TOM MILLER COLUMN: New look is all the rage
ST. PAUL -- The first public glimpses of the new UND hockey jerseys were leaked in the wee hours Friday morning when Herald reporter Brad Schlossman tweeted out a link to a grainy picture captured by a cellphone of the jerseys from the NCAA West ...
ST. PAUL -- The first public glimpses of the new UND hockey jerseys were leaked in the wee hours Friday morning when Herald reporter Brad Schlossman tweeted out a link to a grainy picture captured by a cellphone of the jerseys from the NCAA West Regional program.
By decision of UND men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol, the new uniforms were kept under lock and key as the team approached today's 12:30 p.m. NCAA first-round game against Western Michigan at the Xcel Energy Center.
The uniform's appearance was highly anticipated by fans because for the first time in years the team's sweaters won't have the Fighting Sioux logo due to NCAA sanctions. Under those sanctions, the school must remove any mention of the nickname at NCAA-sponsored events.
At about 2:30 a.m. Friday, grandforksherald.com had a story about the jerseys, with the accompanying fuzzy photo.
So what does everybody think?
The responses have been predictably varied, but for an attempt to replace (at least temporarily) a legendary look, UND must be pleased with its initial feedback.
The new look won over many fans for its old-school appearance, a look designed by director of operations Pat Swanson, Hakstol and jersey supplier Reebok.
"Old time Fighting Sioux Hockey!" said 'perfect' in the comment section of Schlossman's hockey blog. "Keep it simple and with tradition. Not something new and crazy like the Miami baseball logo. Nothing over the top."
In the comment section of grandforksherald.com, 'Paul Lee' said: "I know I'm dating myself here, but I remember when 'all' NHL, college and high school teams wore those types of jerseys and I love the look."
Expectedly, feedback wasn't all positive. Responses ran the gamut of like and dislike.
"I do not really like them," said 'Chris,' the first comment on Schlossman's blog. "I cannot help it. I love the Fighting Sioux logo." Still others were blunter about their distaste.
"This is the worst thing that has ever happened," said 'someotherguy' on grandforksherald.com.
On Siouxsports.com, a popular UND athletics message board, comments were also polarized.
"You people are comparing these jerseys to the best looking and honored jersey across the nation," read a comment from 'luapsided.' "Of course nobody will like them, or some, maybe just a little."
'Sioux-per hockey fan' was ready to purchase the new uniforms, which are expected to be available to buy at The Ralph gift shop (without individual player numbers in the middle) in the coming months.
"I gotta say, they are not that bad," they wrote. "I will more than likely buy 1 or 3 of them."
UND captain Mario Lamoureux was asked at Friday afternoon's press conference to judge his new outfit.
"The jerseys look fine, but our sole focus is to go play hockey," the Grand Forks native said. "That's all we're going to worry about. There's external stuff going on, but let's not worry about that. It would be great to wear the normal logo and name, but we can't do it. We can't worry about it. We have a game to play."
This and that
- UND athletic director Brian Faison said he hasn't been able to gauge fans' reactions to the new uniform yet.
"I think they look fine," Faison said. "They have a traditional look to them."
- Western Michigan coach Andy Murray weighed in on the nickname, as well. "I'll always call them the Sioux and most North Dakota fans will, as well. I'm not a politician, but it sure seems to be an awful lot of time and money spent on something that I'm not sure how significant it is, but that's not for me to say." After realizing he was commenting on a taboo subject, the NHL veteran but first-year college coach said: "With the NCAA, I'm still learning a lot of things."
- The Xcel Energy Center hosts the NHL's Minnesota Wild. The Wild's gift shop wasn't open Friday, but Fighting Sioux merchandise, including a hockey jersey with the nickname and logo, was visible from outside the store.
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send email to email@example.com .