On Monday, the NHL and Adidas finally unveiled their long-awaited Reverse Retro sweaters for all 31 teams, which, according to the league, were “inspired by (jerseys) worn by the team during a season that has some historical significance” and will be utilized multiple times “in designated rivalry games during the upcoming season.”
Leading up to this announcement, the Arizona Coyotes released a few teaser images on their social media outlets on Nov. 12. This created widespread speculation that the jerseys would be Kachina-inspired, and these rumors were proven true on Monday morning:
The Reverse Retros are a refresh of the classic “Peyote Coyote” third jerseys worn from 1998 to 2003. Those jerseys were primarily green with sand-colored lettering, while the new sweaters are primarily purple with white lettering. Both jerseys feature the classic Coyote head crest, the crescent moon logo, and dual lizard shoulder patches. The originals featured a desert landscape scene on the bottom third of the torso and sleeves, while the new ones appear to omit the scene on the sleeves, with the desert coloring remaining.
The originals have been panned in recent times, with one writer saying that they are “not only the worst jersey the Coyotes have worn, it’s one of the worst NHL jerseys ever.” However, the Peyote Coyote has remained popular in the Valley of the Sun – you’ll still see the jerseys around Gila River Arena during home games. You may even have seen me in one at some point, as I’ve worn the original green sweater everywhere from games in Glendale, to stick and puck sessions at Tempe’s Oceanside Ice Arena, to classes at Arizona State University during my college days.
In contrast with the original green Peyote Coyote sweaters, the reaction to the Coyotes’ new purple Kachinas has been largely positive across the board, with Arizona being ranked in the top-five in the NHL by many publications. Pete Blackburn at CBS Sports gave the ‘Yotes an A grade, writing that the sweaters “should be promoted to full-time alternates at some point down the line.”
I’m not sure what the league’s plan is for these sweaters beyond the 2020-21 season, but, considering the acclaim that Arizona’s new threads have already received both locally and across North America in just one day, adding these as a permanent third jersey going forward might be the move to make. Bringing back the white Kachinas for road games and whiteout playoff games would also be an extremely popular and lucrative venture, but that’s a conversation for another time.
When it comes to other national perspectives, SB Nation’s Jenny Berman rated the jerseys as the fourth-best in the league, writing, “the Coyotes desert jersey is one of the weirdest of the 90s, but this purple entry looks really great and fresh compared to the original.” NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz ranked Arizona’s sweaters at No. 5. “The Kachina look, the purple, and the overall design just work for me. It is bold, it is different, and it is excellent.”
Sports Illustrated’s Ryan Kennedy rated Arizona eighth on his list. “The Coyotes have gone all-in on zany lately and hey, why not? It’s been working. The purple looks great and I fully enjoy that they refer to this mascot as the ‘Peyote Coyote.'”
Kachinas = Cha-Ching
Fans in Arizona have been clamoring for years for the hometown club to bring back the Kachina sweaters in a greater capacity, and, in recent years, they’ve got their wish, with the black Kachinas being worn in more and more home games with each passing season, as well as in all of Arizona’s Stanley Cup playoff “home” contests in the Edmonton bubble in August.
The new Reverse Retro sweaters have continued the Kachina trend, and it’ll likely be hard to find any of these in stock as Christmas nears, especially with hype videos like these being released:
Overall, we saw 30 other jerseys revealed on Monday, and Arizona’s easily are one of the best in the NHL. We’ve seen entries from the New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and others being dunked on nationally for looking too much like the current jersey or for resembling a practice jersey, but we’ve seen very few negative reactions of that type about the new purple Coyotes sweaters.
Given that the team has only 25 years of history in the state of Arizona and has worn a relatively small number of sweaters in comparison to other teams during that time, there wasn’t much for Adidas to work with here. Also working against Adidas is the fact that the Coyotes have already featured the Kachina jerseys more often in recent years, leaving few other options on the table that could be “new” while still being considered “retro.” The Peyote Coyote third jerseys were the logical choice, and Adidas absolutely knocked Arizona’s Reverse Retro sweaters out of the park.
A lifelong Phoenix resident, Louis has been following hockey since 2010, has covered the Arizona Coyotes since 2015, and has been playing hockey since 2020. So far, Louis has visited eight NHL cities, and one of his personal goals is to eventually make it to all 31 NHL arenas. For any questions or concerns, contact the writer via Twitter @LouisPannone.