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NHL Uniform Change Wishlist

The changes I would make to the NHL’s uniforms if it was up to me.

NHL: FEB 01 Oilers at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s no secret that I really like hockey jerseys, and also that I really like speculating about potential changes to hockey jerseys every year. Gestating in my mind for the past little while are my ideas for what I’d like to see each NHL team look like. To some extent, I have an idea for each of the NHL’s 31 teams, ideas which I am presenting here. That’s in addition to the collars, which I would change for basically every team because Adidas’ NHL collars are just the worst. The collars for each team would have the collar design going all the way around the collar, and with no NHL logo. I don’t need an NHL logo on a Montreal Canadiens jersey to know it’s an NHL jersey. Of course, I’m not the most creative type, so there won’t really be any entirely new ideas here. Some ideas are a just bringing back a previous look for a team full-time, while others are mashups of different looks. Up front, the images were found on Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net website, one of my favourite sites since I was a kid. If you’re interested in historical team logos, go there. One more thing, you’ll notice the old style jersey template appearing throughout this piece, complete with CCM logos. Bear in mind I’m not saying anything about the technological side of the jerseys, or recommending the NHL walk back the advancements made in fabrics and the like. Its the only easily accessible jersey template with proper V-neck collars and no NHL logo, meant to be demonstrative of my preferred asethetic. Without further ado, here my ideas for each team.

Anaheim Ducks

I was only 13 years old when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were sold by the Disney Corporation and announced they’d be rebranding as the Anaheim Ducks. Being at that age at that time, I thought black was really cool at the time and that the Ducks were doing the correct thing by moving away from their very Disney identity. What a fool I was. Though I never really thought of it for a while, when the Ducks donned their classic purple-and-greens for a one-off game during their 20th Anniversary season in 2014, I’d realized just how much better those classic threads look. If I had things my way, the Ducks would just go back to looking like the mid-2000s Mighty Ducks in their entirety, even if restoring the Mighty Ducks’ name isn’t a possibility. That being said, I can see why the Ducks, being just “the Ducks,” wouldn’t want to just abandon their post-Disney identity, meaning it would likely be a choice between what the Ducks do now, a recolouring of the Mighty Ducks logo on black and orange unforms that fit the rest of their branding, or keeping the existing branding, but recoloured to the classic purple and green identity with the classic pattern. Count me in the minority if need be, but I prefer the latter. The old logo doesn’t work nearly as well with the new colours, but I can see the modern “webbed Duck-foot ‘D’” logo working reasonably well with the classic colours. I would know because I went ahead and made a somewhat crude mockup of the new logo and old colours so I’d see what it looks like. As an aside, I prefer the font for the sleeve numbers rather than the back numbers, and would keep them. Here’s what they would look like in the classic colours. With the above changes, the jerseys would share the style of their original uniforms. Given the difficulty of illustrating these changes, they are presented piecemeal here:

The classic Mighty Ducks dark uniform with the modern-day logo and fonts, recoloured.
The classic Mighty Ducks light uniform with the modern-day logo and fonts, recoloured.
The Anaheim Ducks logo, recoloured in the classic eggplant and jade of the Mighty Ducks.

Arizona Coyotes

When the Coyotes first changed their uniforms back in 2003, I liked that the team had adopted a logo I would have an easier time doodling, something I enjoyed doing as a kid. Similar to the Mighty Ducks however, I have since gained a greater appreciation for the old Kachina-style look. Like many, I reacted to the announcement in 2014 that they’d wear the uniforms a few times each season, and the announcement in 2018 that they’d be bringing it back as a full-time third jersey with the opinion that they should just make it their main uniform. Techincally, the current jerseys, which use brick red as a base colour, are the more coloured The Kachina-style jerseys on the other hand, with their rust red anthropomorphic coyote in green and sand clothing and a goalie mask, the sand-in-maroon-trim text on the black jersey and the maroon-in-green-trim text on the white ones, the green shoulder yoke, and the roundel shoulder patch of a yellow crescent moon in a purple sky also seen on the main crest, not to mention the patterned stripes on the uniform, all give those uniforms the illusion of being more colourful. That striping pattern extends to the collar, though its much less apparent on the recreations of this jersey in the Reebok EDGE and AdiZero styles. I’d simply bring back the original versions of the jerseys, as they appear below:

Boston Bruins

Though I can’t for the life of me remember where, I remember reading a criticism of the most recent incarnations of the Boston Bruins’ logo. The criticism of the logo essentially amounted to the logo being too cluttered. The original version of the logo was a black “B” in a block font, with a thick yellow outline and thick yellow spokes running through the “B” vertically and horizontally, as well as a 45-degree angle on both sides, all in a thick black circle representing a wheel, also having an alternate version that reverses the colours. The update introduced in the 1995/96 season has an additional yellow outline on the outside, and then everything in yellow has another black outline. When it was updated for the 2007/08 season, the “B” grew serifs and and its own outline meant to give the impression it was now superimposed over the other elements. After some reflection, I’ve come to agree that those more recent versions are indeed more cluttered. The original version, debuting at the end of the 1940s and lasting through the 1990s, is a lot cleaner for lack of those unnecessary features. But this isn’t just about logos. We have whole uniforms to talk about. The uniforms worn during that period, both the black version and the white one, had a white bar on both the sleeve of the uniform and the lower torso, outlined with black lines and yellow bars. There was a version worn prior to 1974 that also had a yellow shoulder yoke with a white bar and a black shoulder yoke with a yellow bar. Those later uniforms also had simpler numbers, yellow with white trim and black with yellow trim, and simpler collars, yellow on the black jersey and black on the white jersey. While many of the suggestions I will be listing in this piece skew towards adding more colour, I will make an exception. After the 1973/74 season, the Bruins cleaned up the look of the uniform by removing the shoulder yokes, and I think those uniforms look much better. Just remove the cocaine-addled grizzly bear as pictured below, and you’ve got the perfect Bruins jersey.

Buffalo Sabres

For the Sabres, my suggestion will be very simple. After ten years in black and red, the Sabres went back to blue and yellow for the 2006/07 season with their infamous “Buffaslug” uniforms. The 2009/10 season saw the Sabres restore their classic pre-1996 blue uniforms as an alternate. The following season, they reintroduced the white counterparts as the blue ones were made the full-time home jerseys albeit with a yellow bar with yellow ones on the outside. Despite this, the uniforms were different, with the royal blue of the classic look replaced with the navy blue of the “Buffaslug.” Every white and yellow element on both the logo and the uniform as a whole are trimmed with a thin layer of silver. Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the Sabres are bringing back navy blue uniforms, with most interpreting this as a fuller return of the iconic Gilbert Perreault/Pierre Turgeon/Pat LaFontaine-era uniforms. Assuming this is the case, I think it would be a really cool element that separates the Sabres from other past and present blue-and-yellow teams to retain the silver trim and red eyes of their current uniforms. Also, the shoulder patch on those jerseys was the same as the jersey crest and that’s funny. Here’s a mock-up of what the logo and jerseys would look like.

Calgary Flames

The Flames are one of the toughest teams for me to make a decision on. If you had to ask me, it’s a toss-up between the Flames’ classic look and their 90s look. With no traces of black, the classic jerseys, used on-and-off as an alternate uniform during the last decade, are the purest of expression of the idea of “Calgary Flames” and do the best job of portraying the team as the embodiment of fire on ice. As you’ll no doubt see later on, I prefer to see the main two jerseys in a home and road set have matching striping patterns, so I have changed the striping on the white jersey to be a counterpart to the red one.

On the other hand, I find the short-lived 1995 jerseys to be the coolest looking in terms of design, with the unusual striping pattern and the sleek italicized nameplate and number fonts. Unlike the Flames’ uniforms of the new millenium, which overuse black to the point the Flames’ identity has shades of smoldering ash, the black is used here pretty tastefully, though I would also retain the version of the Flames crest that didn’t have the black outline. As with the Bruins’ crest I mentioned above, they got it right the first time around, and the additions only serve to muddy and clutter up a clean look.

The Flames dark uniform worn from 1995 through 2000. Note the crest is longer outlined in black in this edit.
The Flames white uniform worn from 1995 through 2000. Note the crest is no longer outlined in black in this edit.

All that being said, even those more recent uniforms worn in the oughts would be an improvement over the current uniforms. They represent the worst of the Reebok EDGE design, inexplicably kept when Adidas took over, just made even worse with the deitalicization of the nameplates and numbers. I would definitely remove the flags from the shoulder patches. It would be like any American team rocking an American flag shoulder patch and the Penguins wearing a Pennsylvania flag, the Sabres wearing a New York flag, or the Panthers wearing a Florida flag. Wait a minute...

Carolina Hurricanes

For the most part, I like what the Hurricanes did their recent two-step uniform re-design. There are still changes I would make. The re-designs brought back the storm flag motif present in the lower-body striping on the jersey from the pre-2013 design, but whereas they were in a black on red design on those original jerseys, the current jerseys use a two-tone look that only makes it more difficult to notice. The bars on the arms ought to include some silver to separate the team from other predominantly red teams, with a white bar to contrast the red jersey/red bar to contrast the white jersey. And there has to be a black hem with silver trim. And the sleek italicized nameplates and numbers from the original Hurricanes jerseys need to be brought back. And they really should get rid of that ill-advised “CANES” script logo and just use the standard Hurricanes crest. Why yes I did just describe just bringing back their original uniforms wholesale. And with good reason. Anything the current set does, the originals do better.

Chicago Blackhawks

As you’ve seen with my suggestion for previous jerseys, and as you’ll see later, I prefer teams having dark and light jerseys that match. That includes striping patterns. You’ll notice I changed the striping on the Blackhawks’ red jerseys to more closely match the ones on the white jerseys. It’s a bold move, and I totally get why one would prefer the Blackhawks’ existing look, but I think it turned out really well. Other than that, I think they really miss having a black alternate as well. When I was a little kid, it was such a fact of life for me that the Blackhawks had a black jersey that I thought for a brief time that their black jerseys were the darks and the red jerseys were the lights. That is to say, why have the Blackhawks only worn their classic black third jerseys in one season since the Reebok EDGE became a thing? They need to bring this back.

Colorado Avalanche

I like what the Avalanche did with their new uniforms, mostly because the Avs had the worst Reebok EDGE jerseys at the end of that program’s lifespan, but I feel the change to the numbers is unnecessary. If we’re being particularly picky, the straighter lines on the jersey also make for a little more boring a look, and of course a change to those collars. You can see in the image below the Avalanche’s original number font and how much better they look. And for reference, the original Avalanche jerseys.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Count me in the minority, but I prefer the Blue Jackets’ original logo more than the new one. The “thirteen stars for thirteen fonding US states” element on the logo is a little more subtle symbolism than the “Ohio flag because Ohio but it’s also a ‘C’” element in the current logo. I prefer the silhouette of the old logo and the electric green colour of the hockey stick. Those colours do a better job of balancing the navy blue on the jersey. The navy blue on the logo in turn does an excellent job of helping the brighter colours stick out on the white jersey. Essentially, for the Blue Jackets, I’d revert to the old logo design and make a major alteration to the jersey: a red bar at the bottom double-trimmed in white and the electric green colour of the hockey stick. I also restored the old number and nameplate fonts, as seen below.

Dallas Stars

Even in my formative years when I was less knowledgable about what was and wasn’t a good jersey design (see above how cool I thought it was that the Ducks would be wearing black in 2006), I knew that the design of the Stars’ 2000s jerseys was an excellent one. When the Stars announced a change to their uniforms in 2013, and again when it was announced in 2017 that Adidas would be taking over the uniform designs and bring about change for a number teams, I hoped against hope to see the Stars revive their classic jersey design. Reminiscent of the 1994-1997 All-Star uniforms, the decision to pattern the jersey itself after the jersey crest was one of the most creative decisions made in the history of NHL uniforms. On the other hand, I love the vibrant shade of green the Stars wear on their uniforms now and the contrasting silver. Depicted below is my attempt at synthesizing the two into the best design for the Stars.

Detroit Red Wings

There isn’t anything I’d change about the Red Wings uniforms. Even the collars are great by the current Adidas system’s standards. That being said, there’s a change I’d make to the jersey crest. Like some other teams have or have had, the Red Wings for a time had a version of the logo that switched the colours. The existing logo is red, with white added for details such as the spokes, a shine on the wheel itself, and the feathers on the wings.

The other version made the logo predominantly white with red as the secondary colour, like so:

This version of the logo, retired in 1984, was used for a number of non-consecutive seasons on the Red Wings’ white jerseys while the red one adorned the red jerseys, but the white one looks better when it contrasts the red uniform background as depicted above.

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers made a bold move by permanently switching full-time to orange uniforms. While neither primarily orange jerseys nor blue and orange colour combinations are unprecedented in the NHL, being used today by the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, respectively, there isn’t a team in the NHL, and never has been before the Oilers in 2017, a team that wears primarily orange uniform with blue as a secondary colour. The Oilers are treading unfamiliar ground with their current jerseys regardless, but made the inexplicable decision to pair it with navy blue instead of the more vivid blue used for their previous uniforms. Below is what the Oilers would look like with the current design with the lighter shade of blue used by the pre-Adidas Oilers. The classic blue jerseys would be there as well as third jerseys.

An approximation of what the Oilers’ present-day home jerseys would like with the Oilers’ classic blue instead of their current navy blue.
The Oilers’ classic light jerseys.
The Oilers’ classic blue jerseys, but with blue instead of orange on the cuffs, so as to match the patterning on the orange jerseys. Would be worn as a third jersey.

Florida Panthers

I actually like the Panthers’ modern jerseys. That being said, I’ve made some tweaks. Anal of me as it may be, I dislike when teams wear different logos on their home jersey than their road jersey, other than swapping colours of course. The Panthers’ current crest is fine, but I would have the same version of the crest on both jerseys, preferably the version that says “FLORIDA” as seen on the light jerseys rather than the one that says “PANTHERS” seen on the dark ones. As an extension of that, the shoulder versions on both jerseys would be the ones that say “PANTHERS” instead of the ones saying “FLORIDA.” I have this concept pictured below. It’s a little rough but it gets the idea across.

Not pictured, I would also get rid of the “CAPTAIN” and “ALTERNATE” banners that appear on the shoulder patches for captains and alternate captains. They’re redundant considering neither TV audiences nor in-person game attendees would be able to see it clearly while watching the game and the captains and alternates are already denoted by the large “C” and “A” on the jersey.

Los Angeles Kings

For all my bluster about wanting more colour, and more colours, in the NHL, I do think each a major pro sports league has license to have one (but only one) team in black, white, and silver. And if any team in the NHL is going to rock black, white, and silver, why not the Kings? That being said, I think the design of the Kings’ current uniforms kinda sucks. There’s barely any silver on the jerseys and the logo is unmemorable. I may be biased, having been born during its use, but I always liked the look the Kings’ Wayne Gretzky-era uniforms. The silver numbers, the silver trim on the striping, and the silver logo all make a world of difference in making what is still a black, white, and silver uniform something eye-popping. The versions I chose were the pre-1991 versions, which had silver name and number text.

The Kings do also look good in purple and yellow, and there’s not exactly a lack of precedent for teams wearing alternate home and road jerseys (the Mighty Ducks did so from 1998 to 2000 for example). So I also went through the additional effort of doing a mockup of what the above jerseys would look like in those colours. Pardon the sloppy work. I’ve been using a web-based tool for colour-altering and it didn’t so well with these small graphics.

The Kings’ 90s dark uniform in classic colours.
The Kings’ 90s light uniform in classic colours.

And here’s a better look at the logos, the Raiders-style and Lakers-style home versions are shown side-by-side, and Raiders-style and Lakers-style road versions are shown side-by-side.

The Kings’ 90s crest as seen on the dark jerseys, and a close-up mock-up of the logo with classic colours.
The Kings’ 90s crest as seen on the light jerseys, and a close-up mock-up of the logo with classic colours.

Minnesota Wild

I actually think the Wild got things absolutely right the first time. Both the green version of the uniform and the white version work very well, with enough of a presence of red to balance it out. This is something more recent Wild uniforms haven’t had, either having way too much red like their 2007 home jerseys, or too little like the current jerseys. The more idiosyncratic number font better conveys the idea of “Wild” than the standard block fonts used on more recent jerseys, going much better with the stylized wilderness scene depicted in the main logo and with the team’s current official wordmark, also shown here for comparison.

Montreal Canadiens

I will preface by saying that, collar changes notwithstanding (I really hate the modern collars), the Canadiens’ jerseys are the only ones I wouldn’t change. If anyone can get away with a dark jersey that doesn’t match their white ones, it’s the storied Montreal Canadiens. On the other hand, I really do like the look of their 1945 white jerseys, recreated during the vintage jersey program during the 2004 and 2006 seasons, as a third jersey in the 2007 season, and during the 2009 season for the Canadiens’ Centennial season. In its recreated form for those aforementioned seasons, the jersey crest is a throwback to an earlier version of the Canadiens’ logo, but in its appearances in EA Sports’ NHL video game series, it is depicted with the same crest the Canadiens wear on their standard jerseys, which is how they depicted here. The traditional white is a beloved jersey in its own right, so it wouldn’t go away, remaining as a third jersey.

The Canadiens’ pre-EDGE dark jerseys.
The Canadiens’ pre-EDGE light jerseys.
The Canadiens’ modern jerseys, recoloured to match their vintage white jerseys.

Just for fun, I also decided to make a mock-up of what a predominantly blue Canadiens jersey would look like, considering they’re often described as “le bleu, blanc, et rouge.”

I wouldn’t ever suggest the Canadiens should make this their standard jersey, but it looks surprisingly good.

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators got their uniforms right when they re-designed them in 2011, in my opinion. The yellow they picked for the jerseys really pops, but the use of piping running up the arms and the patches of colour beneath the collar provide enough contrast to prevent the bright colour from being too overbearing. I still did make one change: the numbers. The Predators were more interesting than most with the font of the numbers on the back of the uniform, with five lines on each number, representing a music staff, as a reference to Nashville being “The Music City” and its ever-booming country music industry. That being said, I feel it doesn’t really fit the Predators. The Predators had never before really leaned in hard to their identity as a Nashville team in their design. The italicized names and numbers looked better in my opinion. I also made a mock-up of what a navy blue alternate jersey would look like. These uniforms in particular looked primed for an alternate, specifically a navy blue jersey, which I have also made a mock-up of. As an aside, these ones were really difficult to make mock-ups for, so pardon how rough these ones look.

New Jersey Devils

When Lou Lamoriello was the general manager of the New Jersey Devils, I thought it really sucked that the Devils didn’t do something new with their jerseys. As time went on I found more appreciation for their simple but effective design. When they debuted their new uniforms under the Adidas AdiZero, the reaction I had was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The alterations they made to the Devils constitutes a change, but it doesn’t make them look better. The change I would make would just be reversing the change the Devils made to their jerseys in 2017. Nothing more drastic. The red and green look of the pre-Martin Brodeur Devils has re-gained traction, but seeing as the Devils have chosen to base their look since the beginning on the biblical devil, a red and black palette, despite being less colourful, more closely fits that fire-and-brimstone aesthetic.

New York Islanders

I honestly find the Islanders’ uniforms to be perfect. I wouldn’t do anything to change those uniforms because they’d just turn out worse, no matter who does it (though I don’t mind the fisherman jerseys in and of themselves). I have to come up with something though, so I would add the shoulder patch they wore during the navy blue years. The shoulder patch had four diagonal lines, alternating white and orange on the navy blue uniform and navy blue and orange on the white uniform. It was a nod to, what else, their Stanley Cup championships won from 1980 through 1983. An argument could be made that that is redundant considering they added an extra orange line on the shaft of the “Y” in their logo in order to make the exact same reference, I would argue that the shoulder patches make for a more visible nod.

A close-up of the Islanders’ commemorative shoulder patch, worn from 1998/99 through 2009/10 on their dark jerseys, recoloured in the Isles’ classic/modern colours.
A close-up of the Islanders’ commemorative shoulder patch, worn from 1998/99 through 2009/10 on their light jerseys, recoloured in the Isles’ classic/modern colours.

New York Rangers

The Rangers’s uniforms are, for the most part, fine as is. But as was established with my previous entry on the Blackhawks, I prefer to have the striping pattern on the light and dark uniform, as well as any alternate that acts as a colour swap of the aforementioned two, to have identical striping. The Rangers’ uniforms matched perfectly prior to the 1997/98 season, at which point the blue uniforms took on a different style than the white ones. The white ones also changed, doing so for 1999/00, but it still hasn’t matched the blue jerseys. That’s the primary change I’d make. I would also make the cuffs of the blue uniform white to match the white ones, which have blue cuffs. There is also another change I’d make. The Rangers happen to be patient zero for the trend throughout the twenty-first century of teams wearing useless laces on the collars on their uniforms. I never really liked these efforts to look vintage. They just don’t have the aesthetic appeal of an actual throwback jersey design. Here are the present designs, but with the updated striping on the white jersey and the pre-tie collars.

Right along with the Blackhawks’ black third jerseys, the Rangers’ Lady Liberty jerseys, shown below, are a design that should have never have left the NHL. I would bring them back to. During the 1998/99 season, they tried out a white version as well, that I also think they should bring back.

During the 2003/04 season, the NHL introduced the short-lived Vintage jersey program, and the Rangers were among a small handful of teams to bring back vintage jerseys for a handful of uses. They chose the vintage look the least similar to their regular design, which is of course their infamous 1976 uniforms, worn with a coloured strip running down the length of the arm, non-block names and numbers, and blue pants. The Rangers’ standard jerseys are not, and should not be, going anywhere, but I absolutely think the Rangers should bring back those shirt-lived 70s uniforms for a handful of games each season like during the Vintage jersey program. Why yes I did just suggest the Rangers roll three disparate sets of uniforms.

As an aside, I totally got Mandela Effect’d by the Rangers’ standard jerseys. Immediately prior to this section, I could’ve sworn the Rangers text on the front of the uniform had the same kind of drop shadow the rest of the text on the jersey does. Clearly it doesn’t.

Ottawa Senators

As mentioned, some of the designs here are syntheses of different designs from team history. The Senators are easily one of the teams I took the furthest in this direction. The logo I used is the 1997/98 version, which is the original logo after the laurel pattern on the centurion’s helmet moved to the circle on the outside, replacing the team name in the logo. The logo they’ve used since then just kind of sucks. The jersey used was the third jersey worn through the early-to-mid 2000s, but with the red sections at the bottom replaced with black and the black base of the jersey in red instead, along with a road version replacing the black parts of the original with black. The main appeal was the unique pattern. The tan bars on the bottom of the jersey reinforce the laurel pattern seen in the main logo. Only a few other teams have done this; such as Hurricanes’ storm flags, the Stars’ star jersey design, or the few years the font on the Leafs’ jerseys matched their logo; and it’s a shame more teams don’t do this when given the chance. The names and numbers are in the fonts used on the Reebok EDGE jerseys, the only aspects in my opinion that looked good. I replaced the jersey’s original shoulder patch depicting the Peace Tower with the pre-Depression Senators-style patch, also from the Reebok EDGE/Adidas AdiZero jerseys. And, considering the basis for this jersey design originates with a third jersey, I applied my changes to the original black third jersey.

Philadelphia Flyers

My favourite look for the Flyers was their jersey from the days of Cooperalls, championship losses to dynastic 80s superteams, and Eric Lindros and the Legion of Doom. The current look is fine, but the 80s and 90s look feels more modern and the presence of more black and a darker, more reddish, “burnt” orange adds an aggressive edge to the look of the one-time “Broad Street Bullies.” The Flyers also wore a predominantly black version in the late 1990s. I would bring that back, but only as a third jersey. It never made sense as the primary jersey for Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Unpopular opinion time: my favourite logo for the Pittsburgh Penguins is the 1990s “Robo-Penguin” design. People love the skating penguin used historically and in the present day, and I don’t think that one is a bad logo, but the 90s Penguins logo, associated most with the days of the Mario Lemieux-Jaromir Jagr duo, is tops in my book. And it was to my great surprise that when that logo was created, a black jersey was created that had that logo on it, and much to my disappointment that it was scrapped in favour of they used at the time that aped the Rangers’ jerseys by having “PITTSBURGH” spelt down the front. As an aside, much less surpising was that a white jersey that read “PENGUINS” in a similar fashion was scrapped in favour of the white jersey that did have the logo. The black jersey with the logo that debuted later on in the 1990s works much better as a third, and I would bring it back as well. For a second alternate, I took a cue from the pre-Mario Lemieux Penguins, who had a yellow version of their jersey. He

Just for fun, I decided to see what these uniforms would look like in the two-tone blue colour scheme used by the Penguins in the 1960s and 70s.

San Jose Sharks

I think the best the San Jose Sharks looked was their look in the 1990s. The teal was the brightest it ever was on a Sharks uniform, and the lack of striping on the tops of the arms allowed the teal to be more visible. The striping on the bottom of the uniforms was predominantly silver as well, giving the uniforms more pop than the current uniforms. In 2016, that uniform was named the best in hockey by The Hockey news. That being said, black third jerseys are a tradition in San Jose, so I made a mock-up of one based on the classic jersey design. As opposed to the famously minimalist designs they usually cook up, this one is a straight-up black counterpart to the standard teal jersey.

Seattle Hockey Club

I’m aware the Seattle team doesn’t have a name yet, but I always get excited when the NHL adds more teams. I thought, since I’m doing this, I’d share what I would like to see a Seattle team do. The first thing you’ll notice is that the jerseys are green and yellow, the colours of the sadly-defunct Minnesota North Stars. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I just like that colour scheme, think it pops, and believe the NHL’s colour palette is worse off for not having a bright green that’s different from the emerald colour of the Stars’ jerseys, paired with yellow, and think this is the perfect opportunity to set that right. Secondly, it could make sense for Seattle itself. When it was finally announced the Seattle team was coming, I bet a lot of people thought of a blue and green colour scheme, influenced by NFL’s Seattle Seahawks or the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. I certainly did, but I thought of doing something that wasn’t already being done by an existing NHL team. Instead, the green and yellow colour scheme would pay homage to the city’s lost NBA team, the SuperSonics. The image isn’t a striping pattern I’m absolutely begging for, but is more to present how I would colours to be distributed. Similarly to my case for the Flames’ classic jerseys, I omitted black as I think it dulls and detracts from the uniform’s appearance. I used the old Metropolitans logo, recoloured of course, as a placeholder. All that being said, I don’t think this is a bad look. Lacking imagination, but the bright colours balance out the simplicity.

St. Louis Blues

Now’s as good a time as any to expound the genesis of this project. Prior to the start of the 2019/20 season, the St. Louis Blues announced that, in addition to their standard home and road uniforms and the 70s-inspired throwback thirds, the Blues would have a few dates on which they would wear throwbacks to the 1994/95 season. I’ve always felt these were my favourite Blues jersey designs, but the issue was the massive amount of red on them. In addition to the fact that many felt a team called the Blues shouldn’t have so much red, there’s also the fact the Blues have been division rivals with Chicago since 1970 and were also division rivals with Detroit from 1981 to 2013. Since both teams are predominantly red, most Blues fans don’t want that colour on their jerseys. This project grew out of the question of how to make the jerseys I like look more palatable to people who actually cheer for the team and how to realize that idea. With that out of the way, what exactly do I like about this jersey? Firstly, the block of colour on the hem of the jersey is slanted up to the wearer’s left, creating fashionable asymmetry. Unlike the contemporary Mighty Ducks, whose rear jersey numbers overlapped the similar element on their jerseys, the Blues’ rear jersey numbers are distorted so the bottoms run along the bottom stripes. Immediately above that are five lines, representing the standard musical staff. Unlike the guitar strings on the Predators’ jersey numbers, the musical staves on the Blues’ 90s jersey fit perfectly with a team named after a song and genre of music whose logo is a music note. Call it nostalgia, but the 1995 jersey’s version of the logo is even my favourite version. The rounded edges of the wings on the note on the slightly less dramatic slant of the note’s shaft both look better to me, as the less aggressive outline really works with the musical basis for the logo. But what to do about the red on the blue jersey, and to a lesser extent the white one? The answer to that lies in the Blues’ current design. They have navy blue as part of their colour palette alongside blue and yellow, so why not just change all the red to navy blue? And voila:

Tampa Bay Lightning

To preface this section, the Tampa Bay Lightning were extremely difficult for me to do here. The idea at the core of this design was to move away from their current design, which resembles the Toronto Maple Leafs too closely and is kind of boring in its minimalism. The design is the one used by the Lightning from their inception from their 1992/03 debut through the 2006/07 season, though with the colours changed. It makes sense for Tampa Bay to wear predominantly blue, with black and silver to distance them from Toronto, so the black is a secondary colour while the main body of the dark jersey is blue, are the main logo, player names and and numbers, and shoulder yoke on the white jersey. Furthermore, the blue is a lighter shade, used by the Lightning in the 90s before they switched to a darker blue in 2001. The bar on the lower body and lower arms are grey on the blue jersey and black on the white jersey, while the collar and the bars on the cuffs and hem are black on the blue jersey andgrey on the white one. The Lightning used a whopping four different text fonts on the original versions of the jerseys. The first one was block numbers with a drop shadow with custom designed numers., worn during the 1992/93 season. The second was the same font, but italicized, used in 1993/94. For the remainder of the 90s through 2000/01, they used arched numbers with a number font taking the same kind of surfing influence (I guess?) that was used for the text in the logo itself, before adopting the standard block font they use today. In these images, I like the stylization of the original versions, and while I began this project with the italicized versions in my mind, but while researching, I happened upon that video from two seasons ago when the Lightning wore the original versions during warmups and have a greater appreciation for the non-italicized versions. The logo is the current jersey crest, but in the lighter blue I picked with a silver version for the blue jersey.

Toronto Maple Leafs

I grew up understanding the Toronto Maple Leafs to use a logo of an 11-point maple leaf. That was their identity well before I ever heard of their original, more naturalistic logo. During the last few years before the Leafs adopted the current version of said naturalistc logo, I often wondered to myself why the Leafs didn’t use the font from their logo for the names and numbers on their uniforms. It was much to my surprise to learn that for a few years, well before I had the attention span to sit through a two-and-a-half-hour hockey game. they did precisely that.I basically think that, rather than looking back to the “good ol’ days,” they should have kept their more modern logo and bring back the old jersey text. To recreate the look of the jerseys, I used an image of their 80s uniforms, changed colours of things, copy-pasted striping, and typed the names and numbers myself because the contemporary jerseys are this weird teal colour on the Sportslogos.net site.

The Kabel Black font used from 1970 through 2016. Note the “1” and “2” glyphs, which are edited to more closely resemble how they would have looked on a player wearing them at the end of the 1990s.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are another team where the idea is to use this jersey design with that logo and those colours. In this case, I merged the Canucks’ original jerseys from the 1970s with the name and number font from their current jerseys and their 80s and 90s “Flying Skate” logo. The jerseys have two bars, both in green on the blue jerseys and in green and blue on the white jersey, on the lower body and on the forearms of the uniform, on the latter of which there is letter “V” formed by negative space. The logo, as it presently exists, uses black and warm colours that wouldn’t fit with the jersey’s cool palette, so it has been recoloured. The text, along with anything else in yellow, is now green; the orange parts are navy, while the rest is blue. If you ask me, I think it works.

Vegas Golden Knights

I think the Golden Knights knocked it out of the park with their first uniforms. As these jerseys do not exist in a jersey template that lacks the NHL logo on the collar (or indeed an attractive collar design of any sort), I basically removed the coloured elements from the whitest jersey I could get an image of (the Nordiques) and rebuild the design from scratch, though I am trying only to represent the design as it exists today. The only change I would actually intentionally make to these jerseys aside from the collar changes I would make to every team (can you tell I dont like Adidas’ collars yet?) is the names numbers. Las Vegas is heavily associated with glamour, with its celebrity shows, bright lights, and fancy casinos, and when I think of something that easily conveys glamour, it’s Art Deco. And when I think of a style of font that goes with Art Deco, I think of Andes (the font from the Art Deco-influenced Batman animated series). So I replaced the block lettering and numbering with the Andes font.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals had a unique colour scheme between 1995 and 2007. While DC teams these days, for the most part, wear red, white, and some shade of blue along with stars, because, get this, DC is the capital of the USA, and their flag is red, white, and blue and has stars. The thing I like about the Capitals’ branding from the late 90s and 2000s is that, while it does rely on some American iconography, namely the stars and bald eagle, it is much more inventive than the typical DC sports team by using an unconventional colour scheme. The uniforms are primarily the same steel blue colour scheme used by the Colorado Avalanche, while the other major colours are black and bronze. The look is tied together by jersey lettering that has a stately character to it. I wouldn’t do anything to change the jerseys, I’d just bring them back as they existed when they debuted. During the years these jerseys were used, the Capitals also had a black third jersey. I didn’t like it much, especially after it was made the home jersey and the blue jersey was retired. I’ve revived that idea, the Capitals wearing a black third jersey with their eagle jerseys, but instead of that original black uniform, my concept is simply a black version of the existing jersey, with the same blue section at the bottom. I think it works.

Winnipeg Jets

Finally, the Winnipeg Jets. When they were first unveiled, I didn’t like the Jets Aviator blue third jerseys. While I may have grown a liking to them based on their colour, to the point I bought my nephew one for Christmas the same year it came out, I don’t think they’re perfect. Specifically, I hate the logo. The current Jets were established in 1997 as the Atlanta Thrashers, with the current Jets only existing as they do now since 2011. This is not a retro team or a traditional team, so get the generically retro baseball/collegiate script logo out of here. My idea for the Jets is based on the main influence of the jersey design actually being used. The jerseys are the classic jerseys of the 1990s Jets, recoloured in the Aviator blue used on the Jets’ current thirds, with the logo recoloured to match. The proprietary font used on the Jets’ main uniforms is retained here. I do love me some idiosyncratic NHL jersey number designs. I know I keep saying this, but I think they work really well.

So there you have it, my vision for a more aesthetically pleasing National Hockey League. Bear in mind, this is all subjective. If you’re interested in the jerseys that inspired this, visit Sportslogos.net and NHLUniforms.com. And if you want to see more jersey ideas, perhaps showing some more innovative ideas, check out Icethetics.com.