SUN Hockey Pool

Out to pasture

Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff can't tip the puck past Calgary Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff...

Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff can't tip the puck past Calgary Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during first period action in Edmonton on Saturday. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

As the future of NHL jerseys is unveiled in Dallas today, fans can say their fond farewells to one of the old Calgary Flames silks.

Or, if you are one of those who hated the look, bid it good riddance.

While it hasn't been officially retired, the team's alternate jersey -- the black version featuring a flame-breathing buck crest -- is no longer being manufactured.

You won't find it for sale at the FanAttic, the team's official store, and the Flames have yet to pull on the sweater this season.

It's not expected they'll do so anytime soon, either, although Flames president and CEO Ken King suggests the design still exists as an option.

"It's still in the remuda," said King.

"But with the new jerseys next season, there will be a full evolution."

A remuda, for those unfamiliar with ranch talk, is a herd of horses that have been saddle-broken.

As for the evolution, today's preview from the all-star city will show off the new look and feel Reebok has teamed with the NHL and its players to produce.

You'll have to wait until the new line debuts league-wide next season to see the next version of the Flames' home and away outfits.

"We have a design incorporated in the new jersey -- obviously we're not unveiling it yet -- that I think is going to fit well," said King.

"We're pretty happy with our (current) jersey.

"We've made some modifications, a couple of which |I think people will absolutely love. They're minor but meaningful."

What new twists may be included -- perhaps some cowboy gear, a glimpse of the Calgary Tower, maybe a mountain peak or two -- are anybody's guess.

But a new third jersey won't appear anytime soon.

"We won't be introducing a third jersey next year," said King.

Not that many in the Flames dressing room or in the stands at the 'Dome will shed any tears over the death of the black sweater.

After all, the 'Dome's claim to fame is the Sea of Red.

"I don't think anyone really misses it," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr.

"They were OK but I think the jerseys we have right now, especially the red one, are so much better.

"You look at the amount of those red jerseys (in the crowd) compared to the black, you can see it's a lot more popular with the fans. I don't think you can argue with that."

The black sweater debuted June 23, 1998, in conjunction with the 'Year of the Cowboy' in Calgary.

Two years later, it became the team's official road jersey -- when white was still worn at home -- and was used in that capacity until the 2003-04 season saw the switch to a red home uniform that spawned the Sea of Red during the run to the Stanley Cup final.

Regehr, in his seventh season with the Flames, is prepared for the streamlined Reebok system and another new look for Calgary but admits he has special memories of the oversized sweaters that have been in use for 40 years.

"As long as they don't make us look like the bobsledders at COP (Canada Olympic Park), we'll be happy," said Regehr.

"I grew up watching guys skate down the ice -- Pavel Bure, Mike Modano -- you could see their jerseys kind of flapping in the wind as they went down the ice.

"It was cool to watch that as a kid. I liked that."


Videos

Photos