This week, Outsports is joining SB Nation in celebrating as well as deriding the sports jerseys, uniforms and kits that have made us proud, embarrassed and given us reasons to wonder, “what on earth were you thinking?” Today, contributor Shelby Weldon offers five ideas for the next National Women’s Hockey League expansion team.
The NWHL announced one week ago today that the league would be expanding to Toronto, reigniting some discussions over the state of the women’s game. How will the NWHL’s expansion influence career paths for Canadian hockey talent? Will its success lead to a revival in other ex-CWHL cities like Montreal and Calgary? Are you Team NWHL or Team PHWPA? (You’re only allowed to choose one.)
As Outsports’ resident Torontonian, I’ve taken it upon myself to tackle the most important questions buzzing around the Twittersphere: what is the new team going to be called and, most importantly, are the jerseys gonna look cute?
Proposal 1: The Furies redux
Even if the CWHL never received the support and resources it deserved, the Furies were our team and meant a lot beyond their Clarkson Cup win. We had Jessica Platt, who was one of the first hockey players to come out as transgender! The Furies were fierce as hell and deserve a logo featuring the original furies, the avengers of Greek mythology – not a bland copy of the Maple Leafs.
Proposal 2: #WETHENORTH
Toronto’s not only the home of the reigning NBA champions but there’s been announcements that a WNBA franchise is coming here as well. My pitch for the WNBA team is Toronto Velocity. As in velociraptor. As in the Raptors. Geddit? Geddit?
Anyway, I think it works for a hockey team too.
Proposal 3: Toronto vs Everybody
Nobody outside Toronto likes Toronto, and that valid! It’s a garbage city. Nothing has grown to represent the GTA as much as the humble raccoon, and that should be represented in our sports culture too.
Proposal 4: Tkaronto vs Everybody
Cree artist Leticia Spence designed an Indigenous-inspired jersey redesign for the Winnipeg Jets this past season, featuring Cree florals, which Spence saw a lot of in her aunties’ beadwork growing up, and carefully incorporating symbols from Cree, Dene, Dakota, Ojibwe, and Oji-cree culture. Toronto on the other hand could employ artists from the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishnabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations to work on a design that centers local Indigenous nations in the city’s sports culture.
We collaborated with Red River College graphic design student Leticia Spence, from Pimicikamak First Nation, to develop a special version of both the #NHLJets and @ManitobaMoose logos that incorporate the artwork and symbolism of several Indigenous cultures! pic.twitter.com/7zGOCjrt0y— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) February 6, 2019
Proposal 5: 90s nostalgia
The Raptors had a lot of success bringing back their 90s retro jerseys this year and I think the market is ripe for more nostalgia. One thing that immediately came to mind was the classic Canadian public service announcement my generation was raised on: house hippos.
There’s a secondary labor demand of female athletes to be commodifiable as ‘empowering’ and ‘inspirational’ on top of just being good at their job, and I want to push back on that. We don’t have to be Rosie the Riveters anymore. Twenty-first century feminism is about the freedom to eat toast and curl up in a bed of dryer lint.
Tell us which of these ideas you like, and what are some of your favorite jerseys, iconic or forgotten? Share yours in the comments below!