On a hallway inside the Tampa Bay Lightning front office at Amalie Arena, a picture of Dave Andreychuk hangs on the wall.
In the photo, Andreychuk is holding aloft the Stanley Cup moments after Tampa Bay’s Game 7 victory over the Calgary Flames in the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Finals.
The jersey Andreychuk is wearing is black.
Saturday, in front of 8,830 fans at the team’s annual Fan Fest, the Lightning unveiled their brand-new third jersey, team captain Steven Stamkos wearing the new threads as he skated out to center ice while Lightning television play-by-play announcer and Fan Fest MC Rick Peckham announced “black is back”.
Harkening back to that championship-winning season Andreychuk was an integral member of, the Lightning third jersey this season is black with the BOLTS logo written diagonally across the front. Two white stripes adorn the shoulder with secondary blue and gray colors mixed in.
“Especially in ’04, black is what we were all about,” said Andreychuk, who now works in the Lightning front office as the vice president of corporate and community affairs. “I’m glad that that’s back. We kept the BOLTS, which is cool because I think when you think about BOLTS now, we’re starting to become Bolt Nation and Go Bolts. We can’t get rid of the BOLTS, so I’m glad that stayed. I think the black is awesome.”
According to Andreychuk, the production of the black jersey, from concept to design, took about a year and was a collaboration between himself, Lightning chairman and governor Jeff Vinik, CEO and alternate governor Tod Leiweke, president Steve Griggs and vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman, among others.
“The one thing that we talked about was obviously going to black but keeping our blue in it, having the blue and the black together,” Andreychuk said. “And I know Mr. Vinik was a big fan of the BOLTS. To me, it’s perfect.”
The Lightning will also wear a black version of their signature lightning bolt pants and black gloves along with the black jersey. The third jersey combo will make its debut November 13 at Amalie Arena against the San Jose Sharks and will be worn 12 times total during the season. The complete third jersey ensemble was designed by Reebok.
“There was a wow factor, no question about it,” Vinik said. “We’re going to be proud to wear it…I think our fans are going to be excited.”
The last time the Lightning wore black was during the 2010-11 season when the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I really like the look of it,” said Stamkos, who was in his third season with the Lightning the last time the team wore black.
“I think a lot of people are going to like the colors, maybe bring a little old school back in the jersey. I think we’re going to look meaner, cleaner and we’re going to look good.”
Offseason acquisition Jason Garrison said players get a kick out of wearing different jerseys throughout the season as a change of pace.
“It’s also really fun for the fans to get a different vision of the players,” Garrison said. “It was really cool. I think the jerseys are awesome and looking forward to wearing them.”
With expectations high for the Lightning entering the 2014-15 season, Andreychuk is hoping that the return to black will recreate some of the magic from the Stanley Cup Championship season.
“The black really signified that team,” he said. “…That jersey is going to be an icon forever because we won the Stanley Cup. Hopefully the black is going to be good luck for us.”