Minnesota Whitecaps drop scenic new jerseys

Do the ‘Caps’ new designs make the grade?

The Minnesota Whitecaps are the sixth and final team to unveil their home and away designs for the 2021 Lake Placid Bubble Season.

It’s been noted several times over that the NWHL is a pioneer in its use of graphic design on jerseys. So it should come as no surprise that they went in such an adventurous direction.

It should also come as no surprise that they knock it completely out of the park.

The away jerseys remain unchanged from last season. They feature the same black base with blue watermarked trim on the shoulders. The numbers on both jerseys appear to be the same rounded font with white filled in. For a team called the Whitecaps, their black color scheme has been a defining characteristic from the jump. It suits the team fine.

The home design, though, is a bold new look.

Minnesota joins Connecticut and Metropolitan in sporting a white-based home jersey, featuring black-and-silver elbow striping and blue cuffs. The eyes immediately jump to the belt, and for good reason: there’s a whole dang forest down there. The Whale have a wave featured at the belt of their jersey, but no team has featured a whole dang forest.

Including so much detail at the bottom of a sweater is a risky endeavor. Why it works in the Whitecaps’ case is simple: the colors. Fans have been dying to see more use of Minnesota’s blue in their look, and its shading provides not only stark contrast to the monochromatic black-and-white, but also a perspective effect of a lakeshore foreground and mountain background.

Let’s compare it to another, erm, bold look.

The Coyotes’ ill-fated green alternate from 1998 tried to invoke desert imagery along the belt, with the problem being that their green base is absolute trash and dark-purple on black on dark-green looks muddy and absurd. Granted, the Coyotes have resurrected this look for their Reverse Retro design for the sake of improvement (and also for the lolz), but the point still stands. The Whitecaps’ belt scenery is objectively gorgeous, while the Coyotes’ is hilarious, albeit intentionally in their 2020 reboot.

There’s also something to be said for the understatement here. There are enough details to achieve the desired effect while not overwhelming the senses with needless additions like woodland creatures or kids playing pond hockey or something silly like that. It’s kept classy, clean and aesthetically pleasing. The Caps also nixed the shoulder watermark for the home whites- a wise choice to not distract from the real defining feature.

Critiques of the layout are more hypothetical than concrete. It’s curious how the shoulder silhouettes might have looked in blue rather than silver, for the sake of visibility. It also remains to be seen how white numbers on white base play, even with a bold blue outline. But those are more on-ice concerns. From a fan fashion perspective, the white home jerseys are sure to be a knockout.

Fans can purchase the new Whitecaps jerseys in the NWHL online store.