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Stars' new jersey calls back to Dallas hockey history with nod to present

Winter Classic uniform draws inspiration from old Dallas Texans while tying in the team's modern Victory Green brand

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

So much of a team's identity is tied up into its uniform, so the Stars wanted to make sure they got it right when they were figuring out what to do for the 2020 Winter Classic.

Consider this one a touchdown.

 

[OUR HISTORY: Learn more about the unique design of the Stars' Winter Classic jersey]

 

In the first Winter Classic in the Sunbelt, both the Stars and Nashville Predators will give a nod to the hockey history of the South, yet Dallas will mix it with a healthy dose of the now.

The Stars on Wednesday unveiled a throwback uniform highlighted by a Victory Green sweater that draws inspiration from the old Dallas Texans, who played in the United States Hockey League in the 1940s. Tuesday was the 78th anniversary of the Texans' first game, played Nov. 6, 1941.

The Texans were red and white, but the Stars took pieces of old and new to come up with these uniforms. The look was the culmination of a design crew that included Adidas and a five-member panel from the Stars.

"Our primary goal, the one that we gave to Adidas and the NHL from the outset was: `We want a classic hockey look that is uniquely tied to Dallas,'" said Dan Stuchal, the Stars' senior vice president of marketing. "That was the mantra we gave them."

The look does that, in large part, because the team has embraced the Victory Green color it adopted in the 2013 rebranding. Stars president Brad Alberts said that back in the rebranding period, the team considered everything from red, white and blue to black to blue and silver, but kept coming back to the fact that green in the NHL is unique.

Video: Stars unveil new jersey for 2020 NHL Winter Classic

"We looked at everything and those guys were kind of like, 'Are you guys crazy? Green is yours. Own it,'" Alberts said of the advice the team received from the NHL. "I remember having that discussion six years ago, and the decision to own it has been dead on."

The new look is an interesting one. The process has created a vintage feel that has simple striping, a classic shoulder, and an interesting neck that doesn't use a tie but nonetheless looks older. The team also decided to use stripes on the sleeves, where the Winter Classic logo and a state of Texas logo reside.

The design team for the Stars consisted of owner Tom Gaglardi, Stuchal, director of merchandise Kris Smith, creative director Jeff Neal, and Stars broadcaster Daryl Reaugh. The group of five was democratic and many votes ended up 3-2. Both Stuchal and Reaugh said Gaglardi was impassioned but fair in his debates, saying the owner didn't get every vote.

That made the process both inspirational and fun. After discussions with Adidas, the manufacturer sent back four basic designs and asked for feedback. The crew of five then went to work picking out which things they liked off of each design.

"We worked to sort of Frankenstein the best ideas of all of these designs into one," Stuchal said. "And that's where we came up with this."

In addition to a traditional font, the crew also chose felt logos and letters to give the feel of a varsity sweater or letter jacket. They also made sure there was a state of Texas design and a state of Texas flag inside the collar.

"That came loud and clear from our director of merchandise," Stuchal said. "He said people are always asking for it. It's true. It sells better than other things, so having that Texas connection to it was important at the end of the day."

That's one of the reasons there was no homage to the Minnesota North Stars. While the team embraces its history and the time the organization spent in Minnesota, the Winter Classic this year is more focused on the history of hockey in the South. The Stars' opponent in the Winter Classic, Nashville, will be wearing sweaters that are inspired by the old Dixie Flyers.

Tweet from @DallasStars: Winter Classic threads. ������ #GoStars pic.twitter.com/y4gygm2hE1

"You know, we really are trying to focus on what is our Dallas history, because that's what our fans know and are used to," Alberts said. "So we've really steered away from promoting and showcasing the Minnesota North Stars brand, yet still honoring the history."

The game will be held at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1 and has already sold out. Alberts believes fans will be coming from throughout the south just for the experience. Part of that experience will be seeing the Victory Green sweaters with old-fashioned beige pants and leather-style unmatched gloves that complete a vintage-looking ensemble.

"It screams retro," Stuchal said of colors that don't quite fit. "It screams something that you might have seen back then. We knew that we couldn't match them, we actually sort of like the fact that they don't match."

Fact is, the team even discussed bringing back a look similar to the uniforms the team wore in 1999 when they won the Stanley Cup, but decided that a fully retro look was more appropriate.

 

[PODCAST: Razor, Heika review the Stars' new threads on this week's episode of Rinky Dinking]

 

"Oh yeah, we discussed it. We definitely discussed it," Stuchal said. "But I think the general feeling was it looked a little too modern for a classic game."

And this is going to be a classic game. The Stars will wear the full uniforms on Jan. 1 and then also will wear them at home Jan. 29 against Toronto and Feb. 21 against St. Louis. After that, there is a chance they don't get worn in competition again.

That said, they will definitely live on in Dallas. Asked how he and his family would react to the new sweaters, Joe Pavelski said: "There will be an order form going out pretty quick."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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