The 2020 NHL Winter Classic is today, and for the first time ever the annual event is being held in a warmer climate city. The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas plays host with its 92,000 seats waiting to be filled with patrons daring to brave a relatively warm +14°C (58°F) to see the Nashville Predators take on the home team Dallas Stars.
The overall theme of the design surrounding the event this year is the old west.
Designed by NHL Creative Services along with Fanbrandz out of New Jersey, the 2020 NHL Winter Classic logo is based on a belt buckle, a fashion accessory traditionally associated with Texans, cowboys, and Texan cowboys.
“As you start going through this process, we collectively brainstorm and discuss, ‘What makes the most sense for this event, this location, without being too whimsical?’”, said Paul Conway, the NHL’s VP of creative services to NHL.com at the time it was released.
“You want to be careful not to be too predictable on a certain level”, Conway continued. “You want to make sure it comes across and feels like it’s part of the Winter Classic brand, yet still feel unique. But everything certainly takes form and takes root in that early development.”
While the official press release made no direct mention of it (saying only it’s based on Texas hockey history), the Dallas Stars 2020 Winter Classic logo and uniform are both clear tributes to the old Dallas Texans team of the 1940s.
The jersey is green with white shoulders, a single white stripe on each sleeve with both featuring a patch — a Winter Classic patch on the right arm, and a new State of Texas patch on the left. The Dallas Texans used both a shoulder yoke and the sleeve patches as well.
Player name and numbers are in a block, serif font — the same style as the “ST*RS” wordmark across the chest.
In an effort to create a more overall vintage hockey uniform feel, pants are beige (as they were in the NHL in the 1920s) and gloves are plain leather coloured (as they were in the NHL until the late 1950s). Both the pants and gloves do add a bit of colour with some green trim.
A look at the two Dallas Texans uniforms which appear to have inspired this Stars design… First, this design which looks a lot like the logo, sleeve, and socks striping:
And then the shoulder yoke, waist striping, and sleeve patches:
Mash together the best bits of both uniforms and ta-da! You’ve got yourself a great looking uniform. It’s magic!
Goaltender Ben Bishop has a special mask for the game featuring the Stars retro logo as well as the Cotton Bowl stadium and Big Tex wearing the Stars Winter Classic jersey:
The mask art was done by DAVEART.
With a heavy nod to the old Nashville Dixie Flyers, who played in the Eastern Hockey League from 1962-1971, the Nashville Predators 2020 Winter Classic uniform replicates the Dixie Flyers style of a large horizontal stripe across the middle of the jersey and the team name scripted within it.
“The new jersey was created with a heritage aesthetic, featuring designs inspired by Nashville’s rich hockey history and its passionate hockey fanbase”, read the release from Adidas. “The script crest, felt block lettering and classic striping create a nostalgic look suitable for the NHL Winter Classic’s celebration of the game’s origins outdoors.”
On the shoulder is a “fauxback”-styled Predators logo, this new logo “represents the Predators’ size, strength, and speed” and is given a retro look “to pay homage to the history and heritage of hockey in Nashville”.
Like the Stars, this jersey also includes a patch featuring the 2020 Winter Classic logo on the opposite shoulder:
As mentioned earlier, this entire jersey a clear tribute to the uniforms worn by the Dixie Flyers, Nashville’s minor league hockey team in the 1960s. Like this Predators jersey, the Dixie Flyers uniforms included a similar horizontal stripe and scripted wordmark.
Of course, both goalies for the Predators have custom mask designs ready for today’s game, here’s Pekka Rinne’s who embraces the Preds new “fauxback” style logo:
While Juuse Saros has a new mask which includes a photo of Rinne himself (along with another Finnish hockey player Kimmo Timonen):
And here’s your good-looking uniform matchup for the game:
Game time is set for 2 pm ET (or 1 pm in Dallas)… but I’d be surprised if the puck is dropped before 2:30.