Today the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are getting the 2019 half of the 2018-19 NHL schedule underway this afternoon with the annual Winter Classic outdoor game.
This year the game will be played at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana, the 77,000-seat college football stadium will be the host of the first regular season NHL game played in the State of Indiana since the Capitals beat the Blackhawks in front of 8,800 fans at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis back on November 3, 1992.
The 2019 Winter Classic logo, designed by both Fanbrandz and NHL Creative Services features a shamrock, obviously a nod to the Fighting Irish; the rest of the logo is your standard NHL Winter Classic design — the inclusion of icicles and the Winter Classic wordmark which has been used since the first Winter Classic in 2008.
This is the second Winter Classic to be held in an NCAA football stadium, the 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs was played at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the Michigan Wolverines; the event shattered an NHL attendance record with 105,491 showing up for the game. As mentioned earlier, Notre Dame Stadium can hold about 77,000 for football so that record remains very safe.
In case you were wondering (because I certainly was), the last “Rudy” to play in the NHL was Rudy Poeschek who retired in 2000 following a dozen seasons in the league with the Rangers, Jets, Lightning, and Blues, he scored 6 goals in 364 career games. Ru-dy! Ru-dy!
As for the teams, both clubs are paying tribute to their first Stanley Cup Championships, which means the Chicago Blackhawks are *finally* reaching back to their original colour scheme for a throwback uniform.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing this, based on how much the era had been ignored by the team before this season, but the Chicago Blackhawks actually first entered the league wearing a uniform lacking any colour and a black-and-white logo on the chest, yes they were the original Brooklyn Nets! Just a white jersey with several black stripes for season one, the blacks-and-whites were reversed for years two through eight. Back then they were also known as the “Black Hawks”, that’s two words, right up until the around 1986 when they switched to “Blackhawks”, one word.
The logo being used by the Blackhawks is not an exact copy of what was used by the club for those first few seasons, although it’s certainly the same idea. The Native American head originally used in the 1920s has been replaced with today’s Blackhawks design, re-coloured to match the black-and-white design of the time, they’ve also eliminated the space between BLACK and HAWKS to reflect the de-spacening (not a word… yet) we mentioned earlier.
Black and white with hints of red hidden in the collar, the Blackhawks 2019 Winter Classic uniform has four white stripes on each of the shoulders, and five white stripes of varying thickness on each sleeve and around the waist.
The crest is made of a felt-like material with chain stitching to give it more of an authentically vintage feel (although I can confirm the Black Hawks of the 1930s didn’t have anything like the Adidas uniforms players wear today) — this felt material is used for the player’s name and number on the back of the jersey.
Inside the collar we see several diagonal white lines, these are a nod to the end zone design used at Notre Dame Stadium for football games, mixed in between these white lines are six years written in red, the six years the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup.
The Boston Bruins, like the Blackhawks, are going back to the 1930s. In their case, it’s a large block “B” in (very dark) brown and gold. Boston previously wore a similar logo as a throwback uniform as part of the NHL’s 75th-anniversary celebrations during the 1991-92 season.
This big block “B” was originally worn beginning with the 1932-33 season, the brown was replaced with black in 1934 and the logo bounced back-and-forth between the front of the jersey and the sleeves right up until 1955 before being replaced permanently with the spoked “B”.
Like the Blackhawks, this is a modern interpretation of the original logo, the “B” used here is from the current Bruins logo rather than what was worn originally in the 30s.
The Bruins uniforms today take the base of their 1920s sweater, swapping out the original bear logo for the 1930s “B”, a decision reportedly made by team president Cam Neely because, simply, it looked better like that.
The inside collar features six shamrocks, one for each Stanley Cup victory in Bruins history – note the years listed inside each one.
Now *this* is what I’d call a fantastic uniform matchup, can’t wait to see it on the ice… hopefully we can see it in an indoor setting too sometime soon
Individual players are getting into the fun too with custom equipment for the occasion.
Both goaltenders have customized mask designs, and both make reference to Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish logo:
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 28, 2018
Cam Ward’s #WinterClassic mask is here!
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 20, 2018
And there’s even customized stick designs for some players:
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 31, 2018
We’re hearing reports that the NHL will announce Dallas as the host of the 2020 Winter Classic later today, no idea on opponent, but hey, we’re finally getting the first Winter Classic down south… after seeing the same teams over-and-over again for the first eleven of these games I’d say now’s a good time to try something new.
The 2019 NHL Winter Classic begins at 1pm ET (that’s what they say at least, to be honest, it probably won’t actually start until closer to 1:30 because inaccurate start times is a thing all of the sports seem to do now for these jewel events… gotta get you to tune in to the pre-game stuff somehow!).
Happy New Year!