A hockey jersey can give a team its character. A team seeking change can alter their look, hoping to excite their fan base. Jersey changes can pay homage to a team’s history, hoping to draw attention to a team’s rich and successful history. Many players come and go from teams from year to year, but the jersey is something that is always associated with an organization. With the 2015-2016 season coming up, here are the top ten jerseys, old or new, that teams will sport this year.
10. St. Louis Blues (Away Jersey)
Sporting a look that has remained largely the same ever since the Blues entered the NHL as an expansion squad in 1967, St. Louis has been one of the most consistently successful regular-season NHL teams in recent seasons. Despite still lacking a Stanley Cup victory in their history, St. Louis has made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.
With a small departure from the norm in the late 1990s where St. Louis added red to their uniforms, the Blues have stuck with the same blue, white and yellow colour scheme since their inception. Every jersey they have had has included some version of the blue note logo, so their 2014-2015 jerseys basically simplified the superb uniform St. Louis had been featuring since the 2007 season.
9. Los Angeles Kings (Throwback Jersey)
Before the Los Angeles Kings donned the sleek black and white look they have featured since the late 1980s, they sported one of the more unique-looking jerseys in the league. One of the only professional sports franchises in North America to feature yellow and purple on their uniforms, the Kings retired the regular use of their purple and gold look in 1988.
They do, however, bring back their popular jerseys for their annual “Legends Night” series, wearing their gold and purple jerseys for games against the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings in 2015.
8. Detroit Red Wings (Home Jersey)
One of only three teams in the NHL to only feature two colours on their uniforms (and another yet to be covered), the Detroit Red Wings have made only subtle changes to their famous look ever since they debuted their current winged wheel logo way back in 1932. Aside from adding players’ last names to the back of the jerseys in 1972, the team has not experienced a big change in their jersey design since the days of the six-team NHL.
A classic logo, bolding striping, and an appealing colour scheme gives the Detroit Red Wings one of the most recognizable and iconic jerseys in all of sports today.
7. Anaheim Ducks (Throwback Jersey)
Originally called the Mighty Ducks when they first entered the league in 1993, Anaheim shared their original look with the popular Disney movie series, The Mighty Ducks. With a cartoon logo and a colourful jersey, the Mighty Ducks iced stars such as Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne in the 1990s and were a high-flying offensive machine. Although they changed to a simpler black colour scheme and rebranded themselves the “Ducks” in 2007, Anaheim sometimes brings back their popular jerseys to celebrate their former incarnations, the Mighty Ducks.
6. Arizona Coyotes (Throwback Jersey)
Another recent expansion team, the Coyotes wore some of the most creative and unique jerseys in the NHL from their inception in 1996 until the 2003 seasons. Paying tribute to the Native American culture in Arizona, the Coyotes jersey featured a highly artistic feel, with a green, black, and maroon colour scheme that also included an abstract coyote logo.
One of the most divisive jerseys in recent memory, the infamous “Picasso” jersey – also known as the Kachina jersey – was again donned by Arizona this past season for a throwback night that featured Coyotes legend Jeremy Roenick.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (Home Jersey)
Call me a sucker for the classics, but the Toronto Maple Leafs’ unchanged blue and white colour scheme is one of the most recognizable and iconic jerseys in the entire NHL. While the logo has been altered since the team officially became the “Maple Leafs” in 1927, the blue jersey with white stripes has been a mainstay of the team’s look for nearly their entire existence.
The most notable change in recent seasons has been the addition of laces on the neckline, added to the jerseys prior to the 2010-2011 season. Another of the three teams to feature only two main colours on their jersey, the Maple Leafs have experience far less success in recent seasons than their counterpart Red Wings. Promising young players like Morgan Rielly (pictured) look to don the storied Maple Leaf in playoff hockey in coming seasons.
4. Montreal Canadiens (Away Jersey)
The oldest club on this list (and in the NHL), the Canadiens are another team that have kept their current look for a long time. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
The legendary franchise made changes to their iconic look for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, adding laces to their neckline and changing the league-wide NHL logo on the nape of the neck to the french “LNH” version. While many across the United States recognize red, white, and blue as the colours of the American flag, diehard hockey fans in Canada immediately think of Les Habitants. And with 24 Stanley Cup victories and coming off an Atlantic Division championship, the Canadiens’ classic look should be seeing plenty of playoff action in the upcoming seasons.
3. Washington Capitals (Third Jersey)
An expansion team that entered the league in 1974, the Capitals have come a long way from their early days of futility, setting NHL records for most losses and most goals allowed in a season in the mid 1970s.
Originally sporting these red, white, and blue threads from 1974-1995, the team reintroduced their old look in time to participate in the 2011 Winter Classic. They continued to use the white version of their old jersey as their third jersey until last season, as they changed their third jersey from white to red in preparation for the upcoming season. The bold stripes, bright colours, and vintage feel to the Capitals’ third jersey makes it one of the best jerseys in the NHL.
2. Chicago Blackhawks (Home Jersey)
Another Original six team whose jersey design has stood the test of time, the Chicago Blackhawks introduced their current look in 1955. One of the last franchises to add last names to the back of their jerseys, as the Blackhawks finally decided to place names on their sweaters in 1977. This is also the last time Chicago made any major changes to their uniform.
With an iconic logo and a fantastic colour combination, the Blackhawks are one of the most successful teams in the entire NHL over the past few seasons. Coming off a Stanley Cup championship, and with stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signed long-term, expect to see the Blackhawks’ classic red jersey win a few more playoff series in upcoming seasons.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (Third Jersey)
And the top jersey in the NHL for next season is… the Pittsburgh Penguins!
Recently re-introduced prior to the 2014-2015 season, the Penguins’ third jersey commemorates the powerhouse Penguins teams of the early 1990s, when the team captured two Stanley Cups on the backs of superstars Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. In stark contrast to their first uniform as an expansion franchise, when their uniforms were powder blue, their third jersey fits perfectly in with the city’s black and gold theme, as fellow Pittsburgh inhabitants Steelers and Pirates also sport the sharp-looking colour combination.
With a creative logo, wide, simple, striping, and a bold colour scheme, the Penguins’ third jersey is the best uniform in the NHL. Look forward to seeing this beautiful sweater on the backs of stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin next season.
Joseph Aleong is an At-Large writer for THW from Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Follow him on Twitter @josephaleong11