The Pittsburgh Penguins will unveil their 2011 Winter Classic sweater early this fall, according to newspaper reports in Pittsburgh. And after its New Year's debut, expect it to replace the powder blue third jersey.
Yesterday, the Tribune-Review and Post-Gazette offered up a few tantalizing details regarding the outdoor game which the Pens will host at Heinz Field on January 1. Let's take a look at what they've got.
Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review writes the following:
More details about the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field — including ticket information — will be unveiled at a news conference tentatively planned for the final week of this month.
President David Morehouse reiterated that the Penguins will debut a new alternate uniform at the Winter Classic but said details would not be made public until the fall. This uniform will replace the baby-blue look the Penguins wore at the 2008 Classic and for a handful of games the past two seasons.
It's only a guess, but the league may use this opportunity to officially reveal the new Winter Classic logo — which we got a sneak peek at the day the season schedule was released. One detail not expressed here is whether the new WC sweater will take over third jersey duties in 2011 right after the outdoor game, or be pushed to the 2011-12 season.
The Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari may have gotten an answer to that question:
"The new jersey we unveil will be specially designed for the Winter Classic," said Tom McMillan, the team's vice president of communications. "That's become a Winter Classic tradition."
... "It could become the third jersey in the future," McMillan said.
In other words, nothing is set in stone right now. It all depends on fan response. Molinari also confirmed with the team that the powder blues will be worn for "about 10 regular-season games" in the 2010-11 season.
As expected, neither report has any details on the design, but fans have started a number of rumors. The tradition that McMillan spoke of is all about teams digging into their history for a classic look. For the Pens, they have a decent variety to work with.
Their history, as showcased by the Hockey Uniform Database, reveals a number of possible sweater designs. The dark blue jerseys, worn from 1977 to 1980 have been rumored as have the black/yellow sweaters used between 1980 and 1992. (Both above.)
Which do you prefer? Drop a line in the comments.