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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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?


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.


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.

  • Zach

    I use to rock a Devils jersey when I was really young. Love that North Star jersey though. Sick!

  • Kevin Whalen

    there really is no doubt to me that the North Stars is the best uni. But i’m glad to hear you rocked a Dev’s jersey when you were younger my man.

  • Tim Redinger

    A great post – was just considering a worst Jersey post of all time…beat me to the punch. Glad you included jerseys from teams who looked professional – too many NHL teams are going for the college look now just to sell jerseys.

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  • ian

    In case you wanted to know, nordique is a nickname for people of the north…considering they were in Canada and playing in the NHL, the name makes sense….and the bottom of the jersey is the fleur-de-lis, which I believe means flower in French. The fleur-de-lis is all over the city of Quebec.

  • Chris

    No way can you put the devils uniforms as a top ten. Plain red and black, with the NJ logo on the front, the powder blue Quebec Jersey was probably the best ever. That sweden Jersey is so much better looking than the Devils Uni’s and the blue version of it is sick looking too. Definately a homer opinion no doubt about it, no other way to rationalize putting the Devils Jersey as a top 10….

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  • Cy

    Where is the Hartford Whalers Jersey???? how could that not be top 10?

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  • Kevin Whelan

    When I was younger I was always drawn to the North Stars uni’s for some reason. As a Buffalo fan I’m glad to see they made the top 10 as when they changed to the dreaded black/red/white I yearned for them to return to the blue and gold. I miss my NHL Logo window curtains we had as kids growing up.

  • StevieY

    The winged wheel isn’t in your top 10? Hmmmmm…..

  • Alex

    How do you not include the Whaler jerseys?! Some of the best uniforms in all of sports (certainly by logo standards). How can I take your site seriously when you didn’t include the Whalers on that list…

  • greg Z

    you have to include the N.Y Islanders. Since they canme back with the original jersey, they look better. In the current one, the Carolina hurricanes 3rd Jersey all black and red.

  • Jody Rope

    Why are sports fans so dumb about graphic design? Everything that could be wrong about a uni IS in the North Stars’ 70′s cereal box look, and the Nordiques elephant with a tennis ball is maybe the worst logo in the history of commercial art and while the Blackhawks are nostalgically resonant, please ask a Native American how she or he feels about being used as a “mascot” or logo–and NO I’m not a pc freak, just sensitive to how my friends feel–and the Bruins “B” tops are really cool but the one you picked has a patch far too big for the field and the Oilers’ unis–yech–barf–were so ugly they occlude the great teams that played in them.

  • Kevin Whalen

    First of all, I love the whining going on in there about this. Second of all, the Whalers did get honorable mention, but not in my top 10 because they changed their uniforems to much, similar to the flyers or penguins. and as far as me being a homer? fine, i told you to call me what you want, but at least the devils dont change their threads or get 3rd jersies like every other team, i factor tradition into my choices. and as far as an Indian mascot…BOO-Hoo! classic teams like the black hawks, indians, redskins…they are here to stay so deal wioth it, so why not admire their uni’s while they are here?

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  • Ryan

    Red Wings honorable mention? I guess I can deal with that.

    #1 is pretty sweet I must say.

  • Keith Norton

    ummmmmmmmmmm……the whale??????????

  • The Dirty Bird

    To leave out the most classic uniform in hockey is just wrong. The Detroit Red Wings logo and color scheme are iconic and as perfect as one can get. Now I am sure that you probably don’t like the Wings but you cannot negelct their simplicity and authenticity! They are the best uniform in hockey, hands down!

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  • ian

    Maybe it’s my love of Alexander Ovechkin, but I am huge fan of the Capitals Home Jerseys. You made a comment about then “N” and “J” for New Jersey, but the T looking like a stick seems pretty genius to me.

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  • http://n/a AvsFan

    Not a bad list, but I did notice you left off the sweater of the Colorado Rockies (not the team that plays crappy baseball, but the team that played crappy hockey) before the new ownership moved the team in the night to New Jersey. The colors were the blue, red and yellow of the Colorado state flag. The logo was a simple C part of the state flag in a mountainous silhouette.

  • Pat H.

    Hey Guys,
    Great list, but you missed one. The Philadelphia Flyers have basically had the same jersey for the entire existence of the franchise. The logo is also a simple and classic design. Although if you didn’t include it because all Devils fans are raised to hate the Flyers, I respect that. And as a Flyers fan, I thank you for not including the Penguins. Crosby is such a little bitch.

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  • Smokey

    What’s the deal, no Canucks mustard-yellow flying v?

  • Zoner

    The Blackhawks have the best sweater in the game!

  • Alex

    To complete the answer about the Nordique jersey: The logo is an igloo shaped as the letter N. The fleur-de-lys is not flower in French but is the symbol of the Province of Quebec, there’s 4 fleur-de-lys on the province flag. This flower is the official symbol of the French kings.

    Nice post on the jerseys. Except your homer call, I like the rankings. My top 10 would also include the Canada jersey from the 70′s-80′s.

  • muukiithefinn

    I have a few quibbles with your list:

    -The Montreal Canadiens’ red jerseys are by FAR the best uniform in sports, and way too far down your list. Graphicly perfect and almost completely unchanged for 100 years. It’s uni nirvana.

    -The Team Canada Jersys from the 1976 Canada Cup were awesome, but being from ‘Jersey, you are forgiven for not including them on your list. You may not even be aware of them.

    -Like everyone else, I think the Red Wings & Whalers deserve to be on the list.

    -The Leafs’ Jersey you use has that damned Harold Ballard-era simplified Leaf on it. It’s so lame. Go back to the version they used in the early 60′s, and NOW you’re talkin’.

    -Even though I HATE the Bruins, the Circled “B” with the spokes is a classic and definitely top 10 material. That 3rd Jersey is just damn ugly. Bad call.

    -Love the Nordiques Jerseys, but that logo is just awkward looking. The Team Finland shirts use the same colour scheme but have a graphicly pleasing yellow Lion on the front from the Finnish Coat-of-Arms. Much nicer, IMO. (No Fleur-de-lis, though…)

    -Your #1 is an abomination. Seriously? The North Stars? They do not even belong on this list.

    -Nice call on the Team Sweden Jerseys, but like another poster, I prefer the blue version.

    Other than all THAT, nice list ;)…

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  • Steve

    Nordiques means “Frosties” and the logo isn’t a hockey net, it’s supposed to be an igloo. The “royal crosses” are called fleur de lis.

  • Marko

    i love that you’re giving respect to the old minny north stars jersey

    my old minor hockey teams used the same jersey colors for our uni’s

    Go Thorold Wildcats!

  • Arruda

    No Rangers jersey? That’s right, you’re a Devils fan. That would be blasphemy. Besides, the Devils have only been around for thirty years. They’ll start changing their jerseys soon. They’re not like some other clubs who have been around for almost 100 years.

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  • Nacho

    If we’re to talk about logos, the Whalers have the best one : a W and a whale tail creating an H in between. Color scheme changed during the 90′s and they became a bit bland because of it, but the logo still sported some green.

    As a Quebec resident, seeing a team skating around basically draped with a Quebec flag made me proud. The logo could have been better, but it was likable. Even goalie Stéphane Fiset had his mask painted with this igloo theme (ice blocks forming a wall with a Nordiques logo).

    Nowadays, nostalgia is a big hit, so maybe it’s a good thing those rumored new sweaters and logo never made it… because the fleur-de-lisé wouldn’t have made this list!

    If ever a team named Nordiques came to the city, I’d see it with the same blue, but without the red, replaced with some powder blue or navy blue or silver. It’d kick major ass :D

  • D-man

    About the BlackHawks’ logo; unlike a number of other Native American logo’s, it isn’t cartoony or refer to a derogitory term. Have actually heard from a number of Native Americans that they actually respect that logo and name, as it speaks to the heritage of the area.

  • Dan

    Poor showing without the whale.

  • [email protected]

    The North Stars jersey had a great, simple, almost ‘original 6′ charm to it. Also, I will take the name ‘ The Minnesota North Stars’ over The (arena football like) Minnesota Wild anyday.

  • Kool-aid

    Why not just be a total homer and put the Devils at no.1? There’s a reason why they haven’t changed their jerseys since 1992. They’re awesome. Just as cool as the Blackhawks or Habs. And how do you put that ugly Nordiques jersey at no.2?!? That would be near the top of my list for least favorites. But then again I always liked the Coyotes original jerseys. I guess everyone has an ugly jersey that they like!

  • torgoman


  • Kevin Whalen

    Way to contribute to the argument torgoman. If you are going to disagree with something I say, at least back it up with something instead of your emo/dork response of “fail”. Moron.

  • Louie

    haha “royal crosses”

    brutal list, but such is any subjective list.

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  • Derek

    I am crazy about NCAA hockey uniforms. I would like to see Mr. Whalen do an article on NCAA hockey uniforms. To name some of the uniforms I like: Notre Dame (Amazing!), New Hampshire Wildcats, Yale, Boston College. Every NCAA hockey game is so aesthetically pleasing to watch.

  • Avro Arrow

    I really don’t know where you got the idea that the Nords’ jersey had “Royal Crosses” (are you serious?! LOL) but they are Royal Symbols. They are the Fleur-de-Lys which is historically the symbol of French Royalty and the symbol of the province of Quebec. As much as I like the North Stars, I’m afraid I have to disagree with that as the best. I rank ALL original-6 jerseys over that with the Habs right at the top because they’ve had the same jersey since before the NHL was even founded.

  • http://none laser44

    i agree with sweden,nordique,stars,habs,leaf,hawks,sabres,oilers,and devils in green and red,but the bruins 3rd jersey is not very good at seem to have forgotten the atlanta flames,rockies,seals gold and green, and the coyotes 1st jersey which may be the best ever made,also the rangers statue of liberty is fantastic in white or blue.what about the senators original jerseys or the kings pick one they are all cool in my opinion.

  • keith

    What a joke to put the Devils jersey anywhere in the top ten. Those jerseys are so ugly and gimmicky.

  • mike

    It’s not a hockey net. It’s an igloo. Sheesh.