Hockey has always had contradicting regulations as to what uniforms should be worn at home and what uniforms should be worn on the road. From 1970 to 2003, NHL teams were required to wear lights at home and dark on the road. This gave fans the opportunity to see different colored uniforms in their home team’s barn each night. Since 2003, the NHL has reversed this rule, increasing third jersey exposure for the home crowd. The idea makes sense, why would you not want the opportunity to wear third jerseys or dark throwbacks at home on a regular basis?
The issue with this method is that when third jerseys aren’t worn, it’s the same colors every night. If you're a Detroit fan, you're only going to see red vs. white each night. Different colored uniforms brought excitement and gave away teams identity.
Is there any way to cover all of your bases? Look no further than the AHL and ECHL. Half way through the season, every franchise is required to flip their home uniform from their colored jersey to their light. The league rules were established to give fans the opportunity to see the home team in both sets of uniforms throughout the year. The first half of the season allows franchises to wear their dark and third sets, while the second half allows fans to see the different color schemes of away teams. Home teams are also able to wear third or specialty uniforms in the second half with prior communication with the visiting opponent.
It really is the best of both worlds. With jersey sales a money machine in the NHL, the mid-season flip would see a massive increase in sales. Many AHL and ECHL fans buy both the light and dark uniform to match their team throughout the season. It’s tough to tell if the NHL would bite on this idea, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be considered.