Third Jerseys and History Lessons


Malik pointed out this morning that there’s a post over at icethetics announcing that the Blackhawks will use their Winter Classic jerseys as alternates next season.

At the end of the icethetics post the following is asked:

My question to you is this: Should the Detroit Red Wings follow suit and add their Winter Classic sweater as a third jersey to be worn at, say, 5 or 6 games a year?

I’m a bit of a traditionalist so I have no burning desire for the Red Wings to have an alternate jersey. I also don’t hate the idea and the Winter Classic jersey is beautiful. It looks sharp, it acknowledges a part of the team’s history that’s usually ignored, I added one to my collection as soon as I could. There’s just one problem.

It’s wrong.

I’ve started on rants about this before and stopped because I realize it’s a big history lesson for something relatively minor. I almost wrote this when the Winter Classic jerseys were announced but I let it slide as a one-game thing. If anyone is remotely thinking about these jerseys being worn on a more regular basis, though, I have to point things out.

The Old English D that the Red Wings have trademarked and was worn on the front of their Winter Classic jerseys is not the one that the Detroit Cougars wore at Border Cities Arena during the 1926-27 season.

Take a look at the following photos from the Cougars’ inaugural media guide (and if anyone happens to know where they came from, drop me a line so I can give proper credit):

Of the eight players shown there, only one is wearing the streamlined D used in the Red Wings’ “vintage” merchandise. The rest are wearing a different D (not-coincidentally, one similar to the one you see in DetroitHockey.Net’s logos).

Before the market for authentic team apparel took off, plenty of teams across a variety of leagues and sports would wear uniforms that were only vaguely uniform, so it’s not a surprise to see players on the same team with slightly different sweaters. Without the technology to make everything identical, that’s something that has to be expected, so it’s not my complaint.

My complaint is that the version of the D that seems to have been the Cougars’ intended crest was ignored in favor of a version that was worn much less. To me, that constitutes rewriting history and it just rubs me the wrong way, especially coming from an organization that continues to ignore the contributions of the Cougars’ best player.

So if there’s going to be an alternate jersey for the Red Wings, the Winter Classic one is a good choice. I just wish they’d get the crest right.

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development, as well as that of DH.N's sibling site,

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