Old Logo, New Jersey, Who Dis?
Whether it’s articles or social media posts, I’m usually not one for rumors, speculation, insinuations, or conjecture. Too many times, I’ve witnessed things go sideways quick for people when they go full steam ahead with an assumption only to be proven terribly wrong later. I like talking about what is, not what might be. However, I am willing to entertain the idea of too many coincidences, several of which lead me to believe the San Jose Sharks are bringing back their inaugural logo next season. Yeah, I know it’s conspiracy theory, but just hear me out.
During the 25th Anniversary, the San Jose Sharks brought back their original jersey, called “heritage”, for 5 games during the season to pay tribute to the franchise’s silver anniversary.
These jerseys were, and continue to be, absolutely gorgeous. When the first image of the jersey was leaked by Hockey Giant, social media went crazy with delight. The popularity of the jersey was overwhelming with some outlets struggling to meet demand. When The Hockey News calls your sweater the best of all-time, chances are people will want one.
At the time, it made sense to “throwback” for few games in acknowledgement of the beginnings of the franchise. I didn’t think much of it after that season, but these were insanely popular, and still fetch a hefty price on auction sites.
You may remember during the playoff runs in 2018 and 2019, the Sharks’ marketing campaign was based around “Playoff Mode”.
The neon graphics used on social media, merchandise, and actual neon signs featured the original logo. Now a simple explanation for this could easily be the current logo doesn’t lend itself well to a neon representation. And I would agree with you.
If this was the only time the Sharks featured the current logo, I would’ve summarily dismissed it. However, I keep noticing the old logo creeping in more and more as of late.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, the Sharks released a new alternate, or third, jersey referred to as Stealth. Per the San Jose Sharks PR department:
“In collaboration with adidas, the Sharks set out to create an all-new look that pays homage to Northern California, embraces the tech culture of the region, and adds to the predatory nature of Sharks with a sleek new black-on-black look.”
While the jersey does feature a futuristic circuit board design on the sleeve and a cleverly hidden “SJ”, it also features something else. Rather than using the “screaming shark” marker as a secondary logo on the shoulders, the Sharks used the “circle fin” image. Again, this logo is a throwback to the beginnings of the franchise. In fact, the circle fin logo is nearly as popular as the original crest. Over the last couple season, caps featuring this logo have been hot sellers.
Recently, the Sharks sent out a renewal notice for their season ticket holders. As you can see, the featured logo is the classic logo rather than the current version.
Does the use of the old logo allude to something more happening for the upcoming 30th anniversary season? I couldn’t tell you, but it’s just one more log to throw on the speculation fire currently keeping me warm.
Could this all just be part of a parade of logos occurring this season? The Sharks have worked with several artists this season to “recreate” the Sharks logo, including the immensely popular Shark Freak design.
While Sharks Freak merchandise has been available at the Sharks store at SAP Center, it’s quite difficult to find anything with the old logo there. Based on the lack of classic logo merchandise, perhaps it’s just coincidence. Then again, Fanatics runs the Sharks store, not the Sharks.
The Pro Shop
Recently, I visited the Pro Shop at Solar4America Ice on the recommendation of a friend on social media. Evidently, the shop just got a plethora of new items like hats, shirts, and backpacks. All were made by Adidas and all feature the classic logo.
I was told this was due to a youth event and they were employing the logo. This stands to reason as the backpack was undersized and there were several youth sizes available. However, I was also told that some of this swag was sold out within a day due to popular demand.
Everyone wants to make money. When you put out merch and it flies off the shelf, it’s a pretty good bet to order more. Could this also be a case of the Sharks using this example to test the market for demand? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that the Adidas merch looked incredible in person.
On January 1st, a tweet from Fitteds and Flannels offered this juicy tidbit when talking about the Winter Classic jersey for the Minnesota Wild next season.
News regarding the Minnesota Wild Winter Classic jersey as well as their future third jersey. And some very interesting news about potential throwback jerseys for all NHL teams… pic.twitter.com/JGZBX8d5lE
— Fitteds and Flannels (@FittedsFlannels) January 2, 2020
Did someone say throwback? A week later, prior to the January 7th game against the St. Louis Blues, the Sharks Twitter and Instagram account posted a video promoting the game.
It seems odd to me why the Sharks would feature their old logo in this video. Is this a slow burn? Is this testing fan reaction? Did someone just make a mistake? Again, I’m not into speculation or conjecture. Perhaps I’m reading too much into all of this, but there are too many signs for me to not at least acknowledge.
During the 20th anniversary, the Sharks sold an inaugural jersey at the Sharks store even though the Sharks played no games while wearing them. For the 25th anniversary, the Sharks again released an inaugural jersey and the Sharks played 5 games in them. Both of these jerseys sold tremendously well and the 30th anniversary is next season. If history is any indication, I’d bet we see the Sharks rock the heritage jerseys once again, maybe even for the entire 2020-2021 campaign. According to the tweet above from Fitteds And Flannels, all NHL teams are getting a throwback jersey. Will the heritage jersey end up being the Sharks throwback or is another jersey on the way?
Fun With Photoshop
With the switch to Adidas a couple seasons ago, here’s Erik Kuhre’s mock-up of what he thinks a 30th anniversary heritage jersey would look like. What jersey do you want to see? Leave it in the comments section below.