The Toronto Maple Leafs will be sporting a new unique look during Wednesday's Next Gen game against the New Jersey Devils — thanks to a partnership with Justin Bieber.
The new uniforms are reversible, a first for Adidas and the NHL, with a black and blue combination on one side and a gold and black design inspired by drew house, Bieber's clothing brand, on the inside. Only the blue and black iteration is slated to be worn in-game at this time.
"We are excited to be able to take Next Gen to another level with this special uniform designed with our next generation in mind," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "The opportunity to collaborate with Justin and drew house to create such a unique alternate sweater will make it even more special for our fans and the team."
The Maple Leafs have hosted Next Gen games since 2017, an event marked by family-friendly programming that features youth participating in various areas of the game's operation, including team introductions, entertainment and broadcast roles.
The jersey's design elements, explained
The jerseys are reversible, a first for a North American professional sports team, featuring a re-imagined black and blue version of the classic Maple Leafs logo on one side and a drew house-inspired version of it on the other.
The logo on the black and blue side of the jersey stems from Shibori, a Japanese tie-dying technique that produces different patterns on a fabric, and the Toronto skyline can be seen in both the arms of the sweater and the uniform's socks.
Drew house, the clothing brand owned by Bieber that describes itself as "a place where you can be yourself and loved, encouraged, safe and valued," pushes its side of the jersey remix further. The traditional Maple Leafs blue is traded for a gold trim set against a black backing, with an amalgam of the brand’s signature smiley face and the team's logo in the centre.
“My love for the Maple Leafs has always been a big part of who I am, and my passion for the team, and the passion of millions of fans, is stitched into this Next Gen sweater,” Bieber said. “I’m grateful to the Leafs for the chance to team up again to create something so authentic for the team and its fans.”
The jerseys are made using Adidas Hockey's ADIZERO Primegreen, a series of materials that contain a minimum of 50 per cent recycled content, according to the company, as part of an effort to end plastic waste.
How did fans react to the new look?
On social media, the reaction to the Maple Leafs' new jersey came swiftly. Many fans praised the uniqueness of the drew house aesthetic in particular, though others criticized the colours for deviating from the traditional blue and white and being too similar to other teams -- namely the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.