MONTREAL - The suspense had lasted long enough. The Canadiens helped celebrate their annual golf tournament by also unveiling their eagerly-anticipated revamped jersey.
Just as 12 other NHL teams had before them, the Canadiens raised the curtain on both the home and away versions of their new Rbk Edge jersey to be worn beginning in 2007-08.
“We are very pleased with the results,” said general manager GM Bob Gainey. “I have to congratulate Reebok for managing to also honor the tradition of this sweater that spans over 90 years, which I’m sure was no easy task.”
Also in attendance for the big announcement were Cristobal Huet and Maxim Lapierre, who acted as well-versed models for the new designs. The pair were the only Canadiens players to have worn the jerseys, with Huet having done so at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas and Lapierre having sported a prototype model of the jersey back in junior.
“Hockey equipment has evolved so much in recent years that it’s only natural that the jerseys would one day follow,” said Huet. “The biggest difference is the weight of the jersey, which is a big deal for us goalies considering how heavy our equipment gets as a game wears on.”
Reebok left no stone unturned in their careful crafting of the jersey, which was over two years in the making in the research and development phase. The result is a sleeker, more form-fitting design aimed at maximizing a player’s performance.
"The integration of the Reebok Bead-Away and PlayDry technologies work together to offer players a 14 percent reduction in pre-game jersey weight,” explained Canadiens Vice-President Marketing and Sales, Ray Lalonde. “The Rbk Edge jersey also holds 76 percent less moisture than the current jersey throughout the course of a game.”
This wave of technological advance was not limited to the jersey alone. The traditional hockey sock also received an overdue facelift, with a lighter, more water resistant design doing away with its heavier, woven predecessor.
Canadiens fans will get their first look at their team’s new duds when the Penguins pay a visit to the Bell Centre on Sept. 17 to kick off the preseason.
Time will tell whether Reebok will succeed in doing for NHL players what Pampers has spent decades doing for babies—keep them dry.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com