From the untucked jerseys to the bizarre spectacle of grown men wearing short pants over stockings, hockey has always been a unique sport from a uniform perspective. With the NHL season just under way, here’s a rundown of this year’s most noteworthy developments:
The Sabres, Senators, Maple Leafs, and Penguins have new alternate jerseys. Pittsburgh’s model features the triumphant return of the franchise’s sorely missed skating-penguin logo, while Toronto’s design—basically a reprise of the alternate uni they wore two seasons ago to commemorate the closing of Maple Leaf Gardens—is a cool throwback job that will be worn only against other Original Six teams. (Unfortunately, however, the retro maple leaf shoulder patch on the team’s standard jersey has been replaced by an unsightly “TML” logotype.)
The Rangers and Blackhawks are sporting nice 75th-anniversary patches. In a somewhat more dubious move, the Sharks are celebrating their, uh, rich heritage with a 10th-anniversary patch.
The Flames and Capitals, continuing a trend that began a few seasons back with the Senators and Penguins, have turned last year’s alternate jerseys into this year’s road jerseys, giving the league an increasing number of teams whose home and road unis, oddly, look nothing alike.
In a disappointing development, uni manufacturers’ logos are now more prominent than ever, appearing just above the player’s name on the back of the jersey.
Purple and teal have been the favored colors for new teams throughout the sports world since 1988, but the NHL, in a veritable public service, has bucked this trend in recent years, first with the Hurricanes and Predators and now with the expansion Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, whose unis are blissfully purple- and teal-free. The Wild, despite one of history’s worst franchise names (Uni Watch remains unalterably opposed to any team moniker that doesn’t end in “s”), look sharp, with a classy green-red-gold color scheme and a handsome chest emblem—kudos all around. Same can’t be said, alas, for the Blue Jackets, who have a cheesy cartoon logo character and a color palette featuring a truly off-putting shade of neon-mucus—Uni Watch humbly recommends a hasty retreat to the drawing board.