The Buffalo Sabres are expected to release “reverse retro” uniforms as part of the NHL’s rumoured modern-day throwback jersey program. As reported by Icethetics, Adidas has supposedly created “throwbacks with a twist” for the majority of teams in the league to be worn on special occasions. The rumours truly came to life on Monday when an Indonesian eBay seller listed unreleased Fanatics-branded Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers throwback-style jerseys on their store that matched the exact description of what the reverse retro uniform designs are believed to look like.
With that said, people are now speculating that the Sabres’ reverse retro uniforms could be an updated version of the beloved black and red “goat head” ones previously worn by the team for a decade between 1996 and 2006. Let’s take a deeper look at why the goat head may be the newest addition to the Sabres’ uniform lineup for 2020-21.
One of the Most Unique Jerseys in NHL History
The goat head era is the only instance in Sabres history that the team has worn colours other than blue and gold. To date, the goat head uniform remains one of the most unique in NHL history and is admired by hockey fans everywhere, so it would be a no-brainer for the team to revive them as an iconic alternate jersey. The attention to detail in the goat head uniform is a rarity to most present-day sports uniforms.
A surprise to many, the jersey reveals the hidden design of a horned buffalo head in its accents when the arms are outstretched. The uniform also features the classic sworded Buffalo “B” secondary logo on each of its shoulders and the helmet, as well as a vintage Sabres wordmark logo on the pants. If the Sabres do indeed bring back the goat head for 2020-21, it will be interesting to see how they turn the former uniform into a “reverse retro” version. Assuming the team would want to keep these original design features intact, it is possible they could opt for red or grey as the jersey’s primary colour.
An Icon of Success and Playoff Dominance
The Sabres had some of their most successful seasons in franchise history while donning the goat head, including a trip to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final versus the Dallas Stars. In addition to their Finals appearance, the Sabres qualified for two Eastern Conference Finals, two Eastern Conference Semifinals, and an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, all within the span of a decade. For comparison, the Sabres are currently on a nine-year playoff drought, the longest of all active NHL teams, and have not qualified for the postseason since 2011.
Some of the most prominent legends in Sabres history have worn the goat head uniform, including Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Dominik Hasek, Dave Andreychuk, Pat LaFontaine, and Doug Gilmour. With the likes of Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, and Taylor Hall on the roster now, it would only be fitting for the Sabres’ modern-day superstars to have their turn in the goat head jerseys as well. The team is desperately trying to get themselves in win-now mode, and if there’s any Sabres uniform that says “win-now” more than the others, it’s the goat head.
Related: Buffalo Sabres Jersey History
The goat head uniform would certainly pair well in honouring the Sabres’ history of success alongside the team’s new royal blue and gold jerseys set to debut in 2020-21. It is expected that the reverse retro uniform will be revealed sometime in the next couple of months, prior to the NHL’s targeted Jan. 1, 2021 start date for next season. There is a lot to look forward to for Sabres fans, and the return of the goat head jersey could be next on the list.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.