A rare visual treat for hockey fans is coming this week as the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes will face-off with neither team wearing their white uniforms.
For their game at Anaheim’s Honda Center on Friday, December 7th, the road Hurricanes will wear their home red uniforms, as they’ll do for the entirety of their three-game trip to California this week, while the host Ducks are slated to go with their standard home blacks.
It’s the first dark vs. dark regular season NHL game (as far as I can tell) since the 2014 Winter Classic outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day 2014. The Red Wings wore red against the Maple Leafs in blue, which looked extra nice with the snow falling during the game. (correction: more recently the Flyers and Penguins did it for an outdoor game last year) The Rangers and Canadiens tried it fourteen years earlier (nearly to the day!) on January 2, 2000, in Montreal, the trial required tweaking however as the Habs were told to switch to their white helmets during the first intermission to make things easier for everyone.
We’ve seen some recent experimentation with colour-on-colour matchups during the preseason exhibition schedule and rookie tournaments and All-Star Games but it hasn’t been a regular occurrence since the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings ditched their yellow home uniforms in exchange for the more traditional whites in the late 1980s. If you go back to the pre-television era, many games were colour vs colour as most teams only had one dark-coloured uniform.
“We worked with the TV partners, we spoke to hockey operations, we spoke to the managers of both clubs; everybody is comfortable that this will work”, NHL commissioner told SportsLogos.Net while unveiling the all-colour uniform matchup for the Winter Classic in April of 2013, of the future colour-on-colour matchups, Bettman cautioned us at the time, “let’s see how [the Winter Classic] goes first.”
It would end up going quite well, and now nearly five years later we’ll have to wait and see how it goes again. Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.