PHILADELPHIA – Travis Sanheim fell in love at first sight.
The defenseman was the first to don the Cooperalls that the Philadelphia Flyers will wear during warmups for their game against the St. Louis Blues at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, BSMW, ESPN+, SN NOW), and which is part of their look with the “reverse retro” jerseys.
“I thought it was unique and cool,” Sanheim said. It’s a little before our year, so it’s cool to bring them back. I can’t wait tonight to see what we’re going to look like. »
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The black nylon pants with an orange stripe and the Flyers logo on the right leg are a tribute to the Cooperalls worn by the Flyers from 1981 to 1983. These pants were worn during games and the protective padding was sewn on the inside. After players complained that the pants were too hot, too uncomfortable and too slippery on the ice, they were banned from games.
Cooperall’s comeback is a story that began over a year ago.
Flyers equipment manager Rick Bronwell recalls seeing a preview of the inverted retro jersey in October 2021 and thinking something more could be added to the design.
“When I was in Minnesota, we were thinking about bringing back the Cooperalls for their retro jersey,” he said. […] We just couldn’t find anyone to produce them in time. »
With a year in advance this time, it was possible that the idea would become a reality.
But first, Bronwell and Flyers senior vice president of marketing Mark Zarthar reached out to the NHL to find out if they would allow them.
Much to Zarthar’s surprise, the conversation went quite quickly.
“We thought there was no chance (of bringing Cooperalls back), Zarthar said. We were told that it would be impossible to wear them during a match as they are illegal for safety reasons. But why not during warm-up? We went from there.”
Players love the end product.
“They’re great,” launched the centre-back Kevin Hayes. “They’re retro. It’s a nice addition to the sweater. […] Everyone thinks it’s going to be great. »
Sanheim added that the fact that the Flyers are the only ones to wear Cooperalls has something special about it.
“It will be great to see it in the warm-up period,” he said. It’s something different and really unique, and we’ll be the only ones carrying them this year. »
Fans will be able to get their own version of the Cooperalls in January.
“We will have Cooperalls in the team store after the New Year,” Zarthar said. They will be identical to Cooperalls, but they will be like sweatpants. »
The Flyers and their fans will be able to wear Cooperalls, but soon they may not be alone.
“I still can’t believe all the comments I got when they came out,” Bronwell said of the calls and emails he’s received from friends across the NHL. “I got so many messages. People couldn’t believe we were bringing Cooperalls back. »