SUN Hockey Pool

Third jersey under wraps

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Excited, maybe even a little nervous, you'd think it would be tough for Ken King to keep the new design under wraps for an entire year.

After speaking with the Calgary Flames president about a third jersey the team is going to launch next fall, there's little doubt King will be able to keep the secret.

Four franchises have unveiled new alternates, with another 14 rumoured to be doing the same in the near future.

King confessed the Flames are in the final stages of putting theirs together, but was tight-lipped about the new look.

"It's pretty much complete," said King. "We're working on one aspect of one shoulder patch that we're figuring out a little bit, but the rest is complete. It's 95% complete."

The Carolina Hurricanes got creative working with their existing theme.

The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres went retro. The Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs are figured to follow suit with vintage themes.

The Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and L.A. Kings are all expected to go black.

Hazarding a guess after grilling a few people who have peeked at the new threads and trying to read between the lines of a 10-minute talk with King, the Flames sound like they're putting together something of a departure from their Flaming C design that has become a best-seller.

Not quite an out-of-nowhere fire-breathing horse head -- the last crest to adorn an alternate jersey in Calgary -- but definitely a new twist.

"It's a different look," said King. "We like to think we've got a reasonable feel for our audience. You look at what other people do. You do look at what the trends are. You look at what you're working from and then what you do is try and come up with something that isn't a compromise.

"You also have to have some courage."

They could make a return to a black base like the horse head sat on, or put the new logo on a classic look similar to one from their past.

"We took a lot of colours into consideration," said King, apologizing for being unable to reveal more. "We looked at black and we looked at red and we looked at variations of them, and I think we settled on something that will work."

Confident as he is the public will approve, King says the venture is always a little scary.

"Sure it is. Like anything -- a new car manufacturer or a fashion designer, or anybody who's introducing something new -- you just don't really know how it's going to be received until you bring it to market.

"I'm pretty comfortable, pretty confident people will appreciate it."

Knowing they have one of the top-selling home jerseys in the league since the 2004 Stanley Cup run should help their confidence.

They did little to tweak it when the opportunity arose to remodel a year ago with the debut of the RBK Edge sweaters, changing the striping and adding the Alberta and Canadian flag shoulder patches.

"We're not an Original Six team, but we're a Canadian team and we hold strong with our traditions, that's why when we did modify our jerseys, we didn't have a radical departure," said King. "We were settled because we feel what we've got is significant and has significant brand equity with fans and certainly loyalty among the fans. You don't want to mess with that.

"You get a little more latitude with the third jersey."

We'll have to wait a year to see how much leeway they took.


Videos

Photos