As the person who's apparently become the designated uniform writer for this blog over the last two months, I've had time to process the new primary uniforms revealed by the Arizona Coyotes at the team's draft party at Gila River Arena last Friday.
And, as I sit here still trying to decide whether I like them or not, I came to a startling realization.
Where are the third jerseys?
When the Coyotes unveiled their home and road sets, I was ultimately disappointed in the changes they made. One week later, I feel about the same. When we proposed some options for the Coyotes to consider a few weeks ago, the conclusion was reached that the team would likely make minimal adjustments to their current sets.
In that sense, we were about right. However, I would have liked the Coyotes to tap into its Kachina roots for a waist/arm stripe or something of that nature instead of what they ended up doing. And although I do like the idea of adding black as a secondary color, their execution on these jerseys just don't feel right.
Before the reveal, I had thought to myself that, in the event the team's primary jerseys were underwhelming, the incorporation of an effective third jersey could save their image.
But they didn't reveal any other jerseys.
Although the team's announcement didn't specifically call for new thirds, it had been expected since the "running coyote" logo alternates did not make an appearance last season and are heavily rumored to be discontinued.
So, what does this mean? Will the Coyotes go back its previous black thirds, or could the team play the 2015-16 season without an alternate?
There's always a chance the Coyotes could still announce a new third jersey, perhaps bearing the new secondary logo it announced on draft night.
In fact, I took 45 minutes out of my day to throw together this concept with the new shoulder patch as the main jersey logo:
Excuse the amateur drawing, but I think the new secondary logo looks great being prominently displayed, and the white backing lets it stand out more over other color options like the Sedona Red, black and faded beige.
The shoulder patches (left as white circles in the picture) would feature the team's primary logo on one arm, and it's other secondary patch on the other. I didn't feel confident enough to put those on, so use your imagination.
Why should road crowds get all the fun with this? It wouldn't be fair to make an alternate just to wear away from the Desert; the fans wouldn't be able to get enough out of the design only seeing it on television.
The best thing the Coyotes could do would be to make something like the above concept a road alternate, and implement its Kachina throwback jersey that was featured on March 5 vs. the Vancouver Canucks on "Throwback Night" as a home third.
According to one source familiar with the team, the Coyotes had considered implementing them as permanent alternates at some point toward the end of last season. The jerseys were well-received in March, so why not make a greater commitment to them?
Let's be honest for a second. Playing a season without a third jersey is anarchy.
There's a reason—beyond nostalgia—that fans were so excited for Throwback Night at Gila River Arena this year. The team had just nearly played the entire season wearing the same two jerseys each night. Hockey fans in the desert were parched for something, anything different.
As for this season, we polled readers about how they felt toward the new jerseys, and 31 percent of you said "Meh," which was the leading answer. We also polled you two weeks before the reveal, asking what you wanted the team to do regarding its uniforms, and 37 percent said "Just tweaks to the current home and road sets, and bring back Kachina for the new alternates."
The people have spoken. Time for a Kachina comeback.
The Coyotes having new home and road jerseys allow the team to be more creative going forward. As visible in my submission above, both black and beige are now in the team's arsenal—and the team should not be conservative with its revised palette.
If there's one thing the team wants to get away from, it's being boring. The Coyotes should want to stand out and make themselves noticeable on a national level. More jerseys that stick out and reflect who you are as a franchise—as well as effective branding—will help them do that.