One of the best parts of the NHL’s jersey agreement with Adidas over the last five years was the creation of Reverse Retro jerseys.
Remixing or flipping popular vintage jerseys, the NHL and Adidas did two official releases of the program during the 2020–21 and 2022-23 seasons before rocking Reverse Retro jerseys at the 2023 All-Star Game. The idea seemed to have legs for years to come as teams could generate more revenue while experimenting with old designs or creating brand new ones, making their branding more versatile.
But those 2023 ASG sweaters appear to be the final RR jersey release as ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski is reporting the program is being vaulted after the league signed a 10-year agreement with Fanatics.
NHL executive vice president of marketing Brian Jennings told Wyshynski that the Reverse Retro program was inspired by “limited drops or a scarcity model.” Items selling out fast create more urgency among fans to buy while the coronavirus pandemic created legitimate supply chain issues. Jennings added that the NHL owns the designs of all the jerseys that hit the ice, meaning ending the program wasn’t because Adidas was leaving as the league’s official manufacturer.
“Reverse Retro was incredibly successful for two years,” Jennings said. “But I wouldn’t have gone back and done Reverse Retro 3.0. I think it had done its thing.”
That comment may run counter to NHL fan opinion though, especially in the DC area.
The Capitals had the top-selling Reverse Retro jersey in 2020. The jerseys sold out in minutes online after their release on Shop.NHL.com. NHL players voted the Capitals Screagle design the fifth-best in the NHL. In an RMNB poll, Capitals fans voted the Screaming Eagle to be the most popular logo from the Alex Ovechkin Era in DC.
Alex Ovechkin scored in every game he wore the black Screaming Eagle RR sweater this season and made a public plea to bring it back in 2023-24.
“Yeah, it sucks that it’s going to be our last game with this jersey,” Ovechkin said. “I hope they gonna think about it and put it back next year.”
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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