Highlighting the curious, the obscure and the best of Columbus Blue Jackets NHL memorabilia

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What Might Have Been - Columbus Blue Jackets Jersey Concept

Reader Nathan submits our latest feature, and it's a doozy! It's a Pro Player jersey concept for the Columbus Blue Jackets from around 1998 or 1999. The final jersey design was announced on October 15, 1999 so I would say this predates that announcement by at least several months.  Prototype jerseys are exceedingly rare, and eagle eyed collectors are happy to obtain them when the opportunity arises.

Many of the elements made it into the final version of the team's jersey, others introduced years later and some may never be used, but are often part of the discussion.  Pro Player replicas were some of the best jerseys made at the time and it's a shame they went out of business before the start of the 2000-01 season. The tag on this example shows the version as 10B2.

The first, most noticeable difference from the final Columbus jersey design is the use of chevrons on the sleeves. These symbols are synonymous with military and in line with the heritage of the Blue Jackets the team name is based upon. These have been seen in design drawings for subsequent Columbus jersey designs, but they've yet to make the cut. One of the problems that keeps this from being used is the requirement for numbers on the arms of all NHL jerseys. While it looks nice enough in these photos on a blank jersey, if you add the numbers, the design becomes cluttered and less pleasing. 

A lace-up collar would eventually become an element in the first Columbus alternate jersey in 2003 as well as the current alternate introduced in 2010. At the time, it would have made Columbus the second team in the league to utilize this now common (and overused) design.

Another interesting difference is the angled, sewn star pattern on the cuffs of the sleeves. The eventual design would use four stars instead of five in a straight pattern and they would be sublimated into the fabric and not sewn.

The blues on the entire jersey are a lighter shade than the final design. The stinger patch and crest both use a lighter base shade than the final version and the jersey itself incorporates a very light blue as it's primary accent color with darker blue trim and grey in the collar. A similar light blue, darker blue and gray pattern is used in the current alternate jersey.

This is a nice bit of Columbus Blue Jackets history to be sure.  I hope that someday fans and collectors can get a glimpse into other proposed designs from this era.  Do you have a submission for us?  Send it in! cbjmemorabilia [at] gmail [dot] com