Coyotes reveal Black Kachina sweater as team’s official third jersey
Rick Tocchet only had one problem with the Coyotes black Kachina sweater when he wore it as a player from 1997-2000.
“I didn’t like the material,” the Coyotes coach said. “It was too thick. When you sweat, it weighed over five pounds. That’s why I wasn’t fast.”
The team and Adidas have solved that problem for the Kachina’s comeback. The Coyotes announced Friday that the team’s old black Kachina sweater will be the Coyotes’ new official third jersey.
The Coyotes will wear the newer, lightweight version for all 13 “Kachina Saturday” home games at Gila River Arena during the 2018-19 season, including the home opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 6.
They’ll also wear it on Nov. 23 for “Black Friday” when the Coyotes take on the Colorado Avalanche.
“At 22 years, the Coyotes are starting to develop a history, which is what everyone wanted and hoped,” former captain Shane Doan said. “I think it’s really cool that they’re doing this. There are a lot of great players that wore that jersey.”
Doan was one of those, but he and Tocchet also named Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Teppo Numminen, Mike Gartner and Nikolai Khabibulin among the most famous Coyotes who donned those duds.
“It brings back a lot of good memories for me,” Tocchet said. “We had some good teams playing in that jersey, and for the fans, it’s great, it’s stylish and it’s a different look.”
The Coyotes wore the original black Kachina jerseys for all road games from 1996–2003. During that span, the team reached the playoffs in five of its first six seasons in the Valley.
The Coyotes reintroduced the jersey on March 5, 2015, for Throwback Night when they hosted the Vancouver Canucks. Since 2015, the Coyotes have worn the black Kachina jersey four times at Gila River Arena (Nov. 27, 2015; Feb. 20, 2016; Nov. 25, 2016 and Feb. 18, 2017).
In 2017-18, NHL teams did not wear third jerseys due to the league’s switch to Adidas as the official game jersey manufacturer.
In August of 2016, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station conducted a fan poll that received more than 35,000 votes. The Coyotes black Kachina jersey was voted as the best jersey in Valley sports history over 47 other jerseys.
“It’s funny how the retro stuff gets cool again; it’s actually one of our best sellers,” Coyotes COO Ahron Cohen said. “It was really a great collaboration between a lot of different stakeholders. We listened to fans, to players, and to others in the organization.
“We got some great designs from Adidas but in the end, we thought it was a nice way to pay homage to our heritage, our 22 years of being in the Valley. We just think it’s an iconic, classic jersey. It shows our connectivity to the city and the state. It really represents Arizona.”
Coyotes forward Clayton Keller modeled the jersey at the team’s 2018 Draft Party at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler on Friday. This was his first modeling experience.
“I’m a little nervous,” Keller said Thursday night, adding that he leaned on a familiar Coyotes personality for advice. “Maybe Biz [Paul Bissonnette] gave me a few tips.”
Black and retro were two elements that appealed to Keller.
“Obviously there’s a lot of history there when you realize Toc and Keith Tkachuk wore that same jersey,” he said. “I think every time we wear it, it will give us a little extra fire.”