The new NJ Devils black jersey was released on Tuesday to the vitriol of their devoted fans. The NHL team is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the franchises 1982 move from Colorado to New Jersey by unveiling an alternate jersey with the word “Jersey” written on the front.
Fans online were quick to mock the design, calling the designers “idiotic” for writing “Jersey” on a jersey. “They should 💯 make a hat that says ‘HAT,'” quipped ESPN hockey writer Greg Wyshinski.
He added that it is probably part of a campaign to reach younger fans, which is why they included 20-year-old Jack Hughes in the promotional material. He was drafted by the Devils No. 1 overall in 2019, and is the face of the team’s push to get more Gen-Z hockey fans.
“Maybe the [fans] Jack Hughes’s age might dig this design more than ones who attended the 1995 Cup parade,” Wyshinski said, hoping to quell the massive backlash from the NJ Devils black jersey announcement.
New sport jersey unveilings usually come with their fair share of social media commentary, even for much loved redesigns, but the new NJ Devils black jersey is unusually hated by fans, primarily due to the obnoxious “Jersey” print of the front.
“We kind of started the process three years ago,” Brodeur revealed. “We looked at a lot of different ones. We had some samples made, some players wearing it.”
“Our logo is simple and easy to recognize, but now you’re talking about writing on the jersey,” Brodeur said. “How well can people recognize what it says 30 rows from the ice?”
“I wish we could have played in this,” Martin Brodeur told ESPN. “It’s just a cool thing.”
One fan called it a “missed opportunity to listen to your fan base,” and suggested that the team should have just inverted the colors and kept their “awesome” logo. “Instead you give us this ‘jersey’ 🤦♀️,” she wrote.
“[Y]ou’re making me want to become an Islanders fan,” another fan remarked.
Others pointed out that the NJ Devils black jersey looked uncannily familiar to the famous Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic jersey. The New Devils jersey features the same black color and solid white lines along the shoulders and arm.
Sports Logo mocked the design, saying that “It’s the same colors and almost exactly the same layout of what the Blackhawks wore in the 1920s and 1930s and have brought back again a few times in recent seasons.”
“Upon the first presentation of this concept someone in that Zoom call should’ve squashed it and steered it away for that reason alone,” the site read.
Some fans liked the design of the NJ Devils black jersey as well, arguing that “maybe it’s nice for once that we don’t have our crest on the jersey.”
“For years it’s only been the logo,” one fan said on Twitter, though it fell on deaf ears of the enraged.
SB Nation, a sports site with a New Jersey Devils fan page called “All About the Jersey,” said that the new design was “baffling.”
“This franchise literally had the Coca-Cola Classic of jersey designs and the Best Logo in Sports, and have opted to do away with both entirely for a cheap knockoff that you would expect to be sold outside the arena after a game,” the fan page said in their review.
“You only get one chance to make a first impression,” said SB Nation writer John Fischer. “The Devils blew it with this one.”