OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks will honor the rich hockey roots of their respective Canadian cities with the uniforms they wear when they take the ice for the Tim Hortons 2014 Heritage Classic on Mar. 2 at BC Place in Vancouver.
Thursday, Ottawa unveiled the uniforms it will wear for the third edition of the NHL's regular-season outdoor game in Canada. Senators captain Jason Spezza modelled Ottawa's 2014 Heritage Classic jersey, which is a light-colored version of the team's current third jersey.
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"I'm a big fan of it," Spezza said. "I like the way they tie in the retro feel with the beige (Heritage White) color, and with the 'O' that we use in our third jersey and the felt numbers. They've done a good job of incorporating some of the retro feel to kind of a modern jersey, and I thought it was a good addition to our jersey panel."
Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin wore the Canucks' maroon Vancouver Millionaires jersey, which the team introduced last season to commemorate the city's only Stanley Cup champions to date.
Vancouver and Ottawa competed for the Stanley Cup in 1915. The Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association defeated the original Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey Association in a three-game sweep in Vancouver.
The Canucks will wear the jersey again when they host the 2014 Heritage Classic.
"It's very nice," Sedin said. "We have a big history of hockey in Vancouver so it is an honor to put it on, and personally I really like the jersey."
Ottawa left winger Clarke MacArthur was impressed when he got his first look at the Senators' 2014 Heritage Classic jersey a couple of weeks ago.
"I thought it was awesome," MacArthur said. "It will be my first time getting to have an opportunity to play in an outdoor game, and I think it's just going to be a great experience for the players, the fans and families. I think it's just going to be awesome."
Senators president Cyril Leeder said that Ottawa originally wanted to wear its current third jersey, which is predominantly black with wide bands of red and cream-colored Heritage White, for the 2014 Heritage Classic, but it was not suitable for the game because there was not enough contrast with the dark tones of the Canucks' Millionaires uniforms.
The decision to lighten the color scheme of the Senators' popular third jersey is a hit with the players.
"I just like that way they've tied in the heritage look with the beige and the felt numbers with our current third jerseys, so they didn't go too far off the grid and it ties in nice, and it's something they did a great job with," Spezza said.
Ottawa forward Cory Conacher was already a big fan of the team's current third jersey, so he was happy to see the flipped color scheme was the biggest variation to a look he already liked.
"It's a cool little changeup," Conacher said. "I've always like the 'O' jersey that we wear now and to wear a white one now, it's going to be pretty cool."
Even Sedin gave the Ottawa jersey a thumbs up.
"I like the big 'O' in the front," Sedin said. "I think it's nice and it's just another thing about the game that makes it special, different jerseys and just all the buildup for the fans, I think it's great."
It will be the first outdoor game for both teams.
"It's still far away but it's more real, I would say," Sedin said. "The buildup is going to start now. With this happening, fans are going to start talking about and realizing that it's getting closer, so I think it's good."
The Edmonton Oilers played host to the Montreal Canadiens in the inaugural Heritage Classic in 2003. The Canadiens were the visitors again for the second Heritage Classic, which was hosted by the Calgary Flames in 2011.
Canucks coach John Tortorella was behind the New York Rangers' bench when his team defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
"It turned into a great experience for us in the situation we were in," Tortorella said. "The players love it, they're entertainers. At first I was a little hesitant but as it went on HBO was fantastic. We couldn't even find them in the room. Everything about it, it was just a really good thing and I think it allows people to see some of the real stuff that goes on with our game."