Well, the word appears to be out: ‘Pooh Bear’ is coming back in 2022.
It’s just the latest installment in what’s been a parade of alternate and special edition jerseys rolled out by the Bruins over the last 20 years and change.
What the Bruins and adidas will do to make this revised ‘Pooh Bear’ pop in 2022-23 is still unclear, but there’s a solid trend of options to draw from when it comes to designing the Black and Gold’s next ‘Reverse Retro’ sweater and eventual 2023 Winter Classic jersey.
Here’s a look at what the Bruins have turned to in the past when looking for a new sweater to add to any given rotation…
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden on April 15, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Everything about the 2021 season was just straight-up bizarre.
It’s one of those things that kinda baffles me when I sit and think about it. I mean, I actually straight-up covered empty-arena games where they pumped artificial chants and crowd noise in for two and a half hours. Sometimes the crowd noise would still linger and play long after the game had ended, and it was within those moments that I felt that I was indeed living in some sort of nightmarish dystopian simulation. (Honestly, we might be, but that was especially jarring.)
Anyway, one cool thing that came out of that season: The NHL and adidas teaming up for the ‘Reverse Retro’ jerseys, which put a modern (and often colorful) spin on an old jersey. For the Bruins, that meant a gold version of the jerseys worn during the Bourque-Neely era of B’s hockey.
I don’t know about you, but I loooooooooved these jerseys. They were so crisp and sharp looking, and count me as one of those that always felt the Bruins needed more than just a hint of gold in their uniforms. You can’t be the ‘black and gold’ and have a 95-5 split of said colors.
These jerseys did not return for the 2021-22 season, however, as the league decided that the first round of ‘Reverse Retro’ jerseys would be a one-off, for some reason.
Nov 14, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) reacts after scoring a goal during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)
Boston’s current third jersey (they wore the hell out of these during the first half of the 2021-22 season), the ‘Block B’ alternate is essentially what happens if you splice the 2019 Winter Classic jersey with the third jersey first introduced in 2008.
This jersey pays homage to the franchise’s days before the B became spoked, which was the case up until the 1950s. Everything about this sweater screams Milt Schmidt, to be honest.
It’ll be interesting to see if this jersey survives beyond this upcoming season, as the Bruins will introduce both a new Reverse Retro and a new Winter Classic jersey in 2022-23.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 14: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins tends net during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on January 14, 2019. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The Bruins threw it back to the 1930s with their 2019 Winter Classic jersey. This jersey didn’t survive beyond the 2019 stretch run, however, as the Bruins opted not to utilize it as an alternate following the 2018-19 season. Shame, ’cause it looked real sweet against fellow Original Six teams.
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 10: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins warms up before the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on December 10, 2016. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The 2016 Winter Classic was not a hit for the Bruins. In fact, it was probably one of the most forgettable games you’ve ever watched. (No, seriously, everything about this game was pure trash.) But the jersey worn by the Bruins for that disaster at Gillette Stadium? Well, that was a touchdown.
In fact, this jersey remains the only Winter Classic jersey to remain in the Black and Gold’s rotation for more than one season, as the B’s used this as their third jersey during the 2016-17 season.
The Boston Bruins on December 5, 2009 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Getty Images)
Fittingly, this all-black jersey was introduced on Black Friday 2008.
In addition to the Bruins’ secondary logo featured as the primary logo, this third saw the Bruins go full ‘Time Bomb’ by Rancid with a black shirt, black pants, and black socks. This was the start of the Bruins toying with the idea of black socks instead of their once-normal gold (14 years later and the Bruins now wear black socks at home on a full-time basis).
Not sure about you, but whenever I see this jersey, I think of Marc Savard whipping up some power-play wizardry along the half wall. I can’t explain it. It’s just who I see. Honorable mentions, again, for whatever reason: Byron Bitz, Michael Ryder, and Dennis Wideman.
This jersey was replaced by the 2016 Winter Classic jersey as the B’s third in 2016.
BOSTON – JANUARY 01: Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins looks on before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1, 2010. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Of the B’s three Winter Classic jerseys, this one got the least amount of mileage. The Bruins wore this jersey at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, and I think they wore it one other time before the end of the 2010 season. (I remember Johnny Boychuk took a puck to the face area in this jersey, and that was about a month or so after the Winter Classic, I wanna say.)
The Bruins took it out of circulation at the end of the season and we haven’t seen it since.
CHICAGO – DECEMBER 29: Wayne Primeau #20 of the Boston Bruins skates against Jeff Hamilton #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks on December 29, 2006 at the United Center. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The replacement for ‘Pooh Bear’ in 2006-07, this jersey paid homage to the Bobby Orr era of Bruins hockey, and was typically worn whenever the Bruins played an Original Six team. This jersey was influential in a major way, too, as it reminded the Bruins just how classic and clean this template looked, and it was essentially remodeled with modern tweaks for the rebranding ahead of 2007-08.
19 Dec 1998: Ray Bourque #77 of the Boston Bruins in action during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts. (Steve Babineau /Allsport)
The most infamous jersey of the bunch, the gold ‘Pooh Bear’ is one of those jerseys that you either love or hate. Rarely is someone in the middle when it comes to this one.
And if they are in the middle, you’re immediately suspect of their motives. “Did their dad design the jersey? Is there a school picture of them wearing this jersey on picture day kicking around somewhere? Were they a huge fan of 2000 masterpiece Most Valuable Primate? How do they not have a hard stance on this jersey?”
Some quick facts to explain how long Pooh Bear has been around and how long it’s been out of circulation: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is the last active NHL player to wear this jersey. Zdeno Chara, who spent a decade and a half with the team, never wore this jersey. And this was the jersey Joe Thornton wore in his final home game as captain of the Boston Bruins.
It’s got history, I guess.
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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.
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Well, the word appears to be out: ‘Pooh Bear’ is coming back in 2022.