The new hockey jerseys Canadian teams will wear at the Olympic Games and world junior championships have been designed to be cooler, lighter and make the players faster.
The jerseys were unveiled Wednesday at the Olympic team orientation camp in Kelowna, BC.
The "home" white sweaters feature the Hockey Canada Maple Leaf logo on the front, black trim around the neck, and red and black stripes on the shoulders. There are also red and black stripes on the sides. The red "away" sweaters have black and white stripes.
The public can purchase replica jerseys with a Maple Leaf on the front with Canada underneath. The sweaters also have red trim around the neck and stripes on the elbows. Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada, said the replica jerseys will probably sell for around $100.
The jerseys will be worn by Canada's team at the world junior hockey championships in Vancouver and both the men's and women's team at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Although hockey and cycling having little in common, the Team Canada jerseys were designed with some of the same technology used to help Lance Armstrong win seven Tour de France titles.
"One of the key factors in this project for hockey was it was not purely about speed," said Jordan Wand, global director for the Nike advanced innovation team, which designed the jerseys. "With Lance Armstrong it was purely about speed. With hockey we knew it was about speed but it was also about mobility, about endurance, about strength."
The new jersey and socks weigh about 496 grams less than traditional jerseys. The jerseys are also better vented. This allows players to keep cool while reducing air resistance.
By cutting air resistance by 15 per cent, it gives a player about a half a metre advantage in a 50-metre sprint with an opponent. "You can call that one less stride to get to the puck," Wand said.
While lighter and cooler, the jerseys are also more streamlined in their fit. That makes them harder for an opponent to grab.
Under their agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation, Nike has to make the jerseys available to all teams competing at the Olympics.
Since Nike doesn't have an agreement with the NHL, no team will be wearing the new gear when the NHL season opens October 5. While happy to show off the new line, Nike officials were silent on how much the technology cost to develop. One spokesman said it was "in the middle six figures."