Set to be held on January 29, the 2022 PHF All-Star Showcase will take place in Canada for the first time in league history.
With designs that pay homage to the host team and the host city, the PHF released three jersey designs and a logo for this year’s event designed by sports branding agency, M Style Marketing. Both the logo and the jerseys are bold, unconventional and are meant to have a uniquely Toronto feeling to them.
But do they look good? That’s the question we’re going to try to answer right now by assigning letter grades to each of the three jerseys. You might be wondering what my qualifications are, and to that I will tell you that I have absolutely none at all and that this is just for fun.
While all three designs feature the city of Toronto’s street map as the base of the jersey, it’s definitely the element that stands out the most on this one. I can see how the fact that the weird lines and splotches on the jerseys might not immediately stand out as a map of Toronto, but I think it works. It’s clearly a map, even if you can’t instantly place what it’s a map of.
Who doesn’t love a map? Maps are cool, maps are fun, if your phone dies at the All-Star showcase and you need to find your way home, have no fear, just ask Shiann Darkangelo to stand very still while you plot your course to the nearest subway stop using her left shoulder as a guide.
What I appreciate about the map element is that (as far as I can tell, and with the caveat that I am not actually from Toronto) they’re not just maps of the downtown city grid. They might be called the Toronto Six, but the PHF’s first Canadian team actually plays slightly outside of the heart of the city in North York. It’d be kind of weird to incorporate a map paying homage to the host team without actually including the part of the city that their arena is actually in.
One thing that I wish this jersey did was incorporate some more colour in places other than just the bottom half of the sleeves. Something simple like outlining the logo in that neon yellow could really help the black, white and grey of the logo stand out from the black white and grey of the background.
Grade: The first jersey gets a solid B- from me. I can see what they were going for and it works, but there’s definite room for improvement.
All right, I know I just said that I wanted more colour and this one could definitely be considered the plainest of the three, I think the white really works here. The map isn’t overwhelming, and much like the Six’s white jerseys, the light grey elements on a white background gives the whole thing some depth and texture that we don’t usually get to see on hockey jerseys.
The logo stands out from the background. I really like what they’ve done with the logo on all three jerseys. Combining the stars and text with a maple leaf makes the whole thing look more solid.
The sleeves on this one are asymmetrical, but similar enough that they still match. The sharp angles and lines of the sleeve elements go with the sharp lines and angles on the map.
Grade: I’m giving the second jersey a B+! It works better than the first, it’s on theme, it’s fun, everything’s well incorporated, I just want more colour.
It might be controversial, but this third jersey is my personal favourite. They’ve gotten creative and different and it pays off. It looks more like a funky sweater than a hockey jersey.
The map element is most prominent here, taking up an entire sleeve and part of the shoulder. The black and white of it contrasts with the other colourful elements without pulling focus.
There’s nothing understated about this jersey, it’s loud and in your face, but it’s all tied together in a way that makes it work. It gives us colours that we’re not necessarily used to seeing on hockey jerseys with the pink, green, purple, blue and yellow maple leaf elements. These colours are featured on the other two jerseys, but they’re definitely given the most attention on this third.
The logo doesn’t quite match with the other two, but the shape is similar enough that it still feels like part of the set. The choice to invert the colours and have the stars and text in black really works with the brightness of the background colour.
Grade: I’m giving the third jersey an A. It’s kind of weird, it’s risky, it’s definitely not going to be everyone’s favourite, but it’s cool and I would wear it.
One thing to look for in all star jerseys is how well they work as a set. Sure, they might look good on their own, but how do they look together?
Something I’m always thinking about is whether or not I’m going to be able to tell them apart with a quick glance at the ice and these ones mostly pass. The third is going to stand out from the other two no matter what, but the first two give me a second of pause. White and light grey aren’t exactly opposites on the colour wheel. At the end of the day though, the bright stripes of the first’s sleeves vs. the asymmetrical shapes of the second’s should be enough to set them apart from each other.
They also look like they’re part of a set without being the exact same. Most of the time, all-star jerseys achieve that by picking a colour palette and just inverting it, I like that they tried something different here. Every jersey has used the same elements and colours without looking too matchy.
The final thing I look for, when looking at these all-star jerseys is how they’re going to look, not just up close in a promotional shot, but how they’re going to look on the players, both from the stands and in photographs. There are so many small, cool details that might get lost in a picture or from 10 rows up in the stands, especially when it comes to the second jersey.
Grade: Overall, the jerseys get a B+, but one of those really high Bs that you get in school that makes you go “oh come on,” because you’re like one point away from getting the A. I absolutely respect the PHF and the designers for trying something new and going bold. The colours are on point, the map is cool, the logo pops, but I’m not rushing to go out and buy one for myself. They understood the assignment, but the execution leaves just a little bit to be desired.