An A+ or Fail on the newest NHL change.

Another NHL season, another change in the uniform.

Apparently this is happening this 2011-12 NHL season

Minnesota Wild Head Equipment Manager Tony Da Costa tweeted images of Dany Heatly’s helmet just before the puck was set to drop on the new NHL season.

He added that all players will have numbers on the front and back of their lids beginning on opening night.

According to the NHL players numbers will be added to the front of all players helmets(#’s are not mandatory on goalie helmets). These numbers  will measure no less than 1.25″ and no more than 2″ in height. The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters etc. by providing an additional point of player identification.

Now I was at the Vancouver Canucks home opener last night and the first thought I had was this was going to get annoying fast. Home fans already know their players and numbers so really the only way I can see it being a good thing in terms of fans is when teams are on the road and the visiting teams.

Yes not all change is bad but since the 1950’s broadcasters have had some sort of number to identify who is who. Broadcasters seem to be doing fine with the 4 existing numbers already  (5 for teams like SJ & Dallas who have numbers on the front of the jersey).

I understand why they were added, if it helps with player ID then great all for it although I don’t get how the numbers will help in judging blindside hits which is the league’s biggest issue, but in terms of ascetics helmets just seem a little overcrowded.

It might just be the newness effect but for some jerseys and the Canucks included it just throws the whole balance of the uniform’s look. Number plus a team logo and helmet makers name make me think what’s next? Could it be advertising on the player’s lids or even the jerseys? As long we don’t start putting ads on jerseys and helmets like the European leagues I think I can eventually get used to the numbers on the helmet.

If we as the fans have to choose between numbers of the front of the uniform or a number on the top of the helmet, most of us would choose the latter as its really the lesser of 2 evils as well as the one that’s easier to get used to. Seriously though if we have an issue of identifying players maybe we should just hire local company EA Sports or 2kSports to digitally put that blue circle around the player with their name and number. Just Saying!

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