The New Jersey Devils officially unveiled their first-ever third jersey on Tuesday. It was met with mixed reviews from fans, as the franchise opted to go with a simple design that was perhaps unexpected. Fans have argued the overall design lacks creativity, and was a missed opportunity by the organization.
Regardless of the fans’ standpoint, the jersey will be worn 13 times this season by the team. The Devils will hit the ice in their newest jersey on Dec. 8, 2021 when they play the Philadelphia Flyers and the final time on April 29, 2021, when their regular season concludes against the Detroit Red Wings.
Devils Fans Finally Get Their Black Jersey
According to fans across social media, the best part of the newest Devils’ jersey is the color. Fans have been asking for a black jersey for years, and the team delivered on that front. The forwards and defensemen will be wearing black gloves for an overall cohesive look, while the black uniform really pops against the contrasting white goalie pads.
“Having seen the retro and reverse heritage jerseys, black was clearly the best and only option for the newest jersey,” said longtime Devils fan Matt Kaplan. “You now have a jersey representing the colors of the Devils from both the past and present.”
Brodeur’s Creative Input Changes the Mind of Fans
It is funny to see how many fans changed their views of the design once it was announced that Martin Brodeur played an essential role in the design. There are multiple nods to the Hall of Famer beginning with the lacing at the neck, which resembles the net on the goal. He proudly explained the history behind the concept that took three years to create.
“The organization has been playing with the same jersey for almost 40 years, and to be a part of bringing a third jersey for our fans to enjoy is going to leave a great mark,” Brodeur said in a statement. “The new sweater is inspired by a history of hockey in the Garden State that fans may not be familiar with, and layered with design elements of Devils championship success. This is a jersey our alumni are envious of that they wished they could have played in it back in their day. People throughout the state and country know us as ‘Jersey.’ This is our place, our home, and this jersey signifies that.” (from ‘Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur designs Devils’ first alternate jersey’, The Athletic, 11/23/21)
A Simple Logo and Design
In the press release, Brodeur recalled that, while playing for the Devils, his friends and family began referencing the state as Jersey instead of New Jersey. Personally, I don’t know any person born in the Garden State that says they live in New Jersey, it is always Jersey. While it seems every fan online has a negative view of the new look, not every Devils fan dislikes the alternate jersey.
“I really like the jerseys, and the fact that they pay homage to the Newark Bulldogs,” said fan Tom Saja. “The logo is fine; that’s who we are — Jersey. It is clean and simple. We already have the flashy jerseys when we wear the red and green. If they are paying homage to the old jerseys they are going to look similar to to Chicago who is an Original Six team.”
Speaking of Chicago, one of the biggest complaints fans had when the jersey was released was the stripes, saying it resembled one of the Blackhawks Winter Classic jerseys. The press release explains the stripes represent all 21 counties in New Jersey, in addition to the five stripes on the left shoulder, which are a nod to the five players who have had their numbers retired by the organization. The simple detailing including both the stripes and logo illustrate the history of both New Jersey and Devils hockey.
Devils Players React
Unlike the fan reaction, it appears the players are excited with the overall design and look of their newest jersey. Fans seem to agree the jersey looked better once they saw it on the players. Devils’ defenseman Dougie Hamilton told media he liked the jersey when he saw the complete look.
“Right when I saw it, I liked it a lot and once we saw them with the full kit with the gloves and pants and socks, I thought it looked really good,” said Hamilton. “We’re all excited to wear them and I think it’ll look pretty cool.”
Fellow defenseman P.K. Subban echoed Hamilton’s thoughts on the new look.
“I think people know I’m a person with an open mind. I think it’s great,” said Subban. “Adidas is one of my partners. When I went to Portland last summer, they showed me a couple of the third jersey options for some of the teams. I’m really excited. New Jersey has so much history and so much culture. I think they did a really good job with the jersey.”
It is impossible to please everyone, and the Devils’ alternate jersey is a prime example. The jersey pays homage to the hockey history of New Jersey including the Newark Bulldogs, River Vale Skeeters and Jersey Larks. While the design is aesthetically simple, it is full of meaning and dedicated to New Jersey’s hockey history. Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the Devils’ first-ever third jersey.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and covers both the Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly Youtube show produced by THW. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.