In recent years, there has been an overwhelming desire to revamp and reboot classic things people used to love. It started with television, then movies and now it’s hockey’s turn, with the entire NHL participating in the Reverse Retro jersey program.
Adidas, the NHL’s official uniform partner, approached all 31 teams with the idea of remaking one of their old jerseys and, subsequently, began the design process two years ago. As part of this program, the Washington Capitals unveiled a reimagined Screaming Eagle jersey — inspired by their jerseys from 1995-2007 — to be worn as an alternate jersey for select games during the 2020-21 season.
Washington’s original screaming eagle design featured a bald eagle diving from right to left, with an outstretched, open claw, two stars on one wing and three on the other. This design functioned as the franchise’s first rebrand after its foundation in 1974, featuring a blue, white and bronze color scheme at the start of the 1995-96 season. The team sported this logo for 12 seasons before retiring it in favor of the logo the team uses — and wins with — today.
The announcement of the Reverse Retro design was perfectly timed for a lull in the hockey world, as fans of the league wait for the 2020-21 season schedule to be released. With no word on when the season is set to begin because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the jerseys serve as a way to remind Washington fans of the good times they will hopefully be able to recreate in the near future.
The idea started as a way to honor an important moment or season in the storied histories of each NHL team with throwback designs, adding a modern twist through updated or inverted colors. Washington’s jersey pays homage to the franchise’s first time reaching the Stanley Cup finals in the 1997-98 season, when franchise legends like Peter Bondra, Olie Kolzig and Calle Johansson played. The variation in the design is a red, white and blue color scheme seen on the 2018 jerseys the team donned when they won the Stanley Cup.
While I do think honoring the past is admirable, I find the timing of the release of these jerseys to be very strategic, which undermines the purpose set forth by Adidas. The Reverse Retro jerseys are set to be released for purchase Dec. 1, giving fans plenty of time to get their hands on the perfect gift this holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimated that the average American allocated just over $1,000 to holiday gifts, goodies and travel in 2019, according to USA Today. Companies like Adidas capitalize off the increased spending around the holiday season, so the timing of the Reverse Retro jersey release is undoubtedly a ploy to keep Washington’s revenue up during an unprecedented time.
Despite this blatant marketing tactic, the program still functions as an effective way to get Washington fans excited for the team’s return to Capital One Arena sometime, hopefully, soon. I certainly considered putting the jersey on my holiday wish list in the hope that it would speed up the news about when the upcoming season might begin.
Hayley Salvatore is a junior in the College. All Caps appears online every other week.