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Canadiens unveil 2016 NHL Winter Classic jersey

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens on Friday unveiled the jersey they'll be wearing against the Boston Bruins for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 1.

Montreal captain Max Pacioretty, defenseman P.K. Subban and right wing Brendan Gallagher modeled the white inversion of the Canadiens classic red jersey with the familiar blue band encircling the chest.

Subban, renowned throughout the NHL as a man of style, gave the Canadiens' newest fashion a rave review ahead of their first Winter Classic appearance.

"It's got to be one of the highest ratings, for sure," Subban said. "This is such a special event, it's such a special game, and the message to the players is to enjoy it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The legendary "CH" team crest is sewn on the front in felt and the usual colors are reversed, with the "C" in white and the "H" in red. The logo is a style the Canadiens wore in 1923-24, when they won the Stanley Cup for the first time as members of the NHL with a lineup featuring hockey legends Howie Morenz, Aurele Joliat and Georges Vezina.

"I like everything about it," Subban said. "I like the color. I like the globe on the arm, it's pretty cool, the story behind it, but just the fact that it's hand-stitched, it's special, this is like a collector's item. It's not just a jersey, in my opinion, it's a symbol of what it means to be a Montreal Canadien."

The globe patches sewn on the sleeves evoke the team logo the Canadiens wore during the 1924-25 season, Boston's first in the League, to celebrate their standing as world champions.

"We were just talking about that before we came out here," Gallagher said. "It looks a little different. It's hard to imagine the team without the CH on the front but the one thing that makes the Montreal Canadiens so special is the tradition that comes with it and the players that have worn those jerseys, and this is just one example. I think when you can build a jersey like they have to represent the team so well, as players it's a pretty special feeling."

Canadiens chief operating officer Kevin Gilmore said the lighter shade of blue in the Winter Classic jersey is a nod to the color of Montreal's first jersey in 1909-10 as a founding member of the National Hockey Association.

"It is a new (jersey), but it's not a new one," Gilmore said. "It's a jersey that basically pays homage to our tradition, our history, whether it's the 'CH' with the white, whether it's the 'LNH' tag that pays tribute to the fact of the French heritage here for the team, so there's a lot of things that went into creating that look."

The red-knit collar represents the one on the white jersey worn by Maurice "Rocket" Richard and the 1945-46 Canadiens, who defeated the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

"We don't just do a jersey or do something without a reason behind it," Gilmore said. "So we spent a lot of time looking at the history of the team, the history of the jerseys, when we wore certain jerseys, who we were playing against, when they came in the League, and it's great because all the pieces fit in well and allowed us to create what I think is a beautiful jersey."

Subban will reserve a limited quantity of his No. 76 Winter Classic jerseys and personally sign them for fans at the Montreal's Children's Hospital on Nov. 29, with all proceeds to benefit the hospital. Earlier this year, Subban and his foundation donated $10 million to the hospital, which named its atrium after him.

The Winter Classic will be the Canadiens' third outdoor game. Montreal wore its iconic red jersey in the style of the 1950s Stanley Cup dynasty for the 2003 Heritage Classic against the Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium, and for the 2011 Heritage Classic against the Calgary Flames the Canadiens wore a version of their white jersey with numbers in the style worn by their most recent Stanley Cup champions in 1992-93.

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