In regular times, the league will hold about three outdoor games per season, each one with its dedicated theme. The Stadium Series looks towards the future of hockey; the Heritage Classic is a Canadian-focused look to the past. Then there’s this, the Winter Classic, essentially the American version of the Heritage Classic. A traditional and old-school affair with uniforms is steeped in telling the origin stories of the hockey history for each participating team and/or the market they play.
The first Winter Classic was held on New Year’s Day 2008 at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, a snowstorm shootout between the hometown Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. Both teams were wearing faithful reproductions of old team uniforms, the Penguins in baby blue and the Sabres in their original whites.
Fast-forward 14 years to 2022, and we see the St. Louis Blues are doing exactly as the Sabres by wearing their team’s original white uniform set (same colours as those Sabres, too… hmm.)
ST. LOUIS BLUES 2022 WINTER CLASSIC UNIFORMS
The Blues Winter Classic jersey is a tried-and-true design; as mentioned just one paragraph earlier, it’s essentially a reboot of their original 1967-68 expansion season road white uniform. The only difference (aside from the modern cut and patches) is that the white has been tinted a shade to cream to give it the appearance of age.
Like that expansion season design, the jersey has blue shoulders with thin white, blue, and yellow stripes that flank an all-blue collar, the classic “Bluenote” logo front and centre on the chest, and a thick yellow stripe centers two thin blue ones around the waist as well as on each arm. This exact style was adjusted after their Blues inaugural season, with the yellow and blue striping reversed for 1968-69.
“It’s just cool having vintage colours. It reminds me of the first jerseys the Blues wore,” St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said to stlouisblues.com upon the unveiling of the uniform. “Seeing it, I just think of the history. You feel the game, how it’s been played long before you and the history of the city. The jerseys are really cool; they turned out great. They did a heck of a job with them.”
This uniform design also completes their expansion season/Winter Classic set the Blues had started in 2017. The Winter Classic game that season was held at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium against Chicago, which saw the Blues wear the home blue version of this same 1967 uniform.
MINNESOTA WILD 2022 WINTER CLASSIC UNIFORMS
Back in September, a few days before the Blues, the Minnesota Wild unveiled the retro-flavoured uniform they’ll be wearing when for the 2022 Winter Classic.
They were “designed to celebrate the state’s rich hockey pedigree, the rivalry of the Twin Cities, and its legacy as the State of Hockey,” read the official press release from the team.
The green jersey combines elements from amateur and semi-pro hockey clubs of yesteryear, including the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints. The collar is vintage white and contains no laces, shoulders are red and much more thin than usual, the 2022 Winter Classic logo worn as a patch on the right shoulder. Across the chest and up each arm are several horizontal red stripes trimmed in vintage white, these striping patterns from both club uniforms of the 1930s.
On the crest are two stars, a nod to the constellation Gemini (you know, the “twins”), another nod to the Twin Cities theme throughout this set (and the origin of the name of the ballclub that calls this stadium home). The state map of Minnesota is placed in between these stars in red with its MN abbreviation placed on it. Arched above and below this design are the names of both cities, “MPLS” (shortened from Minneapolis) and “ST. PAUL.”
Per the custom in the earlier days of the NHL, pants and gloves are coloured brown (hockey clubs didn’t wear team-coloured pants until the 1930s, coloured gloves didn’t arrive until the late 1950s). On the pants is a red diamond logo which duplicates the jersey logo but now with the words “STATE OF HOCKEY” surrounding it.
Just to add to the old-timey feel of the set, a pair of “leather” patches have been added to the elbows of both sleeves:
“With the game taking place at the home of the Minnesota Twins, we certainly channelled the spirit of Minnie and Paul for our Winter Classic sweater,” Wild Sr. Brand Advisor John Maher said in the press release, perhaps in reference to the fact that both Twin-Cities were represented in the design.
As has been the case with the last several Winter Classics, the logos, striping, numbering, and other jersey embellishments are all stitched on using vintage-looking felt to give it a slightly more authentic feel.
Here’s a side-by-side of the Blues and Wild uniforms for the game to give you a better idea of the uniform matchup we can all look forward to on New Year’s Day:
2022 WINTER CLASSIC GOALIE MASKS
Because the goalies love to have fun, both starting goaltenders have revealed unique mask designs that each will wear specifically for the Winter Classic game.
St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington is bringing back his old double-bluenote design but updating it to match the Winter Classic uniforms. The Blues logos are now the same as what will be worn on the jerseys, and the colours have been shifted to the same lighter blue, brighter gold, and cream white. On each side of the mask, Binnington is paying tribute to a couple of former St. Louis Blues netminders, a depiction of original Blues goalie Glenn Hall is on the right side, while Mike Liut, a Blues goalie in the 1980s (and Binnington’s agent!) is on the left.
For the Wild, goalie Cam Talbot will be paying tribute to another Minnesota team that usually calls Target Field home:
Sprinkled throughout the left and right sides of Talbot’s mask are the Minnesota Twins‘ retired number signs that decorate the ballpark. In the photos above, you can see Joe Mauer’s #7, Kent Hrbek’s #14, Bert Blyleven‘s #28, Tom Kelly’s #10, Kirby Puckett‘s #34, and Tony Olivia‘s #6, even the league-wide retirement of Jackie Robinson‘s #42 is acknowledged on Talbot’s mask. Other nods to the Twins include their Win-Twins logo (by way of the ballpark’s scoreboard) and an aerial shot of Target Field in its usual baseball setup. Brilliant.
2022 NHL WINTER CLASSIC LOGO
The 2022 Winter Classic logo shows a generic forest design within a shield and the standard Winter Classic typeface scrawled across it. The background shows a frozen pond with snow surrounding it, the silhouette of navy blue evergreen trees with a pale blue sky beyond.
This logo will be worn as a shoulder patch on both the Blues and Wild uniforms during the game. If the teams decide to wear these unis for an indoor match later in the season (as they typically do), this patch will be removed for those occasions.
Here’s the full slate of 2022 Winter Classic logos, including the two primary logos (both English and French versions) as well as the alternate, secondary, wordmark, and additional theme logos:
And a quick look back at each of the past Winter Classic logos plus the logos each team used for the game all the way back to 2008:
2022 WINTER CLASSIC ICE DESIGN
At centre ice at Target Field will be the 2022 Winter Classic logo, the branded version which includes the Discover mark on the logo (this is not the version worn as a patch on player uniforms). The logo is placed within a white circle trimmed in light blue with “❄️ 2022 DISCOVER NHL WINTER CLASSIC ❄️” arched around the top of it in green.
These rink shots from earlier this week don’t show much in terms of decoration surrounding the ice surface, as we’ve seen in other Winter Classics. A row of evergreen trees have been added in the vicinity of deep right field, and they may be planning something there in centrefield, but that remains to be seen. We also don’t see any board advertisements in any of these photos, so it’s entirely possible they weren’t quite done setting everything up yet when they were taken.
And that’s it! All that’s left now is to watch the game! The 2022 NHL Winter Classic between the Blues and Wild will (hopefully 🤞) get underway at 7 pm ET (6 pm CT) at Minnesota’s Target Field on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2022. It will be airing nationally in the United States on TNT and in Canada on Sportsnet 1 (English) and TVA Sports (French).