Christmas in July: Reading Royals unveil specialty jerseys

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The ECHL’s Reading Royals will push the envelope once again this season, not only in the content of their specialty jerseys but in the quantity. One of the many offerings will be their annual ugly Christmas sweater, which is probably the one pictured here. (They may tweak the design before making it official.) From the “So Bad It’s Good” files, it offers a slightly different take on what’s becoming a popular phenomenon.

“The idea was to keep with the ‘ugly Christmas’ theme but to have something a little different than the ugly knitted looking sweater,” said the jersey’s designer, Jeff Tasca of Athletic Knit. “Looks like a lot of teams are doing that now, so the Royals wanted to go in a bit of a different direction—still keeping the idea of ‘ugly Christmas’ in the look of the jersey but being different from what others are doing.”

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The jersey features snowflakes, snow piles, and some updates to the logo “to make it a bit more ‘festive,’” Tasca said. These updates include lighted reindeer antlers and a red Rudolph nose added to the normally stoic Royal lion mascot, Slapshot.

With more and more teams doing ugly Christmas jerseys, creating something unique for the Royals presented a welcome design opportunity. “The challenge for this one was to try to do something that we haven’t done before and give them something unique to wear for their fans,” Tasca said. “But also giving them what they are looking for and keep within the idea or direction that they want us to go.”

For a designer like Tasca, creating themed jerseys for a team that wants to push the envelope and be unique rather than settle for templated designs is refreshing. “They are a great team to work with,” he said. “They always want to get the best ideas out there and have the coolest looking theme jerseys for their fans. I always enjoy doing up jersey designs with them.”

The Royals have an extensive promotional schedule set for the upcoming season, so we can expect to hear more from them in the months ahead.