nordiques legacy? Or will it serve as a constant reminder their beloved Nordiques are in Quebec City no more?
The only Canadian press story specifically lending an opinion to the new Colorado jerseys was Jesse Campigotto of CBC sports, who ranked them as one of the best NHL Reverse Retro jerseys.
An ESPN article covering the story had two interesting takes. First, Adidas reached out to the Montreal Canadiens for comment. The Canadiens were not only famous rivals of the Nordiques, but are the only NHL francophone franchise following the Nordiques relocation.
The Canadiens supported the move. Adidas also believes that the Nordiques brand is strong enough in Canada that the Colorado Avalanche can develop a following north of the border. ESPN also interviewed Daniel Blanchet, a Nordiques turned Avalanche fans, who didn’t agree or disagree with the statement. Blanchet said he sees the new jerseys as a “tribute” and giving the Nordiques more exposure won’t do any harm.
Blanchet still made it a point to say that “some will say the logo belongs to Quebec City”. Even if the team left, the identity stayed in Quebec. Taking away that identity may be taking away the only thing Nordiques fans have left to call their own.
No matter how Nordiques fans react, the jersey is certain to be a top seller. Fans both in Canada and the United States are sure to want to add it to their collection. Those sales alone could be enough to prove the Reverse Retro jersey collection is a resounding success.