Best Hockey Uniforms, Then and Now

As long as I have loved sports, I have had a unique interest in team uniforms and logos. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it is a cognitive issue in which I like certain colors or patterns. I have no idea why. But, in my opinion there is something great about a nice uniform, the color combinations, the crest on the front of the jersey’s that represent who you are going to battle for.

In medieval times, barbarians were still just barbarians, yet they still grasped the concept of being a “team” and having an insignia that bound them together as a unit. That is how I associate today’s sports with what we see teams donning whenever they go to battle. Today, there are of course no life or death situations on the line, as they were in the medieval times, however, the concept of team unity and cohesion is there. These are more than uniforms.

Everyone has their opinions on team uniforms or team logos. Going out of the hockey realm, let’s look at the NCAA’s version of Project Runway, the Oregon Ducks. They have new uniforms every year, new helmets every year! That is taking it too far in my opinion and it has just become a marketing tool at that point. To me, what makes a great uniform is how consistent the design is over the years while other teams have changed around you and your team still remains the same. Also, a uniform that remains basic has something about it that sticks out over the more flamboyant patterns that some teams may have. The New York Yankees, a uniform that is symbolic in all of sports. It has become that way because it has remained simple, classy and has had the same design over many years. That is what makes a great uniform to me.

Now, I would like to introduce to you, my top 10 hockey uniforms of both past and present. This is totally opinionated on my part and I will be choosing them based on what I mentioned above, simplicity, consistency and cohesion.

sweden_away_big10) Team Sweden: The color combo of royal blue and gold has always been a favorite of mine. The three crowns on the jersey have been Sweden’s logo forever it seems. Some of these international teams have new uniforms every time we see them (which for most people is every four years). The Swedes have remained consistent with their threads and that gets them on the board and also makes them the #1 international jersey.

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9) Buffalo Sabres original jersey: Alright I know it is the same color combination as Team Sweden’s, but I did say I liked that combo. But, in all seriousness, this is a favorite across the board, everywhere you go. The integration of the buffalo for the city of Buffalo is excellent. Plus, the two saber swords crossing are both simple and artistic.

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8 ) Montreal Canadians Centennial Jersey: I could have easily put the Canadians regular jersey in this spot due to it being the Yankees jersey of the hockey world. These white ones, however, are crisp and clean, yet still have that “C-H” logo that everyone has become so familiar with.

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7) Edmonton Oilers: When the Oilers changed these uniforms to darker blue and that copper looking color, well…it sucked. These uniforms were the uniforms of a dynasty the likes of which we will never see again. A dynasty with Messier, Gretzky, Kurri, Lowe, Fuhr…the list goes on and on. Why did they ever change it? Who knows. But these jerseys are here to stay on my list.

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6) Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs are one of the leagues most beloved franchises and one of the most hated (depends who you talk to). The Leafs have changed their uniforms a lot over the years, but they have remained the same for the most part. The colors have always been the same (except for when they were the Toronto St. Pats) and the simplistic blue and white combination has become the quintessential identifier of Toronto.

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5) Boston Bruins Third Jersey: This is the one and only third jersey I will have in here. I love the Bruins jerseys in general, but I really, really love these. The old school logo, now used as a primary one on the third jersey, as well as the B’s black and gold make it the best third jersey and one of the best overall.

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4) Chicago Blackhawks (all 3): I know above I said the Bruin’s third was the only third I would put in here. I don’t really consider the black uniform the Hawks wear as a third jersey. It is the same jersey as the other ones, just a different color. That is why I like the Hawks uni’s so much. They have that awesome logo of the Indian and the red, black and white stripes bring all three uniforms together. Can you tell I am a fan of the Original Six designs?

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3) New Jersey Devils: Call me a homer, call me what you want. But, no one can argue that the Devils have always remained classic with their uniform (since changing from red and green to red and black). They have never had an alternate jersey and Lou has said that he feels that other jerseys are too gimmicky and take away from a franchises tradition. I agree on that 100%. Also, the logo is very simple and smart. Most people may look at it and think, “What is that?” Well folks, it is an “N” and a “J” put together to form an “NJ” with devils horns and a devil tail. Pretty brilliant if you ask me.

2) Quebec Nordiques: A team that is not even around anymore, sadly. These uniforms are awesome. I don’t care who disagrees, they look great. What that logo is exactly or what a Nordique is per say, I can’t give you a definitive answer. All I know, is that the royal crosses on the bottom of the jersey, the colors and the hockey stick/hockey net logo all mesh. It just works.

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1) Minnesota North Stars: This particular uniform to me is the absolute best ever. It may not fit under my “simplistic” category. But, just look at how nice it looks. The awesome “N” logo with the arrow and the star. The integration of black with the yellow and green fits perfectly. This is one of the best logos and one of the best uniforms of all time, hands down. So my last two are from teams that don’t even exist anymore, but when they were alive and kicking, they sure knew how to dress.

So, there it is, my top 10 hockey uniforms of all time. Perhaps I left one off that you feel needed to be on here, I sure have my honorable mentions. The Hartford Whalers, the Detroit Red Wings, The New York Rangers, and the Vancouver Canucks all have good uniforms, but they just didn’t do enough for me to get into my top ten. Oh, well.

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