Thursday, August 20, 2009

2003-04 Dallas Stars Alternate Mike Modano Jersey

Today's Curious, Weird and Ugly™ Collection jersey is one of the most unexpected designs in the history of NHL alternate jerseys.

The Dallas Stars had been using the same two home and away jerseys since 1998 when the previous alternate jersey had been promoted to the primary, while continuing the use of the team's primary logo on the front. While many teams rotate the importance of the colors in their set, making a trim color the primary color of their alternate jersey, it's unusual for a team to add an entirely new color not used anywhere else in their identity package, which is exactly what the Stars did by adding red to their new alternate jersey.

While the addition of red trim to their jersey may have raised eyebrows, what really got people talking was the new logo created just for the alternate featuring a constellation of stars that map out a bull's head with the addition of a shooting star with it's red tail sweeping around the head from the side. It was assumed that the constellation pictured was Taurus the Bull, but the constellation of Taurus has it's own unique shape that bears no relation to the Dallas Stars alternate logo.

The logo used on the jersey was described at the time this way;

"The new logo depicts a constellation of individual stars aligning to form an unstoppable force of nature, a charging bull. Get it? A constellation of stars aligning to form an unstoppable force? "

Only that's not how the critics saw it. Oh no. The bull's head immediately reminded many of a diagram of a woman's uterus, and was derisively nicknamed "The Mooterus" - a combination of a cow's "moo" and a woman's "uterus" for those of you who haven't heard the nickname before, elevating it to the lofty status of the "named jersey", a sure sign of infamy.


The jersey, which was not very well received, was worn for two seasons, 2003-04 and 2005-06. Teams are required by the NHL to market their new alternate sweaters for a minimum of 15 games for their first season of use. The Stars reduced that number to eight games for 2005-06 and refused to commit to the same amount for 2006-07, which would have been the final season for The Mooterus anyway because of the league-wide redesign coming in 2007-08.

Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks was quoted as saying on the occasion of The Mooterus' final game on April 3rd, 2006, "Good riddance. The funny thing is that you can't find anyone around here who will take credit for designing it. Nobody's left."

Jill Moore, the Stars Senior Director of Merchandising, said one of the problems with the bull's head logo was that it was designed undercover by an outside service during the days of the Southwest Sports Group. The conglomerate had a plan - trying to mix the thought of a constellation, stars, with a Texas icon, the bull head.

The team did make $400,000 from sales of the jersey and went 13-7-3 while wearing it, but the mixture of too many ideas combined with a lack of testing led to the backlash against it.

There were no additional patches worn on the jersey in either season of it's use.

I classify this jersey as clearly "Ugly" due to the unexplained inclusion of red, which was not only not a Dallas Stars color, but the way it looked combined with the predominately black jersey and the dark shade of green used by the Stars. Overall it was a dark and depressing jersey even before the logo was applied to it.

As for the logo itself, as stated above, there was just too many ideas combined for it to ever work. Perhaps a simplified bull's head logo with a single star (which worked up the road in Houston quite nicely) rather than the constellation overlay might have been more effective, in the way that the Calgary Flames horse head logo paid homage to the Calgary Stampede and the city's western heritage, with just enough flames to tie it to the team's name.

As it was, the logo just didn't look enough like a bull's head, overshadowed by the busyness of not only the stars placed on it, but the lines connecting them as well. The unnecessary shooting star on the logo only added to the visual confusion since there were already stars pictured inside the bull's head. The streak of red behind it only served to grab the viewer's eye away from the more muted tones of the black and green bull's head.

Then there was the unfortunate resemblance to the female reproductive system which reduced the entire thing to a laughingstock. In hindsight, they should have at least curved the bull's horns upwards to diminish the comparison to the medical diagrams since they were not being faithful to the actual constellation of Taurus in the first place.

Also odd was the decision to not use any red in the customization specifications. The colors used for the names and numbers, taken straight from the green home jerseys look out of place on the alternate since the gold color trim on the numbers does not match the gold color of the stripes on the jerseys. Perhaps changing the black trim of the names and numbers to red might have made them look like they were meant to be on the jersey from the beginning and would have helped tie the entire package together justifying the appearance of the red on the jersey in the first place. As it was done, the jersey and the customizing don't look like they were meant to be together on the same sweater.

Dallas Stars Alt 03-06 F

Dallas Stars Alt 03-06 B

Since these jerseys were only worn for a total of 23 games, let's see what kind of luck I can have looking for video of them in action, although you probably can predict by now that if I do find any game footage, it will most likely be fisticuffs...

Sure enough...

Here's some actual skating and passing featuring Stu Barnes.

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