Over the last week I had been fleshing out a post on the Senators sweater history which would segue into a hope that the new heritage jersey wouldn't dissapoint. Specifically dissapoint as the "SENS" did when it was foisted on the fanbase in '08 (can you tell I"m not a fan?). A memorable critique from the boys at CCFR: "the abominable SNES, which may go down as one of the ugliest, most gimmicky, simultaneously busy and boring hockey jerseys in the modern history of the NHL. (Draw strings! Piping! Diagonal, “dynamic” font! What’s going on in the armpits?!)" Whether they sold truckloads of these duds is irrellevent. The "Buffaslug" at one time had a prolonged reign as the #1 seller on NHL.com, it was a terrible jersey then and it's a terrible jersey now. A fact Pegula is wise to, as one of his first acts as owner was ensuring HSBC would be "slug-free". The SNES will never be worn by the team again, may it rest in hell.
Now a strong case could be made that aesthethics and presentation have not been a strong point in Ottawa of late; from the aforementioned scoreboard to Clouston's suits and how could we forget this incident. Lyndon Slewidge seems to be about the only one who knows what he's doing (a ringer if we're being honest). In an Icethetics poll stacked up against the rest of their Canadian NHL brethern the Sens 3 jerseys finished 14th, 15th and 18th worst out of 18. Some would go as far to argue the Senators are sitting comfortably in the sweater basement with Anaheim. In short the Sens desperately needed to hit a home run with this heritage jersey, did they?
Per Icethetics the above image is the first leak of the heritage sweater.
So where did it come from?
"Now what are we looking at exactly? I'm told the above image originates from a Senators alumnus. It's black and white because it's a photocopy, but I think it's safe to say you can mentally replace the grey with red. It's part of a packet that outlines the club's grand plans to celebrate its heritage this season."
And Chris's verdict?
"My take? Absolutely brilliant. This is precisely what the Senators needed to do with a Heritage Jersey. They recognized that and executed it deftly. I can only imagine how good it will look in action this fall. I'm a huge fan. And to be honest, I can't imagine we'll hear from any true dissenters. Who could really dislike this? It will be the perfect replacement for one of the ugliest third jerseys in the NHL."
It's also worth nothing this leak bears a striking resemblance (in format and design) to another supposed leak which appeared on Sens Chirp in December 2009. Judge for yourselves.
This move to honour the original Senator franchise comes in the 20th season of the NHL's return to Ottawa. With the 67's motif paying homage to the barberpole down at the Civic Centre, I wouldn't surprise me if over the years the Sens felt they needed to differentiate at all costs. Just a thought, but one which is certainly plausible after reading this Scanlan piece – "67's, Senators make for frosty relationship".
I've reached out to Jacob Barrette as well for his reaction to the leak (hope to have it here in an update soon). For those that don't know he's the graphic designer responsible for this "O" concept, which spawned a sizable following and at least one admirer in the Sens organization. I have to imagine Jacob's work and the fan response had at least a modicum of influence on what we're seeing today.
My first impressions? I like it, a solid classic clean look. And I'll probably like it even more once a real live photograph of one in the flesh appears. It may be a safe design to some, and sure I had my own ideas. But for those who've been holding out for a Sens sweater that wasn't cartoony, tacky, or lazy, this should satisfy.