October 8 - Hockey Canada today officially unveiled its jerseys for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, where both the men and women's teams will be defending the titles they won at Vancouver 2010.
Amid club music and laser lights, youth players skated onto the ice at Mattamy Arena here wearing the red, white and alternate black uniforms designed and manufactured by Nike that the men's and women's ice hockey squads, along with sledge hockey team, will be wearing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The red and white jerseys, made from 73 per cent recycled polyester and 17 recycled plastic water bottles, according to Nike, feature a maple leaf logo with a stripe across the chest.
The black jersey has "CANADA" written across it.
The jerseys take inspiration from the designs of vintage Canadians, officials claimed, but are distinctly modern, being 15 per cent lighter than the one's the teams wore at Vancouver.
"When designing the new uniforms, we were very purposeful in our approach of blending Canada's rich hockey history and tradition with the performance needs of today's athletes," said Ken Black, the senior creative director at Nike.
"We constantly strive to provide athletes with leading Nike technology to give them a competitive edge on the ice.
"Decades of design and adaptations from our leading products in other sports allowed us to create a lightweight jersey that maximizes range of motion and speed while bringing to life the pride of competing for Team Canada."
Inside each jersey's collar, there are 12 gold maple leaves to represent Hockey Canada's total number of Olympic and Paralympic gold medals - eight in men's hockey, three in women's and one in sledge.
There was, inevitably, some criticism of the designs, most notably that by placing a white maple leaf on a red background it was modelled after the logo of Petro-Canada, a chain of gas stations across the country.
These were, just as inevitably, dismissed by officials.
"The new Olympic and Paralympic jersey is an emblem of Canada's passion for hockey," said Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada's President and chief executive.
"These jerseys are distinctly Canadian and will ignite our nation's pride each time Canada's athletes take to the ice to represent their country and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams."
Canada's sledge hockey team failed to defend the Paralympic title they had won at Turin 2006, finishing a disappointing fourth, giving them extra incentive to do well at Sochi 2014.
"I know that Canada's national sledge team will take great pride in wearing this jersey at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games next March," said Karen O'Neill, chief executive of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
"Our sledge hockey team is a world power and will be a formidable presence in Sochi.
"Hockey Canada's jersey has the exciting potential to unite all Canadian hockey fans as well as the Paralympic community."
Canada's men's and women's teams will attempt to make it two golds in a row next February in Sochi.
The men's tournament is due to start with the team facing Norway on February 13, while the women's team takes on Switzerland in their Sochi debut on February 8.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]