Remember the green jerseys Canada wore at the world junior hockey championships in Saskatchewan two years ago?
Watching Canada play hockey in Roughrider-green jerseys was unusual. The design of Canada's third jersey for the 2012 world junior hockey championship in Alberta, however, is more traditional.
In paying homage to teams of the past, the third or alternate jersey unveiled Tuesday in Calgary has a retro look and is the traditional red and white, with a touch of grey.
North American sports teams commonly introduce an alternate jersey as a money maker. This year's edition will retail at $140. Hockey Canada's design also drives home a theme for this year's tournament starting Dec. 26 in Calgary and Edmonton.
The current national junior men's program, which draws players from across Canada, is into its 30th year. Canada has won 15 gold medals during that span.
The third jersey the Canadian players will wear at least once in Alberta resembles the styles worn by teams from 1982, the first year of the program, to 1994.
“We're looking back 30 years and this is the jersey that started it,” Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said Tuesday. “We won a lot of gold medals with it.”
Hockey Canada is inviting 30 years' worth of junior team alumni to the tournament. Three of them put the Canadian jersey on again at Canada Olympic Park: Gord Sherven (1983), Martin Gelinas (1989) and Jeff Shantz (1993).
“Great memories obviously playing in Anchorage, Alaska in 1989,” Gelinas recalled. “We finished fourth and had nothing to show for it, but the memories I had and the players I played with, it's incredible.”
As director of player development with the Nashville Predators, Gelinas now watches the tournament with the appraising eye as a scout.
“In my job, we have prospects around the world and I've got to be there to watch the games,” Gelinas said. “They might be playing for Finland or Sweden or Team USA or Team Canada.
“I have to keep my enthusiasms inside, but I cheer for Canada there's no question about it.”
Shantz is a former Regina Pat now working in the oil industry in Calgary. He and the Canadian team won a gold medal in Gavle, Sweden in 1993.
“I get goosebumps now remembering it,” Shantz said. “Being able to sing ‘Oh Canada' with all your teammates and your coaching staff and our families . . . I remember it like it was yesterday, but it's hard to put into words.”
Canada opens the world junior championship in Edmonton versus Finland. Canada will play its pool games in the Alberta capital. Calgary will host all medal games.