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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

The Sweater Song

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild
Since its inception, the Minnesota Wild brass has been careful to protect the team’s image and identity. The traditions of hockey in Minnesota have to be respected, and the looks have to be classic. This was certainly true each of the four times the Wild has designed a jersey for its players, and its fans.

There never has been, and likely never will be, the introduction of crazy striping, new colors or cartoonish logos in any of the Wild uniforms. The team has stuck with horizontal stripes, three primary colors and one main logo. That commitment to tradition seems to resonate not only with fans in the State of Hockey, but all over the world.

“Since our inception, we’ve always been ranked either one or two in terms of League-wide jersey sales,” said Wild Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting, Bill Robertson. “Year in and year out, we’re battling with the Detroit Red Wings for that top spot.”

The first Wild sweater to be unveiled was the white “home” jersey, which debuted at the Roseville Skating Center on November 18, 1999, before the club ever took the ice for game action. The white number, which became the team’s “road” uniform at the beginning of the 2005-2006 season, gave the first glimpse of the Wild’s unique wilderness pictogram that blended an outdoor Minnesota setting with an angry animal head. The colors on the trim were Iron Range Red and Forest Green with hints of Harvest Gold.

The white sweater actually underwent some minor tweaks before the 2006-2007 season, when the sweaters switched to Rbk brand. The striping was slightly modified, and the logo on the chest shrank.

The green road jersey came next, and debuted at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft in Calgary, when the Wild selected Marian Gaborik with the third overall pick.

The green sweater hung around for six seasons, and looked great by itself (or on a country music beauty) but there were some issues with the jerseys clashing with different shades of green on the players’ equipment.

Early in the 2003-2004 season, the club’s first “alternate” jersey was unveiled to critical acclaim from Wild fans. Other than introducing some Minnesota Wheat-colored highlights, the same three primary colors were used. The bold Iron Range Red became the primary color, and a lace-up collar was also introduced.

But the highlight was the new circular crest featuring the traditional animal head mark in a classic chenille icon with “MINNESOTA WILD” on the outer circle, along with the Harvest Gold North Star on each side of the logo. It was the first time the Wild had used the star (originally the eye in the animal’s head) by itself.

In addition to being hugely popular among the Wild fan base, the sweater received special mention from the uber-popular writer, Bill Simmons. During his “NHL Draft Diary” in 2007, Simmons called it his favorite sweater other than the “Original Six” designs (click the link and scroll down to 5:57).

Apparently, the design was so attractive that the St. Louis Blues came out with a design that is eerily similar prior to their 2008-2009 season.

Prior to the 2007-2008 season, the NHL issued a mandate that all teams temporarily reduce their number of sweaters to two – one home and one road. After surveying season ticket holders, the Wild opted to keep the red sweaters as the new home uniforms, with only some slight changes including the removal of the green stripe on the bottom and the addition of the yolk around the shoulder. Compare the jersey that Nick Schultz is wearing above with this one.

Alas, this meant that the original green jerseys went the way of the Steller’s Sea Cow.

NHL teams were allowed to introduce third jerseys again in the 2008-2009 season, but the Wild waited one more year before introducing their newest addition to the team’s wardrobe history.

On August 30, Derek Boogaard and Brent Burns modeled the new green sweaters at the Minnesota State Fair. The design, primarily Forest Green with Wheat trim and a hint of Iron Range Red, was the overwhelming favorite among Wild fans who were surveyed over the summer. Be thankful, because it could have ended up looking like this, or this.

The jersey features a script “Minnesota” with “WILD” emblazoned below. The script look, including the classic “M”, harkens back to historic Minnesota teams of the past including the Minneapolis and Saint Paul teams of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The “north star” element again makes an appearance as the dot of the “I” and the bars on the “M”. For the first time, the Wild “animal head” logo was not incorporated as part of the design.

Last night, the Wild unveiled its new green third jersey in game action. The sweater debuted as part of the Wild’s “Go Green” initiative, and it got off to a good start.

“We had great sales numbers for the sweater at the State Fair,” said Robertson. “And last night, the sales at all three Hockey Lodge locations were extremely brisk.”

Ben Setterlund was one Wild fan at last night’s game that forked over the greenbacks for the new third jersey.

“The red one is my favorite,” he admitted. “But when I realized I needed to be wearing green tonight, I figured I better go all out and get this one too. I think it’s great!”

The team is 1-0-0 when wearing the sweater, and all calculations have that as a 1.000 winning percentage. The Wild’s next best record in a particular sweater is 75-34-19 in the reds, including a 1-0-0 record this season.

Note: Records in the original white and green jerseys were unable to be determined due to the team sometimes wearing its road sweaters at home, without records being kept of those games.

The Wild will wear the new green sweaters 14 more times this season, including twice on the road. The jerseys will make three more appearances in the next week at St. Louis tomorrow, home on Saturday against Carolina and at Chicago on Monday.
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