The Los Angeles Kings’ Reverse Retros are widely regarded by the hockey world as being amazing looking jerseys. A classic Los Angeles sports colour scheme, along with a classic Kings logo, highlights two different eras of Kings hockey.
As per the press release from NHL and Adidas, the crest is an homage to the ‘90s Era of Kings hockey. The throwback look is combined with the founding Kings Forum Blue and Gold colors, a tribute to the team’s original uniforms in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
This jersey highlights two important times in LA Kings hockey, and this article will look back at both of these eras.
1967 NHL Expansion
The Kings Forum Blue and Gold colour scheme dates all the way back to when the team first came into existence in 1967. The 1967 NHL Expansion was the league’s first major expansion, and it saw six franchises (California Golden Seals, LA Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues) enter the league. The 1967-68 season was noteworthy for LA, as it was their first season. The most prominent player on the team was legendary goalie Terry Sawchuk, who the NHL later named to its top 100 greatest players list.
They didn’t go far in the playoffs, losing in seven games to Minnesota in the quarter-finals, but a good first impression paved the way for LA to be successful in the future.
The Triple Crown Line
The Triple Crown Line had the most noteworthy players to don the Forum Blue and Gold jerseys. This line consisted of superstar center Marcel Dionne (who is sixth in all-time points) and star wingers Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer. The trio’s first full season together was 1979-80 when Dionne won the Art Ross Trophy with a 137-point campaign, and Simmer scored 56 goals, which tied him for first in the league. Taylor had the “worst” season of out the trio, posting 90 points, which was good for 17th in the league.
1980-81 was the line’s best season, as it was the first time in NHL history that three players from the same team recorded 100+ points. Dionne scored 58 goals and posted 135 points, second in both categories behind Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky, respectively. Taylor scored 47 goals and had a total of 112 points, while Simmer finished with 56 goals and 105 points in just 65 games.
The line suffered injuries in 1981-82, 1982-83, and 1983-84 seasons. In 1981-82, Simmer only had 39 points in an injury-riddled campaign, while Dionne and Taylor both posted over 100 points. Taylor was injured during 1982-83 and 1983-84, which led to the line seeing decreased production. Finally, in October of 1984, the Kings traded Simmer, ending the Triple Crown Line.
The Gretzky Years
The Kings used the crest on the reverse retro jersey from the end of the 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Wayne Gretzky’s tenure in LA is the most memorable part of these crests. I’ve written an in-depth piece on Gretzky’s time in LA before, but I will list some of the highlights.
The 1993 playoffs were one of the highlights of Gretzky’s time in LA. The Kings made a run to the Stanley Cup finals, although they lost to Montreal, who were led by Patrick Roy. This postseason run is still holds significance to this day due to a great series against Toronto. The 1988-89 season was another highlight, as Gretzky won the Hart Trophy with a 168-point campaign, while his linemate Bernie Nicholls had a historic 70-goal, 150-point season. Dave Taylor or Luc Robitaille, who often played on the Nicholls-Gretzky line, highlighted four of LA’s greatest ever players.
The 1989-90 season witnessed Gretzky breaking Gordie Howe’s all-time point record on Oct. 15, 1989. It also was the debut season for Rob Blake, who is arguably the greatest defenceman in LA Kings’ history. Legendary names such as Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey played in LA during Gretzky’s tenure, and prior to the Kings’ two Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014, this was the Kings most successful point in franchise history.
Details From the Past, Remixed for the Future
The LA Kings reverse retro jerseys highlight some of the Kings greatest players/moments in their franchise history. From the Triple Crown Line to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, this jersey contains tons of hockey history.
The Kings have many young players in their prospect system with tremendous potential, including Gabriel Vilardi and Quinton Byfield. And they must be hoping that their prospects can become the next era of history-making Kings.