Ambivalent Alexis: Bolts New Third Jersey…Meh

by Alexis Boucher | Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

SStamkosThirdJerseyA few minutes before Fan Fest’s scrimmage was set to take place on Saturday, the lights inside Amalie Arena were dimmed. A spotlight shone down on the Lightning bench and the crowd eagerly awaited their first glimpse at the team’s new third jersey. Captain Steven Stamkos took the ice in the new uniform as AC/DC’s “Back In Black” blared over the loudspeakers. Quite a few fans could be heard uttering “That’s it?” Their sentiment sums up the new sweaters.

The anticipation for the unveiling had built up over several weeks. The team released a series of black and white teaser photos featuring Stamkos and small glimpses at the upper portion of the jersey. We could make out that the shoulder patches remained the same but that was about it. Beyond white stripes on the arms and shoulders the remainder of the design was shrouded in mystery.

That may be one of the reasons why some are underwhelmed. It was easy to imagine a sleek and stylish new look that called back to the older uniforms that the Bolts wore during some of the best moments in franchise history. Instead there isn’t much to separate the new alternate sweater from practice jerseys.

The diagonal “Bolts” across the front carried over from the previous thirds which was more than a little disappointing. The Lightning are the only team that features a nickname on their alternate uniforms. You would never see a “Wings” jersey for Detroit or “Habs” in Montreal. It’s understandable that the Lightning want to forge their own look and identity. On the other hand they have referenced teams like Detroit as the model they want to follow in order to be a world class organization. It’s a bit of a disconnect in that regard.

A return to a black sweater is in line with the current ownership’s efforts to reconnect with the history of the franchise. It’s something we were all excited about, but the end result is just kind of lukewarm. Without the palm trees, the actual basic design of the faux third sweater used in a prank on some of the players is actually preferable. It also would have been neat to see the fantastic shoulder patch used in a larger fashion, perhaps as the main crest. Throw some silver in there and victory stripes under the arms and the reaction would have been resoundingly positive.

Whether it was honoring past players during the 20th anniversary or staging a Stanley Cup team mini-reunion, the front office wants to embrace the past. That’s exactly why so many fans were excited about the return of a black jersey. It’s what the Lightning have worn for most of their existence. It’s what they wore when they hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2004. It may just be a color, but it was one we associated with our team for a long time. Maybe the new sweater, like the 2011 uniform redesign before it, will just take some getting used to. It’s great that “black is back”, but it just doesn’t feel right yet.

You’ve heard from us. What are your thoughts on the new jersey?

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Alexis Boucher
About the Author

Managing Editor and Senior Writer Alexis Boucher is a transplant from the Northeast, who worships in the churches of hockey and baseball. She has followed the Lightning since the late 90's. A graduate of the Florida State University Creative Writing program, she has been blogging for over three years. She has a penchant for loud music, enforcers, and good beer.

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  1. ITMAN says:


    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      It’s just not setting my world on fire. A lot of people like it and that’s great. Just feels like a missed opportunity.

  2. Rob says:

    extremely disappointed is how i would describe it. Personally i liked the one on so much better. It had the new logo with blue and white piping. a mix of the past and current. The dropped the ball big time here….but with the class organization that they are…its ok! :)

  3. Benjamin Woodward Benjamin Woodward says:

    Very well said! I would agree with your sentiments. I think it’s short of expectations, but isn’t entirely bad. I would have much preferred more integration of blue with the black as opposed to the white they used for piping.

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