Home » More & Less Hockey » Banshees don’t wear black

Banshees don’t wear black

(Originally published on Kukla’s Korner)

A lot of Sharks fans like the “black armor” unis.  Others hate the “black pajamas.”  I don’t hate them but they do look like pajamas to me.  Pajamas are cute, but I don’t like the color.  It is all wrong for the occasion.  It’s like wearing black to a Mardis Gras party or a picnic.  People do that but it shows they are missing the point.  Teal may not be the most festive color but at least it’s a color with personality.  It’s not blue, it’s not green, it clashes with red in a pleasing way.  It’s much better than black.

Black is “cool,” the color of chic and formal events and drear and government motorcades.  It says “I’m so awesome I don’t need to do anything to make you notice me.”  It is a background color, stealthy and discreet and afraid to choose.  It makes you look more pale and smaller than you are.  I know hockey has a fat phobia but come on, live a little!

Black is like a perfect nose: it doesn’t offend, but it isn’t very memorable either.  If you’re at the center of a spectacle, expected to put on a show, intimidate your opponent, black is all wrong.  I guess no one mentioned that to the 11 NHL teams who rotate or feature a predominantly black jersey among their game looks.  The mere fact that so many use it should count against it.

Black isn’t the only over-used color in the NHL.  There is also a whole lot of red and blue.  Some teams have no choice: Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Blues.  But red and blue can vary, so that the Sabres can each have two blue jerseys that do look distinctly different, one navy, one royal.  And then the Rangers can do the same.  I may be forgetting some multi-blue teams, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Likewise, Capitals red isn’t the same as Avalanche burgundy.  I wouldn’t pick red or blue as colors for a new NHL team but I admit they are better than black which comes in just one, single, inflexible hue.

Accent colors don’t quite tip the boring scale.  Accent colors, hemmed into a modest surface area, only stick out enough to say: “I just gotta be me!… if that’s okay with you.”  They reveal a yearning for boldness without the nerve to stand up and shout.

Unless I missed someone, the only teams with jerseys in their very own true colors are the Sharks with teal, Flyers orange and Minnesota green. Partial credit to the Bruins and the Predators for being bold enough to share yellow.

Apparently some Flyers fans want their black jerseys back.  Talk about missing the point.

Orange is the screaming banshee of colors.  It’s the color of bicycles no one will steal, the color you never paint your car because people will notice it everywhere, and have an opinion about it.  It is the kind of color that cannot be timid, it cannot go anywhere quietly.  It says: “Here I am, what you gonna do about it?!?”

The banshee isn’t a lovable figure.  She forewarns of death, bewails the upset of power, she is the Irish battle goddess.  She’s not often pretty, sometimes she is quite horrible to look upon.  She is impossible to ignore, her voice curdles the blood.  She doesn’t put you to sleep and she doesn’t wear black.  Legend has her in white or grey but not black.  Since she was reputed to be seen most at night, black wouldn’t do at all- she wasn’t trying to hide, she wanted to be noticed.  Maybe she did wear teal or orange, or both in a big gaudy floral pattern.  In the woods at night, that could look grey.

You don’t want a banshee around when you’ve got a bad case of the flu, or while you sip your morning coffee on a Sunday morning.  But what makes a hockey arena noteworthy?  It isn’t the soothing sounds of flutes or birds twittering in the trees.  It’s the noise of thousands of fanatics in an uproar.

I don’t think a banshee takes sides, but she will get your blood going.  That’s what you want at a hockey game.  There’s no room for wallflowers in hockey, and shame on the Kings for shrinking from violet.

When in doubt, they say, wear black.  Then get out of the way before someone with conviction runs you over.

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