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Sunday Coffee: Panthers' Thirds

by Dave Joseph / Florida Panthers

"The third jersey is supposed to be different. We evaluated and did an exploration with the club of their concepts and objectives. We wanted to create an identity unique to the Panthers." - Keith Leach, Reebok's Dir. Of Merchandising.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Panthers will unveil their third jersey Monday evening moments before playing host to the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins at BankAtlantic Center.
First, let me say I’m a fan of third or alternate jerseys in sports. I like to see teams refreshed with a different look. I don’t care if it’s the 100-year anniversary jerseys that make the Canadiens look like they’re coming off a chain gang. Third jerseys rejuvenate the experience of watching a game and seem to renew spirit.
            Second, I’ve seen the Panthers third jersey and I think it’s pretty cool. Obviously, everyone will have their own opinion come Monday. But it’s a process that’s taken 1½ years and a lot of work.
            Keith Leach, Reebok’s director of merchandising for the NHL, said last week work began on the Panthers third jersey in May of 2008. Since the process started, the Panthers and Reebok’s designers have considered different logos, worked with a number of different colors and studied the marketplace.
            “We looked at everything,” said Leach last week. “The third jersey is supposed to be different. We evaluated and did an exploration with the club of their concepts and objectives. We looked at the history of the club; we looked at surrounding teams so we wouldn’t overlap. We wanted to create an identity unique to the Panthers.”
            In fact, dozens of renderings were created for even the smallest new design on the third jersey. According to Leach, there were three main areas of the jersey to consider: the logo, color scheme and overall uniform design.
            “We looked at everything, going back to the first jersey and early logo designs,” he said. “We went back-and-forth with the team on the design. There was a lot of discussion about this, with the fact it’s also a Florida team.”
            How much detail went into the third jersey? According to Leach, skaters wore the jerseys and were video-taped to make sure the weight of the colors looked good to television and computer users.
            The only thing left in the unveiling, and that comes Monday evening.
            “We’ve got tension. We’ve got a lot of disappointment in there for where we’re at, but they haven’t splintered and they haven’t quit on each other. The players still fight. The players still believe, and they compete.” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice.
            “I don’t want to be known as a loser. And so far we’ve lost a lot more games than we’ve won.” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson.
            Panthers center Dominic Moore is one of four players recently named to a committee to review the NHLPA’s constitution.
            Moore, along with Tim Thomas, Steve Montador and Marty Turco, will review the terms and operations of the NHLPA constitution and report its recommendations to the Executive Board.
            “It encompasses not only the board, which is the crux of how things are done, but the whole functionality of the PA,” Moore said. “We’ll look at the structure, how things are voted on, passed, and how things operate. We’ll look at how other constitutions are most effective.”
            The PA also set up a second committee to begin the search for a new NHLPA Executive Director. Working with both committees will be Donald Fehr, outgoing Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association.
            Are you a Flyers team with warm memories of the Spectrum. Well now you can own a piece of the place. Comcast-Spetacor is taking orders for seats to the arena Kate Smith belted out ‘God Bless America.’ A pair of seats cost $395, a single seat $295, and folding chairs are $195. A portion of the proceeds go to the Comcast-Spectacor Foundation.
            Don’t forget; bring any non-perishable food items Monday evening to BankAtlantic Center. Players’ and coaches wives will be setup in front of the Center collecting for the Cooperative Feeding Program in Broward County…Keaton Ellerby scored his first professional hat trick Friday to lead Rochester to a 5-2 victory over Syracuse. Shawn Matthias added a goal and two assists. The Amerks are 14-2-1…Maybe things are looking up in Carolina. The Hurricanes went into Saturday’s game in Tampa having earned points in each of their previous four games. They’ve also crawled out of the league basement and Eric Staal was skating with the team Saturday morning and was expected to return to the lineup within 10 days… Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera has a new mask with James Hetfield of Metallica on one side and Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam on the other...One of the demands of singer Michael Buble before each concert he performs? One “local team hockey puck,” according to Buble is a minority owner of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League…The Hanson name may soon be known for more than the movie ‘Slap Shot.’ Dave Hanson’s son, Christian is performing well as a first-year pro with the Toronto Marlies and coach and former Panther Dallas Eakins told he thinks the kid has the goods. “This kid, even though he’s a first-year pro, carries himself like an NHL player. He is going to be in the NHL. He is going to find a way. I see it in his eyes.”…NHL Central Scouting released its preliminary rankings last week of North America’s top junior players and Plymouth Whalers (OHL) center Tyler Seguin took the top spot over much-hyped Taylor Hall, last year’s Memorial Cup MVP. Hall was leading the ‘O’ with 45 points after 25 games, but Seguin vaulted to the top off his strong showing over the summer in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament…Fun fact courtesy of the Star Tribune. Owen Nolan, who scored two goals in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Islanders, was the No. 1 draft pick the same year the Isle’s No. 1 pick John Tavares was born…On ebay:  Be a Player Super Rookie card of Nathan Horton - $3.99….
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