As many of you long-timers are aware, most if not all of SCoC’s writing staff are firmly on the side of #TeamPooh, a “grassroots” groundswell of Bruins fans who insist not only that the 1990’s Pooh Bear sweater is not just good, but in fact one of the best ever made and should be reintroduced to the lineup.
But I think upon reflection this is not just another case of your typical 80’s-90’s nostalgia that has permeated the national consciousness since just after 2005, but a deeper, perhaps more desperate cry for something that has been missing from the Bruins lineup of sweaters for quite awhile now that the team has been increasingly uninterested in revisiting, even if it’s something fans seem to both want and enjoy:
A gold sweater.
A proud history of Gold Sweaters:
Boston’s history is in fact loaded with many years of what could be called primary gold sweaters, starting with the world war 2 era B’s bringing a simplistic, all-gold sweater to compliment their (in my opinion, anyway) absolutely garish hybrid of a football jersey and a hockey sweater which should always be held up as the true worst sweater of the team, which itself had more gold on it than Black, almost using it just as an accent color.
After a couple of years of further Black dominating the home and away sweaters, gold began to creep more and more into the Bruins rotation until 1955, where it dominates the full-time home sweater. This wasn’t unusual for the time, as the original 6 clubs were doing more than their fair share of experimenting with how they wanted their sweaters to look.
Regrettably, this also happens to coincide with being smack-dab in the middle of three of the very worst decades of Boston Bruins hockey, where they rarely finished above .500, and throughout the 60’s were consistently the worst of the six teams. Even expansion in ‘67 and the predatory, ruthless ways expansion at the time treated these new teams did little to improve their fortunes, and once again, gold disappeared from the sweater rotation, perhaps in an effort to begin really solidify their “brand”, as it were.
Just in time for the team to get really, and I mean like really good.
For almost 30 years, Boston then held to Black, Gold, and White as primary designs for the team, winning two cups in that time, having hall of famer after hall of famer pass through the team, and reviving interest in the team definitely helped seemingly exercise the idea that Boston had ever had any sweater before it.
But, as all things do, times change, and the original Boston Garden was bulldozed to make way for the then-FleetCenter, Now-TD Garden. And to ring in the new look, the B’s brought in the famous (or infamous), Pooh Bear Sweater.
Massive advances in Dye-Sublimation techniques made the jagged edges, sharp details, and overt detail of The Mednick Group’s proposed design possible, and of the many that used it during this time period, it’s unquestionably one of the best.
Keep in mind that this shared time on ice with the LA Burger King sweaters, the Anaheim “Wild Wing” sweaters, and the bizarre gradient Canucks sweaters. All using the same tech.
But since the change to Reebok and the revival of the team from Chiarelli’s time...Boston has only ever had one other primary gold sweater. the 2010 Fenway Park Winter Classic sweater.
It was beautiful, it was worn one-time only, they had an instant classic game in it...
...and then promptly spent the rest of time forgetting they ever wore it. the 2016 Winter Classic had them go back to 1924 for ideas and had a 1924 result (ie: lost). The 2019 Classic used the 1933 template.
Why they should bring a gold sweater into the rotation:
The answer is simple.
I am fed right up with black alternates.
The Bruins have had a Black Alternate since 2006, and even before that, many of the 1950’s teams had black alternates. Hell, even in times where it didn’t make sense to have black alternates they had black alternates.
And I know what some of you with more sensitive (read:worse and inferior) eyesight will likely point to the fact that yes, gold is a pretty loud “spicier, better yellow”, and recent innovations in a gold sweater from other teams have been eyesores. Well, to that I say that there is plenty of history that suggests B’s can absolutely balance the color out. The Fenway Winter Classic sweaters are bona-fide classics that people still give dozens of cheap manufacturers hundreds of dollars a year to have knock-offs made. The Providence Bruins have proven over and over again over the past few years that using Gold, Black and White in the current Bruins setup can work.
And I think, more than anything, the thing that makes a gold sweater on the Boston Bruins seem so appealing is that it would be a change. A welcome one at that.
The “back in black” look from not so long ago was fine, but it wasn’t going to turn heads. Neither was the current sweater, as much as people like it’s clean lines. The Bruins throughout history have absolutely honored having gold as a primary color on their sweaters, and more importantly honored that through change, and taking risks with how the Spoked B is represented.
Because as much as the Boston Bruins have enjoyed classic look after classic look, the real tradition of Bruins hockey sweater design is that it’s in flux. That the team isn’t afraid to take a chance every now and then.
So why don’t we take a chance on something like this? And if we cannot bring back #TeamPooh, as glorious a goal as that might be. Let’s honor the past, the present, and the future of the Black and Gold, by bringing back gold.