Every well dressed hockey fan wears a sweater: Best/Worst NHL jerseys write-offMay 20, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line For anyone who attends a hockey game, there's one fashion must: an official team jersey. Players still often use the term "sweaters." Quite fitting for a game played on ice.
Introduction and Disclaimers
This epinion is written especially for a write-off on the Best and Worst NHL hockey jerseys sponsored by leafsbabe01. This category was selected because it's the most appropriate category we could find.
Check out the entries of the participants: conter7, rcknrbn3, dantesguide, leafsbabe01, oilers_dynasty, james23, roynyr, yzerman and myself, ldiablo.
I'll admit my bias here and now: I am a New Jersey Devils fan and have been since the early '90s when they switched from the red and green Christmas colors to the red, white and black color scheme. As a resident of the Dallas area, we didn't have a hockey team at the time I chose a team to follow, and, despite getting the Stars a few years later, I chose to remain loyal to the team I selected.
And, finally, watch out for flying pucks. This author is not responsible for injuries sustained as a result of reading this epinion.
The 5 Worst of 2001
I'll start on a negative note so that I can finish with positives.
One of my peeves are cartoonish logos that look like minor league teams. A few come to mind readily, but I don't want to just load up on goofy, cartoony logos. That would probably be too easy. So my worst 5 of 2001 in reverse order:
5. Vancouver Canucks (all jerseys) -- I shudder when I see this goofy logo. It's both cartoony and cheesy with the crude C and the shark coming out of it. It looks like a junior high art class project gone awry. These fans got ripped off when the team changed logos. I guess getting Mark Messier was supposed to ease the pain. I'd go back to the old logo and not the-almost-as-bad jersey from around '70-'71. (see my best list)
4. Florida Panthers (alternate jersey) -- This jersey could cause seizures in children it's so gaudy. The blue jersey with the bright red and yellow stripes combine in a dizzying way and that jumping Panther looks so silly, especially breaking a hockey stick. They might was well put skates and a helmet on the cat. Perhaps they could do a cartoony rat like the Albany River Rats in honor of former player Scott Mellanby who was famous for killing a rat in the locker room before a game where he scored a hat trick.
3. NY Islanders (all jerseys) -- One of the ugliest of jerseys. While the use of the island in the logo is an attempt at clever, the poor NY fans get stuck with some of the worst colors in that blue and orange combination. This team's overdue an overhaul after their last fiasco. (see worst all time list below)
2. Atlanta Thrashers (home jersey) -- Why do the expansion teams usually go for the cartoony crud? (One exception of note: For some reason I like the Columbus Blue Jackets, perhaps because they didn't include their buggy-looking mascot on the actual jerseys.) The Thrashers' bird just looks half baked. I do think the away jersey at least tries to look stylistic. It is almost cool, though the bright red, yellow and blue combination keeps it a little over the edge.
1. Minnesota Wild (all jerseys) -- What the heck is this thing? Just a cartoon something that isn't even clear. Ok, it's supposed to be a silhouette of a panther head and in the silhouette is what I presume to be a scary looking wilderness treescape. Well, someone tried a litle hard because this thing qualifies as a magic eye puzzle. Stare long enough and you might see the ghost of Mike Modano.
The 5 Best of 2001
I tend to favor simplicity and clever iconography, when possible. I like bold colors but usually not too many. For some reason, in looking at my list, they are heavy in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division. Yes, my favorite team plays in that division, but I didn't really think about it that way when selecting.
5. (tie) Pittsburgh Penguins (away jersey) -- I really like the classy look of this jersey. Black and gold are nice, and the pinstripes on the penguin logo help keep it clean. The black away jersey is nice and features a fading band of color around the middle that goes from white to gold.
5. (tie) Phoenix Coyotes (alternate jersey) -- OK, so it's cartoony. But for the casual fan, it's not as obvious how much thought went into this team's logo and jerseys. This jersey is way out on the edge, and for once, I like the risk they took. It's very Southwestern from an artistic standpoint, and the coyote, which looks like something Picasso might have dreamt about while on an LSD trip, is actually a salute to a specific style of Native American Indian mask of the region. A cool combination of the local heritage, art and hockey.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (all jerseys) -- a rare example of a recent expansion team that got their jersey and logo right. I like the use of the stylized hurricane flag on the jersey and the red, white and black are solid, bold colors.
3. Flyers (alternate jersey) -- The Flyers alternate jersey makes this list because of two simple elements: solid black and a simple iconographic logo. The orange and black contrasts well and it's a clean look. Reminds me of the practice jerseys from several years back for each team.
2. NY Rangers (alternate jersey) -- As much as I loathe the Rangers, they've got one of the coolest jerseys in the game with the Statue of Liberty third jersey. Red, white and blue are both bold and patriotic, while the statue is a perfect symbol of New York. I have jersey envy of this one.
1. NJ Devils (home jersey) -- My favorite team, and of course, my favorite jersey. I like the simplicity of the red, white and black. I also like the way they combined the N and J with the devil horns and tail. The white home jersey is especially clean and my favorite. My former boss used to say he always thought it looked like a crescent wrench, but what did he know -- he's a Red Wings fan.
The 5 Worst of All Time
A common theme in this sub-category: none of these exist anymore. Much in part because the teams have moved, folded or just realized how bad the jerseys were.
5. Cleveland Barons (all jerseys) -- Thankfully, I wasn't watching hockey when this team existed around '76 and '78. This team had connections to the California/Oakland Seals and the Minnesota North Stars. The jersey was somewhat simple -- which usually I go for -- but in this case it was god-awful. A large letter C had "Cleveland" along the top of the letter, while "Barons" was along the bottom part. Inside the C was a large, red shape of the state of Ohio, not exactly the most recognizable of state shapes. Inside Ohio, is an Old English script letter B. Did I mention that each sleeve had the Ohio shape on it? The colors red, white and black didn't pull this one out of the fire. Rather, it should have been tossed into a fire. Thankfully, they weren't around long.
4. Quebec Nordiques (all jerseys) -- Perhaps it was jersey mercy (or in their French-Canadian province, merci for the change!) that the team moved to Colorado where they actually have a decent jersey. But the old Nordiques had a pitiful blue and red logo that looked somewhat like a fat version of a lower-case letter n with something akin to a hockey stick pushing a puck. It always conjured up an image of an elephant to me. Not exactly a classic hockey metaphor.
3. California Golden Seals -- Tough choice between this one and the plain California/Oakland Seals. From what I've gathered, the Seals had a little goofy seal on their jersey which was miserable in its own right, while the Golden Seals had only the word Seals across the chest. The colors were atrocious -- mostly yellowish gold and green with white. Ugghhh. The letters tried to look stylized, but my take is some elementary schoolers cut them out of construction paper with safety scissors.
2. Kansas City Scouts -- Sharp hockey fans will realize that I'm dissing my favorite team's heritage on this choice. Kansas City eventually moved to Denver as the Rockies, and then New Jersey, where they now play as the Devils. The Rockies had an awful jersey that looked like an out-of-work map-symbol maker got drunk and started designing. Thank goodness NJ got a new look (Ok, the Christmas color scheme was awful, but they came around). But the Scouts were as bad as the lot. They used some of the most abused colors in hockey -- red, yellow and blue. This jersey featured a circle on the front and inside it was an Indian on a horse with his hand up to his forehead. He's either "scouting" or saluting someone like a military officer. Just plain blah.
1. NY Islanders (alternate in the mid to late 90s) -- This was a huge fiasco. The Islanders wanted to overhaul their logo and unveiled a new look for the team. The worst of it was what I think was an alternate jersey (I can't find background material to refresh my memory -- apparantly everyone else wants to forget it, too). This particular jersey had a bearded guy on a boat that was fishing. Many people thought it looked like Hockey News columnist Stan Fischler fishing. I don't even think this jersey made it through the season, it was that bad.
The 5 Best of All Time
Again, I like classic and simple looks, with a few exceptions. Here are my all-time faves and I'll throw in a few honorable mentions:
Hon. Mentions: Most of the original six have withstood the test of time and have barely changed. I love the colors and simplicity of the Maple Leafs (and hats off to them for using their original logo this year on their alternate jersey, though it sometimes looks like a blue marijuana leaf); the Canadiens haven't really changed ever and that's admirable. I am not especially fond of the Blackhawks jersey -- I know, Chicago fans, I'll burn -- but I've seen it listed among the favorites on so many favorite lists and I just don't see it.
5. Vancouver Canucks around '94-'95 -- A rare example of an intricate, eye-popping jersey that worked for me. The black and bright yellow and orange were eye-catchers, and the logo for me was a Magic Eye puzzle for a long time before I figured out it was a skate with the word "Canucks" spelled on the blade. It looked like modern art in a way and for some reason, I dug it.
4. NY Americans -- unsure of the exact time, but it was early in the league. This team had a cool jersey at one time that looked kinda like an American flag. Bold red, white and blue with stripes from what I remember. Not sure if or how related to the Brooklyn Americans, but not the same jersey. Brooklyn's jersey looked more like today's Rangers with the Rangers spelled diagonally across the front.
3. Detroit Red Wings -- a classic. I love the red and white and the simple logo of the winged wheel is nice symbol of city's heritage.
2. NY Rangers (alternate jersey) -- Not a big fan of the classic Rangers jerseys, but the Statue of Liberty is just awesome (see entry above on 5 Best of 2001).
1. NJ Devils (all jerseys) -- I couldn't stray from my Devils. I really did pick them as my favorite team partly because of their logo (the other part because they were terrible at the time and I couldn't be accused of jumping on a bandwagon). The red, black and white is bold. The logo is simple, yet adds a touch of the mascot. I'm really surprised they haven't come out with a third jersey. For several years, they've been developing 'alternate' logo hats with a little devil man on them. He's not bad, but I don't know that he'd make any of these lists.
So there you have it -- my choices for best and worst of hockey jerseys. Again, don't forget to check out the lists of conter7, rcknrbn3, dantesguide, leafsbabe01, oilers_dynasty, james23, roynyr, and yzerman.
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