By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After skating without an official alternate jersey since the league’s switch from Reebok to Adidas in 2017, the Bruins are going to have a third jersey in their rotation in 2019-20, Bruins president Cam Neely confirmed to 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday.
But Neely made it clear that it will not be the ’90s ‘Pooh Bear’ jerseys, which has developed a cult-like following and an undeniable second life thanks to The Internet’s desire to bring back all things ’90s, that serves as their alternate. In fact, Neely confirmed that he has absolutely no desire to bring the bright-yellow jersey — complete with a mildly sleepy-looking bear and claw marks across the board and in Boston’s rotation from 1995 through ’06 — back to the ice.
Patrice Bergeron, one of the last Bruins to wear the so-ugly-it’s-somehow-beloved jersey, had similar feelings.
“Are they coming back?” Bergeron, practically startled by the mere thought, asked. “I don’t have anything bad to say about it, but it was a little loud. Even the colors were a little… loud. I didn’t really care to be honest with you, I was happy to be there. I was wearing it with a lot of pride, but I don’t know about bringing it back.
“We can do better [than the Pooh Bear jersey], probably, with the history. There’s so many great jerseys that have been here, so I would probably bring another era back.”
And Bergeron does have a preference when it comes to the Bruins bringing a jersey of a previous era back to the rotation.
“You know what I like? Cam [Neely] and Ray [Bourque]’s era. Every time I see that jersey, I think it looks amazing,” Bergeron, whose closest brush with that era (pictured below) came when the B’s worked in an early-70s throwback during the 2006-07 season, noted. “That’s the one I’ve never had a chance to wear. With the Winter Classics and everything, we’ve done a lot of eras and I don’t think we’ve ever worn that one, so I think it’d be great.”
Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer, meanwhile, wasn’t familiar with the term “Pooh Bear jersey.” But when shown a picture of ole’ Sleepy Bear, Kampfer’s face lit up as he immediately remembered the sweater. “Oh yeah, that’s the jersey I always played with when I’d be the Bruins in the NHL games growing up,” Kampfer acknowledged. And Kampfer, whose adopted NFL team has become the Seahawks (a team with their share of alternate jerseys and uniform variations) thanks to his wife being from Seattle, is certainly on board with all retro and alternate styles coming back.
“I think every team should have a retro jersey,” Kampfer said. “I remember Detroit had black jerseys they’d wear in the preseason every now and then when I was a kid. There’s something cool about a retro jersey. You know how teams in baseball or basketball have retro jersey night? If you play at least one home and one away in a retro jersey, I think that’d be a lot of fun.”
To Kampfer’s point, the Coyotes have officially brought the Kachina jerseys back to the mix, while the Ducks are inching towards a return to the Masked Duck logo that made them a cultural phenomenon in the 90s. And even staying in Boston, the Patriots brought the royal blue ’90s jerseys back (not to the field, but their official team pro shop), and sold out in a week.
“I think fans would be excited,” Kampfer said of bringing back some older styles. “And you would see more jerseys being sold that way than just the typical two jerseys that are being sold right now.”
According to Neely, the Bruins will unveil their new alternate jersey, which may have been leaked earlier this summer, sometime in November. This is similar to what the Bruins did when they released the “Blackout” alternate jersey worn from 2008 through 2016 ahead of the team’s Black Friday matinee in the 2008-09 season.
But when it comes to passive bears and blindingly yellow looks, what’s dead shall remain dead.