Nichols designs Gophers’ uniforms

The senior forward has scored 11 goals and tallied six assists this season.

Brian Deutsch

The Minnesota women’s hockey team has been looking rather golden as of late in more ways than one.

Last weekend, the Gophers earned their first sweep of the second half of the season by handing North Dakota a pair of Western Collegiate Hockey Association losses.

Matching their “golden” performance, Minnesota also wore their fresh-out-of-the-box gold jerseys.

The new jerseys have a special place in the heart of the Gophers.

In her final season with the team, captain Andrea Nichols suited up in a uniform she designed.

“We started talking towards the end of last year about how it would be cool to have a third jersey,” Nichols said. “The men have had them for the past couple of years, so I started to wonder if we could get them too.”

After discussing the idea with the team, Nichols began working on design possibilities.

“I looked at some of the old jerseys from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” Nichols said. “I really liked the old, kind of retro look.”

Nichols narrowed it down to three different styles of jerseys, which were voted on by the team.

“The thoughts and suggestions varied among everyone Ö Everyone wanted them to be different from the two jerseys we had,” junior forward Bobbi Ross said. “Nichols came up with a couple different examples, and people liked the idea of them being old school with the laces and the Gophers written down diagonally.”

Once the design was finalized, Nichols sat down with Bonnie Olein, the team’s equipment manager, to figure out the schematics.

Olein has worked for the University for 28 years – the last eight with the women’s hockey program.

“Andrea came to me with some of the photos of old jerseys that she wanted to take pieces from,” Olein said. “Once we got the approval to order a third jersey, Andrea got the team’s blessing and then we went ahead and ordered them.”

Olein sent Nichols’ design to SP Apparel Inc., a Canadian athletic apparel company. SP Apparel supplies all levels of athletics from professional teams to introductory levels.

The company is also the official sponsor of the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League – two NHL development leagues.

“We’ve had a real good history with (SP). They’ve done all of our jerseys,” Olein said. “When we were a Nike team, they had SP make the jerseys, and we’ve stayed with them because they’ve done a very good job – they stand up well.”

Minnesota recorded the highest number of goals since coming back from winter break in last Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Sioux, but Nichols has struggled to find her way into the box score as her last goal came nearly two months ago.

In 26 games this season, Nichols has 11 goals and six assists, plus a new skill to add to the soon-to-be graduate’s resume.

“I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on (the jerseys),” Nichols said. “They’re pretty flashy, pretty sharp-looking, from what we hear anyway.”