It was San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns who said it best while in Las Vegas on June 20 when the NHL and adidas unveiled the new adizero Authentic jerseys now available to purchase at NHL Shop.
Look good. Feel good. Play good.
Performance is the root and anchor of adidas, the authentic outfitter of on-ice uniforms and an official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear for the NHL. On Friday, performance, feel, substance and style will come together, the fruits of a seven-year partnership forged between the NHL and adidas in 2015. The finished product is a new silhouette that Dan Near, the head of adidas hockey, believes is the fastest and strongest ever seen on the ice.
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Along with the freshness and novelty, there's a jolt of energy from a fan base already excited for the start of the 2017-18 season.
"Our company takes pride in building products to make athletes perform better," Near said. "We were really pleased to hear a general level of excitement about this change that we respected the traditions of hockey. But we brought some new aesthetic and excitement to the sport that's hopefully going to be reflective of the impact adidas is going to have on the game in the seven-year partnership.
"What are we bringing into the sport of hockey that's enhancing what we've had in the past and making it better? It can't be just about aesthetics. It has to be a legitimate storyline behind it."
Adidas' inspiration is drawn from player feedback and what they believe will increase performance. Some players like oversized jerseys because they want no constriction. Others want more of a form-fitting outline that allows them to feel like they're moving faster on the ice.
Upon announcing the release of the new jerseys, adidas focused on three bullet points:
Lighter: Crest weight is reduced by up to 46 percent and number weight by up to 60 percent to deliver a product 19 percent lighter compared witho a current NHL jersey.
"Range of motion is a big thing for players," Near said. "Performance with respect to 'if I'm lighter, if I'm not retaining as much moisture, if my body is breathing better and I have a lower body temperature, I'm going to be better in the third period. I'm going to be better in overtime.' Those are the core inspirations, I think, behind what we're doing."
Cooler: Adidas' Clima technology in the jersey fabrics delivers breathability and enhanced performance with a streamlined silhouette maximizing air flow circulation that's 133 percent more permeable than the current fabric.
Stronger: Fabrics that proved up to 27 percent stronger in burst testing and up to 72 percent tougher in abrasion testing.
"The rigor of an NHL schedule; [players] change jerseys a few times throughout the course of a season but [the jerseys are] susceptible to a tremendous amount of wear and tear," Near said. "That doesn't just mean guys grabbing jerseys or getting caught on the boards or anything like that. It's the friction of high-impact play across the boards. It's goalies taking pucks to the chest over and over again. It's important to have jerseys that perform."
Performance will be the operative word during the 2017-18 season, when adidas intends to take the partnership with the League to new heights by engaging with athletes who endorse the brand and telling stories about their connection with hockey. Fans will also play a role through brand activations at jewel events including the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game, Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We dipped our toe in the water and showed the NHL and NHL fans what we're about with an activation out in Vegas at the NHL Awards," Near said. "Hockey plays an important role in our quest to be the most relevant sports brand in America. We really believe there's no more passionate sports fan than the hockey fan and they're loyal to brands that are aligned with the sport."
"We're going to do things a little bit differently. We're going to challenge some of the status quo. We're going to celebrate creativity. That's going to be prevalent in all of the communication, all of the products we put out. And hopefully it's a little bit of fun. Hopefully people feel like adidas' association with the NHL is something that's cool and unique and groundbreaking, and not something that you see in professional sports every day."