Sunday, January 30, 2011
The 2007 NHL All-Star Game was a significant event for not only the NHL, but it's new jersey supplier Reebok, as their new Reebok Edge Uniform System made it's on-ice competition debut.
Touted for it's lighter weight and more aerodynamic properties, the Edge Uniform System was also designed to be much more form-fitting than the previous generation of jerseys and offer enhanced player performance and increase safety and protection while offering a more breathable, water repellant jersey with a greater range of motion.
Claims of a 14% reduction in weight, equivalent to the weight of a hockey puck based on changes to the traditional jerseys and socks, combined with 76% less moisture absorption by the new fabrics developed for the new jerseys were expected to allow the players to stay stronger and play faster.
The durability was also claimed to be almost twice as long as that of the previous generation.
Wind tunnel testing showed the new jerseys to have 9% less aerodynamic drag than before as well.
The process to introduce the new jerseys began in 2003. Concepts were presented to general manager and the player's union and then prototypes were created and tested before the project was approved in the summer of 2006 and on-ice tests were conducted during team practices at both the NHL and minor league level before the jerseys finally made their debut at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas.
Following their debut at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, the Reebok Edge jerseys became the official on-ice jerseys for all 30 NHL teams beginning with the 2007-08 NHL season, which resulted in an unprecedented redesign of every jersey for every team in the league.
Today's featured jersey is a 2007 NHL All-Star Game Brian Rolston jersey, the first of the Reebok Edge jerseys to see action in NHL competition.
There was a mid-season redesign of the jerseys, known as the "Edge 2.0" once they began regular season use in 2007-08 after player complaints that the jerseys repelled so much water that excessive sweat was collecting in their gloves during games. The solution was to create a new jersey which used material from the previous generation of jerseys to retain some of the sweat repelled by the new jerseys.
The authentic jerseys sold at the retail level to fans are known as the Reebok Edge Authentic, while the replica version is referred to as the Reebok Premier. Both the Edge and Premier versions of the new jerseys have had a tough time being accepted by collectors due to the new jerseys being much more prone to snagging when worn. Complaints also focused on the basic fit of the jerseys, especially when compared to the previous generation of jerseys, as the arms are cut considerably longer when compared to an older jersey of the same body width.
Confusion has reigned about how the jerseys are tagged for sizing, with many wondering if they used to purchase a size large, should they now select an extra large to maintain the same fit they are used to and prefer when buying a jersey that is said to be more "form fitting".
The Premier jerseys have also received some very valid criticism for their shoulder patches when used, as the designs are screen printed on to a rather brittle piece of fabric which is then applied to the jersey, rather than a higher quality embroidered patch found on the replica jerseys made by CCM, ProPlayer, Starter and Nike before them.
The factory customization of the Premier jerseys also suffers from the same inferior quality treatment, as any name or number in more than one color has the inner color printed on with fake stitch marks, rather than being two actual layers of twill sewn together. Many collectors, including us here at Third String Goalie, prefer when buying a Reebok Premier jersey to purchase a blank one and have it customized with with layers of fully sewn twill.
Another large strike against the Premier jerseys was, despite the cheaper, and frankly unacceptable, printed shoulder patches, the price of a blank jersey jumped from roughly $80 for a CCM 550 to $120 for a Reebok Premier during one of the worst economies of our lifetimes when many were finding themselves out of work. We personally did not feel that a 9% reduction in aerodynamic drag was worth a 50% price increase for what we felt was a worse fitting, more fragile and more cheaply made product despite all the technological advances for on ice use, which have no effect on your average fan sitting in the stands who is not sweating buckets full of moisture or in need of any increased safety features.
Today's video segment is highlights from the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, which was the debut of the new Reebok Edge Uniform System. Watch out for the sudden volume increase at 4:30!
Next is Reebok's introductory video for the Edge Uniform System, first in English and then again in French.