MINNEAPOLIS — On Monday morning, the hockey folks at Adidas sent out a lengthy press release detailing all of the research and design elements that went into the development of their new line of “Reverse Retro” jerseys for all 31 National Hockey League teams.
There was a much more basic research and development process for the Minnesota Gophers retro uniforms, which were also revealed on Monday.
Reportedly, Gophers coach Bob Motzko saw a photo from the 1965-66 season of then-captain Doug Woog and then-coach John Mariucci on the ice, with Woog in the uniform of the era, and the current coach said, “Let’s wear that.”
The throwbacks are the latest element revealed in their celebration of the program’s 100th college hockey season.
“Part of that process was coach Motzko's vision for a throwback uniform that honors the tradition and history that the Gophers program is so widely known for, and we think this design certainly hits the mark,” said Brian Deutsch, the Gophers assistant director of athletic communications, in a statement. “We've already seen a ton of positive feedback since unveiling the design this morning, and we're thrilled that so many passionate Gopher hockey supporters are as excited about this season as we are."
The jerseys are simple, mostly white with maroon and gold stripes at elbow level and around the waist. They read “GOPHERS” in gold diagonal lettering across the front, with only the program’s 100th anniversary logo and a Nike “swoosh” to reveal their modernity. Unlike the 1960s versions, the throwbacks will include modern touches like numbers on the sleeves, and names on the back.
True to the 1960s uniforms, the team will wear gold hockey pants (which also feature the 100th anniversary crest and a CCM logo on the side stripe) to complete the ensemble, as seen in a video featuring junior forward Sampo Ranta that was Tweeted out by the school’s athletic department.
“The cream of the crop and what really sets that uniform apart is the pants, nostalgic to the exact kind of breezers they wore in that era,” said hockey apparel expert Kyle Oen of Vintage Minnesota Hockey, a site where fans can research hockey history and buy throwback jerseys and other memorabilia. “That kind of makes the whole uniform. The only other thing that would be cool, and they’d never allow it, is if they put some leather (helmets) on the boys and let them go to war out there.”
Just in time for holiday shopping, the throwback jersey is currently available exclusively at the Scheels store in Eden Prairie, Minn., and will be for sale at shop.gophersports.com next month.
Between the dots
* On Monday, the Gophers also announced a fourth forward signed to a National Letter of Intent and scheduled to arrive on campus next season. Matthew Knies is in his second year with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL and will be the second Gopher from Arizona, after forward Nathan Burke, who is a junior this season. The recent NHL Central Scouting rankings project Knies to be picked in the second or third round of the 2021 draft.
* The Gophers women are still chasing arch-rival Wisconsin, in the eyes of preseason poll voters. Minnesota was ranked second, behind the Badgers, in the WCHA women’s league preseason poll, released on Monday. Gophers freshman forward Abbey Murphy, who hails from suburban Chicago, was tabbed as the league’s preseason rookie of the year.
* When noting the rarity of a goalie being named to team leadership, as happened recently when senior Jack LaFontaine was named an alternate captain for the 2020-21 season, there was an interesting side note discovered by Gophers radio analyst Frank Mazzocco about the first Gophers goalie to be named captain. In the 1930s, a Minneapolis native who had gone to prep school at Shattuck named Charles “Bud” Wilkinson filled the crease and wore the ‘C’ for the Gophers on the ice, while also playing Gophers football. Bud’s time in cleats turned out to be more significant in the long run. In 1947, when he was 31, Wilkinson was named head football coach at the University of Oklahoma and led the Sooners to a trio of national championships and 14 conference titles over his 17 seasons there. He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969, and died in 1994.
* Without playing a game, the Gophers men moved up two spots, from 13 to 11, in this week’s USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. The biggest mover of the week was Michigan, which jumped from 12 to 6, after winning two lopsided games (8-1 and 3-0) versus Arizona State. Wisconsin made its season debut in the poll at 13 after winning a pair of road games at Notre Dame last weekend.