It started with a tweet.

As the adidas team sat down to determine what the jerseys might look like for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game, set to be played Feb. 4 at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida (3 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS), they realized that the NHL had already helped them with their research.
The NHL's Twitter account, on Jan. 28, 2022, had posted All-Star Game jerseys from past decades and posed the question: "Which is your all-time favorite jersey?"
"It was just this really fantastic social listening opportunity," said Matty Merrill, adidas hockey's senior designer. "I spent two or three hours scrolling through the comments from NHL fans across the country -- across the globe, really -- tallying up the preferences. We always listen to fan feedback. But rarely do we get something that's that statistical, where you can actually count the votes."
And there was their answer.
"That 1994 big-star, supersized star jersey was everybody's favorite," Merrill said. "Everything came together so perfectly this time around."
RELATED: [2023 NHL All-Star Game coverage]
Merrill and the adidas team would apply a Reverse Retro color remix to the designs worn at the 1994, 1996 and 1997 All-Star Games, bringing the wildly popular design concept to one of the NHL's signature events.
"We were able to say, 'Hey look, you asked the fans, the fans spoke'," Merrill said.
It also had a second reference that worked: The 1994 NHL All-Star design was the first All-Star uniform worn by the Florida Panthers in their inaugural season, nearly 30 years ago.
There are two designs -- one emblazoned with Eastern Conference and one with Western Conference, as they were in 1994 -- with the words circling an NHL-labeled puck in black and orange. It's the first time since 2009 that the teams will be identified as East and West on the crests of the jerseys, featuring Primegreen dimensional cresting. And the orange and black of the puck, and the current NHL shield, harken back to vintage branding colors of the League.
Using the 1994 design, adidas opted for colors that evoke South Florida, an electric blue called Biscayne blue and a hot pink called Flamingo pink accenting the primarily black-and-white jerseys.


"As we've done Reverse Retro more and more, a lot of times it's simple where you're going to take that classic jersey and do it in maybe your current colors," Merrill said. "In this case, we stretched that definition of what Reverse Retro is a little bit to incorporate a cultural color.
"South Florida being such a live and electric culture, we were like, I think we can start looking at images of South Florida and the sunsets, the neon, and pick a couple of culture colors to remix these jerseys in, to make them meaningful to not only everyone who voted and all these NHL fans across the globe who just loved that big-star jersey, but meaningful to the hosts themselves. Make sure it feels Florida."
It's the new mixed with the old that has made Reverse Retro such a hit since it launched in 2020. It means that the League's current stars will wear jerseys that were once donned by just about every big name of the 1990s, all-time greats like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier and Chris Chelios, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy and Eric Lindros.
"If you asked these guys who are playing in the game this year, 'Hey, who was your favorite player from the '90s?' they're going to name a guy who wore this jersey, for sure," Merrill said.

Take a look at the jerseys for the 2023 All Star Game

Which is what makes it feel so special, all those greats that came before, all those memories, all that nostalgia, wrapped up in a Florida-tinged jersey.
"It does feel like the ultimate," Merrill said. "Like the curtain close on Reverse Retro. We did it on all these 32 teams in all these 32 markets and now we get to do it in one closing flare, where all the teams wear the same Reverse Retro at the same time."
The NHL All-Star jerseys will be available at
, Fanatics' network of online stores and
NHL Shop NYC at Manhattan West
starting Friday.