The floodgates have opened.
Yesterday, the Columbus Blue Jackets gleefully announced that they are the first* NHL team to announce they will be wearing an advertisement patch on their on-ice jerseys when the 2022-23 season gets underway this fall.
(The Washington Capitals beat them by about, oh, six months)
The Blue Jackets will wear the logo of Safelite, an auto glass manufacturer based out of Columbus, on the upper right corner of each of their four uniforms next season.
Yes, four uniforms.
In the embedded Tweet above, the Blue Jackets mentioned that Safelite would also be their “Retro Jersey Partner,” which, I believe, is our first public confirmation from an official league source that the Reverse Retro jersey program is returning next season.
Some more pics and screengrabs from the team showing the new promotional giveaway jerseys the club will be wearing going forward.
While the practice has been commonplace in most other places around the world for decades, it wasn’t until the NBA did so in 2017-18 that any of North America’s “Big Four” began wearing ads on their in-game jerseys. The NHL allowed helmet ads, first as a one-year way to recoup pandemic-related losses in 2020-21 and then because they realized nobody could stop them from doing so they just kept going with it.
So… yeah, let’s add this to our ever-increasing collective pile of “things I’m not looking forward to, but here we go anyways.”