Martin Brodeur Explains Process Creating Devils New Uniform

This past week the New Jersey Devils unveiled a new black third uniform, the first in the 40-year history of the team. The uniform was designed, in part, by retired Devils (and Hockey Hall of Fame) goaltender Martin Brodeur as well as the club’s Sr. VP of Marketing Jillian Frechette.

Earlier today an episode of the team’s official podcast series Speak of the Devils was released featuring both Brodeur and Frechette during which the pair discussed the process behind the design of the Devils’ new jersey.

“I think the most important piece is that Martin Brodeur is really, truly the architect of this jersey — he’s the designer, and the two of us were co-creators,” Frechette recalled during the episode. “We certainly had some feedback and some collaboration with others on our team, our President Jake Reynolds included, but it starts and finishes with Marty, and that part’s really special.”

“It was an exciting ask that the organization asked me to be part of the design of a third jersey,” said Brodeur. “Obviously, I played for many years in New Jersey, and I never had a chance to wear something different than the same jersey over and over. Just the fact that the team will be wearing something different, totally out of the box, will be something pretty cool for me.”

Brodeur spent an incredible twenty-two seasons in the NHL (twenty-one of which were with the New Jersey Devils) between 1991 and 2015. During that span he racked up all-time league goaltending records in wins with 691, games played with 1266, and shutouts with 125 all while backing up the Devils to all three of their Stanley Cup Championships in 1995, 2000, and 2003. While the Devils wore throwback uniforms a handful of times during his years with the team (yes, throwing back to a uniform he wore originally with the club!), they never had an official third uniform in that time.

Martin Brodeur, former Devils goaltender and co-creator of the new uniform (via Devils)

“The alumni guys [former Devils players Scott Niedermayer and Patrick Elias] were kind of in shock a little bit [when I first showed them the jersey], like, ‘Wow, are you guys are really doing this?’ because it’s been something that our fans have been asking for a long time,” Brodeur said. “It’s something that that would have been fun to have when when we played … I thought that while I was playing everybody wanted a black jersey.”

LINK: Martin Brodeur’s Career Logos and Uniforms

New Jersey’s new jersey is black with twenty-one white stripes throughout the design, paying tribute to uniform styles worn by some of New Jersey’s earliest pro hockey teams. The crest eschews the club’s traditional “NJ” emblem in favour of a new, scripted “Jersey” mark in white with a red block shadow.

Graphic via New Jersey Devils

“It’s a beautiful Jersey that’s inspired by some elements in our past, specifically the Newark Bulldogs, who played here in the 1920s, here in Newark, our home, in the 1920s for two seasons,” explained Frechette. “Some of the striping is indicative of the jersey that the Newark Bulldogs [wore] back in the ’20s. There’s 21 stripes in totality and of course, there’s 21 counties in New Jersey.”

The Newark Bulldogs played in the Can-Am League in the 1920s

“As for the crest, it was really important [to Martin Brodeur] to be reflective of of Jersey, and our deep roots of hockey in New Jersey. So the crest, the font, the angle, the shape, the drop shadow, he thought all about that,” continued Frechette. “But one other sort of little sneaky detail is the lacing that you’ll see on the jersey. Certainly, it’s a nod to the vintage inspiration – you see older hockey sweaters with laces, but more than that it was Marty putting his fingerprints on in that he was not just a hockey player, he was not just a Hall of Famer designing this jersey, he’s a goalie. So those laces are meant to be indicative or reflective of the netting of an actual hockey net, which I think is really special.”

As for why the crest reads “Jersey” instead of the full state name of “New Jersey”, Brodeur had this reasoning:

“It’s one of those things that the more and more you live here, the more you understand that people call where they live ‘Jersey’, and not really ‘New Jersey’. I know the state is New Jersey, it’s one of the greatest states we have around, but for our fans, I think they’re gonna relate a lot to the name.”

During the early stages of the design process, when the pair were seeking inspiration for which direction to go, Brodeur recalled Frechette coming across a photo of an old hockey sweater that had some extra special meaning to him.

“We were looking at any kind of avenue, especially in the first part of the process, and we were exchanging a lot of pictures to try to find what the jersey could look like,” Brodeur shared. “One picture came across [Frechette’s] phone and it was my dad in 1956 wearing the Team Canada jersey, it’s in wool, it’s got somewhat of the same striped things and everything… and right away, I sent back a nice picture of the jersey itself that I have framed and in my basement.”

Brodeur’s father Denis, most famous for his post-playing career as one of the greatest hockey photographers of all-time, also played goal for Team Canada during the 1956 Winter Olympics in Italy helping the team win a bronze medal. Brodeur and his father are the only father-son goaltending duo in the Olympic Games.

Martin’s father Denis as an Olympic goaltender in 1956 (hockeycanada.ca)

Before the end of the interview, Brodeur was asked what it was like stepping into the role of hockey jersey designer.

LINK: New Jersey Devils complete logo and uniform history

“It was kind of challenging because you have to deal with a lot of people. We submitted some designs, they weren’t coming back in a timely fashion at times. And we had to work hard and ask, ask, and ask again. Obviously we got some samples that weren’t exactly what we were looking for, but the process was was good and it was fun. For me, it’sa brand new thing, I stopped pucks for a living all my life and now they’re asking me to help design the jersey? So it’s a little different, but I really enjoyed the almost three years that we’ve been at it.”

This is just a brief snippet of what Brodeur and Frechette shared during the interview, if you’d like to learn more I encourage you to listen to this episode of Speak of the Devils right here.

The New Jersey Devils will wear their new third uniform thirteen times during the 2021-22 NHL season, twelve of those games will be at home in Newark with the first coming December 8th against the Philadelphia Flyers — the one road date will be December 18th in Detroit. As with all NHL third uniforms, the Devils must keep this design in their regular rotation for at least the next three seasons.