Since the start of last season, there have been rumors circulating about the Avalanche potentially using a Quebec Nordiques throwback jersey for the 2020-21 season, which would mark the 25-year anniversary of the Nordiques relocating to Denver and becoming the Colorado Avalanche.
It appears Avs fans may indeed get their wish after all, as the NHL and Adidas teased some new threads on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the long-rumored “Reverse Retro” jersey program was confirmed by the league, and Adidas, which is the official jersey provider of the NHL.
— NHL (@NHL) November 10, 2020
The Reverse Retro program will see all 31 teams wear special throwback jerseys on various occasions throughout the season. Some of these throwbacks have been leaked over the past few weeks, including these 1990’s Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys and ’80’s Philadelphia Flyers throwbacks, the Boston Bruins going back to the 90’s look, and even Vegas and Anaheim are getting in on the action.
For the Avalanche, the rumors of a potential Nordiques-inspired Reverse Retros burst onto the scene last month from an unassuming Nathan MacKinnon Instagram story, in which he posted a picture of a pair of new gloves with the caption “New colors crazy,” with the new colors appearing to be very reminiscent of the old Nordiques baby blue hue.
Then, a couple of weeks later, teammate Mikko Rantanen posted on his own Instagram story on Halloween night with a (presumed) buddy of his wearing Rantanen’s hockey pants, which appear to be the same shade of blue as the new gloves MacKinnon posted on his story.
Now, the NHL and the Avs’ own Twitter account have all but confirmed the Avalanche will be rolling with a Quebec Nordiques-themed throwback jersey for the upcoming season:
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 10, 2020
While the new threads appear to still own the burgundy colorway the Avalanche have become known for since their move to Colorado in 1995, the blue numbering is a shade the Avs don’t normally use.
And why the number 79?
The significance of 79 is that 1979 is the first year the Quebec Nordiques played in the NHL following the NHL-WHA merger, which took place the same year. The Nordiques were one of just six surviving teams playing in the World Hockey Association (WHA) — along with other notable teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets — before the NHL came in and merged with the waning WHA.
The NHL and Adidas using the number 79 on the back of the Avs teaser jersey is no mistake. It’s a subtle confirmation the Avalanche will be paying homage to the Nordiques with their Reverse Retro threads. How they do that remains seen, however. Do they use the Nordiques logo on the front of the jersey? Do they simply color in the current Avs logo with the Nordiques blue? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The NHL and Adidas are expected to release all 31 Reverse Retro jerseys by the end of this month.