Stanley Cup Final: Fans roast NHL over Panthers' awkward patch placement

Fans are not happy with the NHL's placement of the Stanley Cup Final patch on the Panthers jerseys.

Fans sometimes wait decades to see the prized Stanley Cup Final patch get sewn onto their favourite hockey team’s jersey, but for their second ever finals appearance, the NHL has done Florida Panthers fans a huge disservice.

It is almost a ceremonious occasion – you might never get to see it again in your lifetime – when your team gets to have that shiny little badge on the sweater. It’s a special mark that almost every supporter wants to get. To own something that makes you remember the trials and tribulations of any playoff run that culminated with your team on the top of the conference and battling for the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, the NHL bunged it up for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, as the Panthers jersey with the sewn-on emblem was unveiled and disappointment spread across the Sunshine State and the rest of the hockey world.

Typically, the Final logo is put on the opposite side of the captaincy letters. But, because of the advertisements slapped on the front of NHL jerseys this season, the letters and the logo are crammed together on one side to create an incredibly awkward-looking sweater.

This isn't the first time a team has placed the patch on the same side of the captains' letters, as the Detroit Red Wings did so on their way to winning the Cup in 2007-08. Considering the fact that the Red Wings did not have jersey ads to consider, the move is even more questionable in retrospect.

The NHL already got rid of the tradition of having all 16 playoff teams put the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo on the ice at their home arenas – which in my opinion should be considered a crime. In its place are giant and obnoxious digital ads that look absolutely hideous. Now, they’re stripping another playoff aesthetic and making it look like some bastardization of a Stanley Cup Final jersey.

This might be considered a silly thing for fans to be upset about. It’s a little tiny patch that can’t be seen while play is going on and is designed for fans to just buy more Final-themed merchandise. But, unfortunately, it’s just another little thing that has been tossed to the side because of the NHL's perpetual thirst for ad-related revenue.

May 24, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers teammates pose for a photo with NHL senior executive vice president & chief branding officer Brian Jennings and the Prince of Wales trophy after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA places its Finals patch above the nameplate of the jersey, and the NHL has in the past put the Stanley Cup Final emblem on the shoulders of the jersey instead on the chest. Now, we’re just left with a hideous mess of patches that makes the Panthers jersey appear more like a death metal fan’s jean jacket than a hockey sweater.