• The Reebok logo now appears just below each player's rear jersey collar, replacing the CCM and Koho logos that had previously been there.
• The switch to Reebok hasn't kept the Red Wings from honoring one of their longstanding jersey traditions: They used straight block lettering for player surnames during the preseason, instead of the arched, sans serif lettering they usually use (sort of like how the Steelers don't put numbers on their helmets during preseason but then add the numbers once the preseason is over). The Wings will be going back to the arched format now that the regular season is starting.
• There are new commemorative jersey patches for the Avalanche, Flames, and Wild. Uni Watch thinks Minnesota's design looks particularly sharp, but c'mon -- a fifth-year patch? The bar for these celebrations has gotten extremely low.
• In more laudable news, all teams will be wearing this jersey patch during the first period of games on Opening Night. The jerseys will be auctioned off to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina relief.
• And on the remembrance front, the Devils are wearing a "JM" patch in honor of former team owner John McMullen, who died last month, and officials are wearing a "72" patch in honor of linesman Stephane Provost, who died in a motorcycle accident back in April.
• Need help remembering how to flex those hockey brain cells again? Here's a quick quiz: Which Canadian team started in the WHA, then joined the NHL, and then moved to Phoenix and was reborn as the Coyotes? The seven of you who correctly answered, "The Winnipeg Jets, of course!" will be excited to learn that the Coyotes are reactivating uni No. 9, which had been retired for Bobby Hull, so that Hull's son Brett can wear it.
• Last but not least: In case you've forgotten, the NHL switched the home/road color orientation back in the 2003-04 season, so home teams wore their colored unis and road teams wore white. They're sticking with that format this season.
OK, drop the puck, drop your gloves, and let's get the season started already.
Horse of a Different Color
Soccer and field hockey goalies -- and maybe NHL goalies, if and when it comes to that -- aren't the only ones who dress differently than their teammates, incidentally. As reader Mark Wehr recently informed Uni Watch, volleyball squads include a player who wears a different uniform than the rest of the team. Since Uni Watch's volleyball-related knowledge base was approximately zero, some investigation was clearly in order.
It turns out Wehr was referring to the libero, a specialized player who's only allowed to make defensive plays -- no spikes, no blocks, no serves (except in the NCAA, where serving is allowed). According to the official rules published by the FIVB -- that's Federation Internationale de Volleyball, don'tcha know -- the libero's jersey "at least must contrast in colour with that of the other members of the team. The libero uniform may have a different design, but it must be numbered like the rest of the team members."