Hockey Canada officially unveiled the three new hockey jerseys for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi on Tuesday.
The trio of jerseys, including red and white jerseys with a classic maple leaf logo and an alternate black jersey that reads 'Canada' across the chest, were displayed at an event in the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto. All three jerseys feature an arm band on the left.
"Today is the start of an absolute great adventure," said Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. "In Canada, the concept of jersey is an integral part of the DNA of our nation...There is only one hockey jersey which unites us all - Canada's Olympic jersey."
Hidden inside each jersey's collar are 12 gold maple leaves representing Hockey Canada's total number of Olympic and Paralympic gold medals – eight in men's hockey, three in women's and one in sledge.
"We want to make sure we're reflecting not only the past, but the future of where Canada and Hockey Canada want to go," said Ken Black, creative director at Nike. "The only way to do that is to dig deep, to translate historical elements into something more futuristic."
Nike said the new uniforms are the most "innovative" jerseys to date, designed to be lighter and more aerodynamic for faster and better performance. Each jersey is made from about 17 recycled plastic bottles, and they are 15 per cent lighter than previous jerseys.
"Every advantage is an advantage," said Cheryl Pounder, a two-time gold medalist for Canada's women's team. "We want speed and agility in the game of hockey. The lighter a jersey is, the better it is for us."
The new uniforms were inspired by Canada's Olympic hockey jerseys from 1920 and 1978, incorporated with new design features for a more modern look.
"Ten years from now, hopefully you look back and these jerseys will be the new classics," said Black.
Joe Nieuwendyk, a former NHL star and Olympic gold-medal winner, said no feeling compares to donning a Canadian jersey in the quest for gold on the world's largest stage.
"As a player, there is no feeling like it to know you're representing your country," he said. "And even for Canadians, when they put that jersey on and watch Olympic hockey, they feel that sense of pride as well. It's something the whole country shares."
The Canadian women's team will open their Olympic tournament on Feb. 8, 2014 against Switzerland. The men's team face Norway in their first game on Feb. 13. Sledge hockey preliminary games are slated to begin March 8.