In the Book of Genesis, the dawn of creation is ushered in with God’s order of “Let there be light.” A story of remarkable destruction occurred late last week in Buffalo, N.Y., when God was introduced to the offseason uniform redesign of the Sabres. He thundered an Indian Summer blizzard upon the residence of the perpetrators, extinguishing power for hundreds of thousands of Buffalo-ans.
“There shall be no light with which to view this abomination,” He seemed to be saying.
Last night’s Versus broadcast of Buffalo-Philthy showcased the commendable portion of Sabres management’s offseason uniform redesign: the return to the team’s original colors and insignia. They looked fantastic.
However, what the nation saw on television last night actually serves as Buffalo’s third — or alternative — sweater, and therefore wears as the fashion exception to the ruling abomination they normally will skate in this season:
In taverns, office suites, schoolyards, and especially Internet message boards across the globe it has swiftly come to be known as the SlugSweater. My favorite parodistic treatment of it:
Last night, as if in belligerent defiance of the global ridicule of the Slug, Sabres’ management sullied the classic uniform look slightly by forcing the Slug insignia upon the Sabres’ helmets, which mercifully TV viewers could notice only during play stoppages and closeups of the headgear. When management really screws up something as sacred as a team’s look, fans do take action with contemporary remedies. Witness the more than 30,000 signatures at Fix The Logo.
There is instruction in this. Firstly, the Dallas Stars years back debuted an alternative sweater that quickly overtook the midling norm. This fine fashion work was later undone a bit when they hired, seemingly, a college student on ‘shrooms to devise what ESPN’s Page2 recently described as a “fallopian tube” motif. The Stars ditched it this summer.
With so much of modern message making extensively focus group tested, why on earth wouldn’t pro sports teams’ management first run a redesign idea by say three rooms of core constituents: (1) long-time season ticket holders; (2) hockey bloggers . . . : ) ; and (3) reputable fashion pros with direct experience in sports uniform design? The groups should be posed at least these two basic questions about the proposed new look:
(1) Does it at least not stink?; and
(2) Is it at least dignified?
Now because last night’s Versus’ broadcast meant national exposure and discussion of the new uni calamity, the league arrived prepared, trotting out impressive merchandise sales figures for the new Sabres’ sweater in particular and for NHL gear overall most especially (it’s up 85 percent over this time last year). A few qualifications about sales figures as defense for fashion crimes:
(1) Everybody loves a frontrunner — especially an undefeated one. These high-octane, highly entertaining Sabres almost certainly could take the ice in blue and gold sets of Depends and move them in great numbers at retailers.
(2) Once upon a time, out of the gate, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks had a comparably ludicrous logo that sold like hotcakes. We saw how that turned out.
(3) There is today a profitable niche market for the worst of sports fashion fads. In places all about North America one can find the non-institutionalized willing to fork over $400 or more to wear the Canucks’ hockey stick sweater or their violence-on-the-eyes ‘V.’
There is hope that what ultimately prevailed in Dallas can similarly succeed in northwestern New York. And I’d further hope that when the day arrives where a re-do of the threads in D.C. is launched the caretakers keep in mind these high fashion crimes against hockey humanity.
Our eyes don’t lie. Ugly is as ugly appears. And ridiculous ugly is unacceptably ugly to 30,000 otherwise supportive sets of eyes. The 30,000 petitioners at fixthelogo desperately want to bring the fashion fugitives in Sabres management to justice.
I do not know what happens to slugs buried under two feet of snow, but I do know that these SlugSweaters need to be buried under two feet of fashion salt.