Dallas Stars set to retire Zubov’s number; and the NHL jersey conundrum

The Dallas Stars are set to retire Sergei Zubov’s number on Friday evening and a list of legendary Dallas Stars are set to attend. Mike Modano, Darian Hatcher, Marty Turco, Pat Verbeek, Brett Hull, and many more are slated to be by Zubov’s side as the number 56 is raised to the rafters of the American Airlines Center. Zubov was a pivotal piece of the 1999 Stanley Cup run and reached the NHL playoffs in 13 of his 16 NHL seasons on top of being inducted in the the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

As part of the ceremony, the Dallas Stars will honor Zubov by donning the iconic design made famous by the 1999 Stanley Cup team during warm-ups for their game against the visiting Washington Capitals. That’s where the confusion, or curiosity I should say, sets in. Last season the NHL rolled out the reverse retro campaign along with Adidas as part of an effort to recoup financial losses from the pandemic-effected NHL seasons. It was decently received in some markets, and not so much in some. Dallas landed in the latter.

Fans called the reverse retro design uninspiring as the all white away jerseys would look almost like an incomplete coloring book page.

Now admittedly some Stars fans embraced the reverse retro and have snagged one for their very own jersey collection. (I happen to be one of those fans.) While fans can agree to disagree on the reverse retro jersey, one thing is almost entirely unanimous. The Stars warm-up jerseys are smoother than Johnny Walker Blue, but they are just that. Warm-ups.

The NHL and Dallas Stars have every opportunity to make a nice chunk of change outside of auctioning off the warm-ups after the single use wear but sadly all questions don’t have answers. While I continue to do research and find out what I assume is a perfectly reasonable explanation, fans can only dream to be one of the 20 or so that are fortunate enough to afford to win the jersey auction in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we can hope that someday in the near future Adidas and the NHL can both agree that specialty jerseys are a brilliant idea to generate additional income for all franchises. The base set of uniforms for NHL franchises are meticulously thought out and rightfully so and in most instances the designers and leadership come up with phenomenal designs pleasing to a majority of their fan base but, nostalgia and uniqueness sell.

The NHL has had issues with expanding their fan base, and one would thing that looping in a neighboring NBA, NFL, or MLB franchise, may peak the interest of some and cause those curious eyes on the fence to take the leap and attend an NHL game.

For now, this fan holds onto hope that the NHL follows suit of the AHL and ECHL along with countless junior leagues in implementing theme jerseys or at least a true retro jersey night instead of just a quick 30 minute warmup show and tell.

Or…Dallas could just bring back the Mooterus forever.

Want more Texas hockey coverage? Check out the Whatahockey podcast below and follow on all socials @Whatahockey.

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