The St. John’s IceCaps, the top-level AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, will be paying respects to the 100th anniversary of an important but sombre moment in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador by way of a special commemorative jersey. The IceCaps will wear this uniform for two games, on February 5th and again on the 6th, both games will be against the Utica Comets. The uniform was unveiled via a ceremony at The Rooms museum in St. John’s.
On July 1, 1916 over seven-hundred men from the tiny country of Newfoundland were killed or injured during the Battle of the Somme in Beaumont-Hamel, France. A joint effort pitting members of the British Empire (including Canada) and France up against the German Empire in the First World War. Newfoundland wouldn’t join Canada as the tenth province until 1949.
The uniform is a flip of the usual Canadiens-style uniforms the IceCaps wear, the base colour is blue while the horizontal stripe is red. Unlike the Habs template there are large red stripes on either arm. The logo on the chest features a black silhouette of a First World War Royal Newfoundland Regimental solider encircled by the words: Royal Newfoundland Regiment 1916-2016. It was designed by friend-of-the-site Troy Birmingham who had also created the IceCaps popular alternate jersey logo in 2013.
On one shoulder there’s a new alternate IceCaps logo patch – prominently featuring the club’s wordmark – in a roundel with “St. John’s” above and “Hockey Club” below; the other shoulder features the modern day provincial flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“For the main focus of the logo I wanted to represent a Royal Newfoundland Regiment solider”, Birmingham told StJohnsIceCaps.com. “I wanted it to be a simple, stark image that grabbed your attention. I chose a silhouette because it could be anyone’s father, grand-father, brother, son.”
IceCaps President, and former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams recalled visiting the site of the battle during a trip to France ten years prior, “I will never forget the extraordinary sense of loss mingled with such intense pride as I walked where those young men had defended the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. The bravery exhibited by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was one of the most tragic moments in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history; and was also a defining moment as we essentially lost an entire generation of young men.”
In an effort to ensure the jersey was a respectful tribute, the team consulted with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to ensure they were pleased with the result.
“The Royal Newfoundland Regiment is quite pleased to see the IceCaps honour our members and history in such a meaningful way,” said Lt. Col. Paul Furlong, Commanding Officer of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. “The jerseys look very sharp and help us continue to commemorate those that have served Newfoundland and Labrador so proudly and to preserve their memory and place in our history.”