Hockey Fest, and jersey talk

A few days ago, I promised a more in-depth look at Hockey Fest, which will take place Sunday, Sept. 11, at Staples Center. That has now been posted and you can check it out by clicking here.

As part of that story, I talked to Kings chief operating officer Chris McGowan about the new jerseys. Just to recap, the Kings are going through a bit of a rebranding this year, with the former “third jersey” now becoming the home jersey, and a newly created white version becoming the road jersey. Here’s the Kings’ wardrobe for this season…

[from left: home jersey, road jersey, third jersey, “vintage” jersey]

The inclusion of the third jersey, and its transition to becoming the full-time home jersey, has been much debated. (For the record, I wasn’t a big fan of the all-black jersey and I haven’t warmed to it much, but I think the new white jerseys look quite sharp.) I asked McGowan about the process of changing the Kings’ look…

MCGOWAN: “We’re introducing a new look, but in a way we’re not. The look has already been introduced, with the alternate jersey, the black version of it with the L.A. crest on the front. So we simply just produced a reversed version of that, in white, because of positive feedback from multiple people that are involved with the jerseys, including our fans, our ownership group, the players, the NHL, Reebok. Everyone seems to love the simpler white, black and silver look, so we decided, based on all the positive feedback that we’ve gotten from people, to make that our primary jersey. Then we will still keep the purple elements in our organization. Not primary, but we still want to keep them because there are people who like the purple part of the Kings brand. We’re going to wear that jersey a couple times during the season as our alternate.”

Question: I’d heard that the players actually voted to wear the black jerseys in the playoffs the past two seasons. Is that true? Did that factor into things?

MCGOWAN: “They did vote. If you notice, the last two years we wore the black jerseys in the playoffs. You want the players being comfortable with what they’re wearing, and you want them to like what they’re wearing. They didn’t dislike our old jerseys. They just simply liked the alternates better. Then we started showing them mock-ups of what a reverse, a white version, of that would look like. We did the camera tests and the designing of it. You could just see it in their eyes, that that’s the one they want to wear primarily. They definitely played a part in the decision. When you make an organizational change like that, you want to make sure you’re talking to as many people as possible. So we were bringing focus groups in with fans, getting their feedback. We got our players’ feedback, obviously. We got our ownership group’s feedback. We got the NHL’s feedback. We got Reebok’s feedback. You gets tons and tons of feedback, to make sure that the decision you think you’re making is the right one. Organizationally, we feel really good about the black, white and silver direction that we’re going.

“It’s tough, too, with jerseys. You want them to be classic and elegant. You want them to be retro but they need to have a modern feel as well. We definitely feel that we’ve accomplished that with the jerseys that we have now. We’re also going to wear the vintage jerseys three times this year, so our fans are going to get to see us in different looks all throughout the year. We think people get excited about that and people like to see that. It kind of changes the monotony of a long season, when fans get to see the team wear different versions of the jerseys.”

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