The NHL officially unveiled the jerseys for the 2016 All-Star Game Wednesday, and the showcase-game threads are a tip of the cap to the city of Nashville and the host Predators.
"The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star jersey pays tribute to the city of Nashville's cultural scene, which includes the Nashville Predators," said NHL chief marketing officer and executive vice president Brian Jennings. "With creative support from Reebok's design team, the jerseys reflect the deep bond the Predators have with the music community, the city's growing passion for hockey and the All-Star Game's showcase of the best players in the League.”
While some of the connections to Nashville may not seem obvious, there are a number of ways the league has tied in the city and the Predators into the All-Star Game.
The most apparent nods to Nashville come in the color scheme of the jerseys, as well as the neckline and trim along the bottom the jersey. The NHL shield contains the same gold color the Predators wear as part of their uniforms, and the color can also be found in the collar and as piping throughout the jersey. The tri-star logo on the collar is a nod to both the Predators, which use the tri-star as part of a shoulder patch, and the state flag of Tennessee.
It’s much more difficult to spot the cultural references in the jersey, though. Per the NHL, there are a couple. First, the logo on the jersey has been “constructed with reflective material which glimmers in certain light as a salute to Nashville's vibrant night-life scene.” The numbering will also be made with the same material. The league also says the black and white base color scheme are supposed to represent the keys of a piano, which is a link to Nashville’s 'Music City' moniker.
The NHL incorporating a color theme to tie into the team isn’t a new idea, and using the gold as piping is similar to what the league did in 2015 with the neon green piping at the All-Star Game in Columbus.
Each player will also have two shoulder patches on each jersey. The right shoulder will have the All-Star Game’s logo, while the left shoulder will bear the logo from each player’s club team.
Because of the new format of the All-Star Game — four teams, one from each division — each team will be issued both a white and dark jersey. This way, should each team that is wearing the white sweater, for instance, win their semi-final game of the 3-on-3 tournament, one team can switch to the dark sweaters for the final.
The All-Star Game takes place Jan. 31 in Nashville.