It can be easy to go through the NHL store and find the bad merchandise. In fact, they make it too easy for us. And that’s like swinging at low hanging fruiting while also kicking a dead horse and a broken clock is right twice a day. I’ve long been critical of the merchandise the various teams sign off on because it tends to show a huge disconnect with what we as fans actually want to spend money on. A lot of teams struggle to pin down how they want their brand to look – see the Maple Leafs using so many shades of blue and a plethora of texts and logos often on the same garment.
I do consider progress being made as there are no more pink jerseys plaguing the stores.
After sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of items, let’s look at the apparel that is being done well. And oh hey, the holidays are coming up so hopefully this can make shopping easier!
The logo is actually stitched on and the lettering is embroidered. This is a huge improvement from the shoddy screen print jerseys that typically were in the women’s department. This will be nice and warm in the arena, the only downside here is no pocket on the hoodie. But it does have the nice extension of fabric on the back to keep you covered. This hoodie jersey is also in the men’s department.
Old Time Hockey makes really great stuff, I have a few of their sweatshirts and they have endured wear and wash incredibly well over years. Old Time Hockey actually understands what gave sportswear a vintage and classic look. They manage to produce something that looks timeless and not tacky. This sweatshirt can go with just about anything: jeans, leggings, even a nice skirt. It is a piece that is really versatile.
If I wore this and someone told me it looked nice I would immediately reply with THANKS IT HAS POCKETS! This hoodie is fleece lined and it won’t pill, so there is no need to worry about having to shave the fuzzies of your sweatshirt. It’s also quick-dry so you don’t have to worry about getting too melty in the event of hot and crowded arena. Look at those stripes on the sleeves!
So crisp and tidy. This jacket is simple and bold and looks a bit like a varsity jacket without making someone look like they’re clinging to their high school years. Yes, it is the darker blue but it works for this jacket. Again, stitched on logos are the best logos. Even better: you get two looks in one.
Or is it a toque? This is practical and will look good on anyone. Understated logo so it can be worn daily without being THAT PERSON who is obnoxiously Leafs all the time. You can wear this to work and still be taken seriously. Bonus: the charcoal is a nice color in case you’re at a game that isn’t in the ACC and you don’t want to be spotted as an infiltrator.
Some of the best pieces in the Leafs store are the ones not trying to do too much. A shirt for the brand doesn’t need the team name written on it in three different ways. Stitch that logo on, because it is something that should last. And please just try not to get too clever and —-
Did you know you can support the fine staff here and look fashionable too? The Leafs Nation has some shirts so you can stand out. I’m so glad we’re at the point where shirts for websites are no longer embarrassing and actually look cool.
Don’t you worry, there’s still a stash of bad merch that needs to be punished. What hockey merch have you seen lately that you liked?
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