EXCLUSIVE interview with Ken Black, Creative Director for Nike, on the new Team Canada jersey!

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Q: Can you explain your team’s role in the design of this jersey and how it fits in with other jerseys Nike has designed?

A: We have a history unlike any other company in designing jerseys – from World Cup football kits to NFL jerseys: and for us, it all starts with the athlete.  At Nike, we think about design as an intersection of aesthetics and functionality based on the innovation that can amplify the athlete’s natural ability. It’s about creating the lightest fabric and then looking at how we can layer in everything that is essential for the athlete, and taking away anything that isn’t. My team looks at how this silhouette then can take shape and can represent the best that is Canadian Hockey and Canadian Hockey history.

Q: Can you tell us all a little bit about where you found inspiration for this jersey? Did you look back to other famous Canadian jerseys?

A: As part of designing the Team Canada Hockey Uniforms, we spent time combing the archives of the Hockey Hall of Fame and taking inspiration from the heart and history of hockey. What we found there was beautiful, classic design that always celebrated country pride first.  We also invested a lot of time working with Hockey Canada to understand the significance of Canada’s symbols and graphics.

The iconic red jersey celebrates the rich history of hockey in Canada. From the vintage inspired logo on the new lightweight front crest to the Canadian flag on the sleeve and the maple leaf graphics on the shoulders, the new jersey represents Canada from top to bottom. Inside the collar, players will find 12 gold stars to represent Hockey Canada’s gold medals – eight in men’s hockey, 3 in women’s and one in sledge.

Unmistakably Canadian, the white jersey is the perfect complement to the red. With ‘Canada’ standing out proudly in red on the white background of the front logo and the country’s colours flowing through the asymmetrical stripe on the left arm, this jersey is a perfect representation of the pride Canadians feel when it comes to hockey.

To round out the exciting collection of jerseys for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Hockey Canada chose to add a black ‘third jersey.’ Inspired memorable vintage Team Canada jerseys, this jersey will inspire our Olympians to win again. The bold ‘Canada’ word mark on the chest reminds the world of Canada’s hockey heritage, while the gold piping on the details and gold maple leaf on the shoulder remind the world of Team Canada’s intent to win in Sochi.

Q: It’s only been four years, but can you explain some of the evolution that happened between the 2010 jersey and this one?

A: For the first time we’ve made our hockey jerseys out of 73% recycled polyester – approximately 17 water bottles create one jersey. High performance with low impact on the environment.  We’ve also incorporated some of our best performance technologies like Nike Flywire and lighter weight crests, numbers and letters that are heat transferred instead of being stitched eliminating seams. This means Team Canada will be competing in uniforms almost 15% lighter than any they’ve ever played in before.

Q: So you talked about it being more lightweight – what does this mean for the game of hockey?

A:  From a performance perspective, our objective was to create a lightweight, breathable jersey that moves naturally with the body. It’s what hockey players tell us they are looking for. If they have to think about the jersey on their body, they aren’t thinking about what’s happening on the ice.  We have worked in partnership with Hockey Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee to create a uniform that performs in a manner worthy of this great team – and that also represents the deep heritage and pride of its country.

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