The PWHL’s first few games are inching closer and closer to being played, and as Boston’s roster comes into focus...just about everything else beyond it’s opening night lineup has been confusingly up in the air.
While we talked about the Boston team being in Lowell, that part hasn’t actually been confirmed yet (though the practice arena will be in Wellesley), the team colors were previously divined from the lower thirds used at the Draft and were ultimately confirmed by the teams changing their social media profile pics, and team names and logos are still very much in the planning stages, with initial offerings found from the patent office to be...well, I’m just gonna say it, these would be awful even if they did have ties to the past. Not everything back there is good, you know.
Thankfully, we’re finally getting some real, physical hockey related tactile stuff with the PWHL logo on it and everything, as the league’s six teams dropped their inaugural season sweaters.
...and it seems like the response has been overwhelmingly mixed.
Forest Green, and Fans get mean
Boston’s sweaters were announced with Hilary Knight modeling the home, and swiss superstar Alina Muller wearing the away.
So fresh and so clean— PWHL Boston (@PWHL_Boston) November 14, 2023
Our inaugural season look. pic.twitter.com/MFAc87dz5j
The Home sweater is a deep forest green with white striping bracketed by grey piping on the elbows and waist, with the Away confusingly not reversing the scheme entirely, but still is primarily white with green elbow stripes.
Personally? I think it looks...okay. The grey used in the color scheme is implemented extremely awkwardly throughout, and while I’m all for every team in the area having their own color scheme, I think the diagonal name thing in such a bland font doesn’t make the sweater look very professional and the lack of a logo or team name just highlights it, which is tied to systemic PR problems the PWHL has faced in it’s early goings.
But that’s just what I think.
Fans were much, much meaner than I ever could be.
Some did like it!
The simplicity of these are actually really nice! Hoping for names on the back of jerseys nstuff. People don't understand a lot of the original 6 stuff didn't have logos. They got them on eventually and some even switched to the names it's not that big of a deal right now— david mario (@ItsAMarioThyme) November 14, 2023
HUGE fan of the Greens. The grey lettering. NICE. I feel like the Whites are being a little hurt by the lighting so I'm hoping they grow on me a little more.— Oliver Antone (@oliver_antone) November 14, 2023
But man, I hated the color scheme until today. These are . Get them ON THE ICE. https://t.co/0jDkHfLV24
CLEAN https://t.co/VeH5pA1wrg— Wicked(??) Diehards (Boston Pro Women’s Hockey) (@PrideDiehards) November 14, 2023
...But a lot more were along these lines.
these are literally public high school team jerseys— tania (@__bostonbruins) November 14, 2023
“made for tv hallmark sports movie costume department” energy— The Short Shift Podcast (@shortshiftpod) November 14, 2023
My cousin told me someone stole a bunch of hockey jerseys were stolen from the Canton HS locker room… I’ll let her know I have a lead— Regis Rackett (@RackettRegis) November 14, 2023
As I'm sure you’re more than aware, Boston is always a bit of a tough crowd, but this is just a taste of what every team outside of maybe the Montreal squad is getting right now. Some are more positive than others thanks to unique color schemes (such as “““New York”””’s Teal or Minnesota’s Purple), but the sentiment in Boston feels definitely a little more on edge about it than the rest.
A Tough Act To Follow
All of this would be just the same level of fan bitching over a new thing that every league goes through in a vacuum. People will complain, it will die down, the games will be played, and we’d settle into Boston women’s hockey being Forest Green. That would be okay to go through once.
The issue is the overwhelming sentiment that the Boston PWHL team is confidently standing in the shadow of a beloved brand it ultimately killed.
Seriously. For professional women's hockey, we went from these to these. pic.twitter.com/SjXEIU5vir— Justin DOY (@JustinDOY) November 14, 2023
The Boston Pride’s brand used the same color scheme as the Bruins, and was one of the first PHF/NWHL teams to adopt a different logo after their first couple of years, finding a unique brand of their own that fans in the area very much resonated with. It helps that among the PHF logos, I would say that Boston’s was probably the very best, and most of their inventory was (and if you go to Warrior Ice Arena’s shop page, still is) phenomenal. I didn’t even like the gradient Black to Gold sweater that they wore for years, but a lot of people did! Fans really liked this set, and it was often hailed as one of the best in the league!
Granted, as Melissa Burgess at Die By The Blade pointed out, the PWHL doesn’t actually own the Pride trademark, so there’s nothing they could do to try and continue it, but the muted colors, uninspired look, and templated design of the PWHL’s initial offering just reinforces a feeling of being extremely disconnected from fans, and that just makes the job of selling the game to a “new” audience (ESPECIALLY in Boston, where the Pride were quite popular) that much harder.
Ultimately, these are growing pains.
The PWHL likely has Brandiose or Gameplan Creative, or Fanbrandz, or any number of graphic design firms that the guy who owns the LA Dodgers and Chelsea FC should be in touch with working hard to properly come up with memorable, iconic logos that will grace the front of the sweaters next year. We will in five years likely remember this as a humorous aberration on an otherwise stylish league as the hockey remains so good that it overcomes these issues and we all forget about it by May.
It just feels like the PWHL is intentionally dragging its own ability to connect with fans down in a time where women’s sports is a growing market. And it is a growing market.
It’s a shame they’re shackled to a strategy that’s seemingly destined to cause problems.
Anyway, I leave it to you.
What do you think of the new Boston PWHL jerseys?
This poll is closed
I like them, b0ss!
I don’t like them, b0ss
I liked the Pride branding better, b0ss
Can we get a name for this team already, b0ss?