The NHL's 20 Coolest Historical Jerseys We'd Love to See Back on the Ice
Hockey jerseys (or sweaters if you prefer)...they symbolize our favorite teams. As the cliche goes, you don't root for the name on the back of the jersey but for the crest on the front of the jersey.
Jerseys change over time, some are classic, others are, well, hideous and most are somewhere in between.
Either way, we learn to love the jerseys of our favorite teams and the memories they represent.
Here is a look at 20 historical NHL jerseys (and one bonus WHA jersey) that we'd love to see back on the ice. Feel free to add your own choices, I'm sure I've missed a few favorites. If you have a link to a picture of it, please try to include it.
For now, just sit back and enjoy the memories.
Honorable Mention: Minnesota Fighting Saints
OK, it's a WHA team, not an NHL team, but the Minnesota Fighting Saints had such a unique logo on the front of their jerseys, I just had to include them here.
The cartoon angel/saint with wings and a mean grimace on his face just perfectly fit the renegade style of the WHA and the rough and tumble style of this team.
A jersey like this would be a great re-addition to the world of pro hockey. Maybe the Wild could wear them just once to celebrate the Twin Cities' hockey heritage.
20. Dallas Stars
I always loved these classic Dallas Stars jerseys. They have the franchise's classic green and gold colors along with their newer color, black.
The team's name and a star are front and center, and the design of the logo and piping on the jersey actually are shaped like a star.
The fact that Dallas won its only Stanley Cup title in these jerseys only adds to the strong memories associated with this uniform.
19. St. Louis Blues
The white home Blues uniforms from the mid-70s have the classic multi-colored shoulder stripes and the large blue note crest front and center.
Players like John Davidson, Garry Unger, Red Berenson and Barclay Plager donned these uniforms with class. They just signify the team logo and name so perfectly.
18. San Jose Sharks (original)
The San Jose Sharks original jersey was a best seller in the early 1990s, even when the team was losing consistently on the ice.
The teal color was unique in the NHL at the time and the logo with the Shark biting a broken hockey stick was tough, compelling and again, different.
The black, white and grey colors contrasted the teal perfectly and unlike the modern Sharks sweaters, the striping was straightforward and clean looking.
I have no idea why the Sharks ever changed them, but they should at least bring these back as an alternate jersey rather than the standard black third jerseys they currently use.
17. Pittsburgh Penguins Mid-70s
The Penguins are one of those teams that just changes their uniforms every few seasons whether they have success on the ice or not.
It's been great to see their early 1970s, powder blue uniforms used as a third jersey, but I would love to see these mid-70s blue jerseys come back, even if the Penguins didn't have a lot of success in them.
Players like Lowell MacDonald, Pierre Larouche, Vic Hadfield and Jean Pronovost all left their mark with the Penguins in these sweaters.
16. Anaheim Mighty Ducks (original)
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks (yes, they were "mighty" back then), were the first NHL team owned by Disney and named after a kids' movie.
Their uniforms looked like they were taken straight from a childrens' film, too. The Duck shaped goalie mask in front of crossed sticks, the combination of purple, teal, gray and black and the diagonal striping screamed 1990s and signaled a new era in NHL expansion to "non-traditional" hockey markets.
It would probably be tough for the Ducks to get permission from Disney to wear them, but it would be great to see Teemu Selanne skate in these classics once more before he retires.
15. Kansas City Scouts
The Kansas City Scouts only lasted two seasons in the NHL, 1974-75 and 1975-76. They joined the league along with the Washington Capitals in the fall of 1974.
They were one of the first teams to use all three primary colors (blue, red and yellow) in their jerseys.
Players like Denis Herron, Guy Charron, Craig Patrick and Wilf Paiement wore the Scouts uniform before they left for Denver in 1976. Today, they are the New Jersey Devils.
14. Winnipeg Jets
The original Winnipeg Jets adopted these classic blue, red and white road jerseys shortly after joining the NHL in 1979.
John B. Ferguson brought this style over from the New York Rangers who had similar uniforms during Fergie's tenure as their GM from 1976-1978.
The Jets never had much playoff success wearing these uniforms, but they proudly represented Manitoba in them with some small variations until they left for Phoenix in 1996.
13. California Golden Seals (1975)
The California Golden Seals (or Oakland Seals) didn't have much success on the ice, but they had some very original uniforms.
In 1974-75, after the league bought out owner Charlie Finley, the Seals changed their colors to Pacific Blue, California Gold and white and added shoulder stripes similar to those worn by the UCLA football team back then.
Players like Gilles Meloche, Dennis Maruk, Al MacAdam, Larry Patey, Jim Nielsen and Gary Simmons wore this unique style for two seasons before the Seals headed to Cleveland and became the Cleveland Barons in the summer of 1976.
12. Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are another team that has frequently changed uniforms over the course of their history and fans in Vancouver have seen their team wear the good, the bad and the ugly during NHL games.
The Canucks wisely brought back their original blue, green and white uniforms recently, but it would be great to see them bring back these beauties that they wore during their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994.
The black, gold and red color combination looked sharp and the team had success in these uniforms. Players like Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean and Cliff Ronning wore these jerseys and it would be great to see Vancouver bring them back as a third jersey in the future.
11. Edmonton Oilers (original)
The Edmonton Oilers occasionally use these as third jerseys, but it would be great to see them bring them back full-time.
These are the jerseys that all the great Oilers wore during their dynasty days which included five Stanley Cup wins and four in five years between 1984-1988.
Names like Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Anderson and Lowe all wore these jerseys and became one of the greatest teams in NHL history.
These uniforms symbolize the glory days of the Oilers and would be a welcome addition to the NHL if they returned.
10. Colorado Rockies
The NHL's version of the Colorado Rockies played in Denver from 1976 until 1982. They moved to Colorado from Kansas City and then moved to New Jersey and became the Devils.
The Rockies logo was the Colorado "C" on a mountain range with the same blue, red and yellow color scheme that the Scouts had.
Don Cherry coached this group for one year and players like Lanny McDonald, Rene Robert, Rob Ramage, Barry Beck and Chico Resch all suited up for the Rockies.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins, Lemieux Years
The Penguins switched from their original blue and white colors to black, gold and white in 1979 to match the city's other teams, the Pirates and Steelers. Both of those teams were winning championships at the time.
The Bruins, who also used black and gold, tried to stop the Penguins but it was determined the Boston franchise didn't have a monopoly on the colors.
These jerseys, as worn here by Mario Lemieux, were neat, clean looking and boldly showed the skating penguin logo that the franchise made famous.
It helped that the franchise won its first two Stanley Cups wearing these jerseys behind key players like Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Tom Barrasso and Larry Murphy.
8. Los Angeles Kings (Gretzky Era)
The Kings made their first run to the Stanley Cup Final in these jerseys back in 1993.
They adopted these jerseys after acquiring Wayne Gretzky in what was arguably the biggest trade in NHL history in the summer of 1988.
Modeled after the Los Angeles Raiders silver and black colors, the uniforms proved popular with hockey players and non-hockey fans in the region as well.
Besides Gretzky, players like Kelly Hrudey, Marty McSorely, Luc Robitaille and Dave Taylor wore these uniforms.
7. Hartford Whalers
The Hartford Whalers proudly represented Connecticut in the NHL from 1979 until 1997.
The Whalers originally wore classic green and white uniforms with blue trim. The logo was made to look like a "W" with a whales tale at the top.
Players like Ron Francis, Joel Quenneville, Ulf Samuelsson, Geoff Sanderson and Gordie Howe are among the players that wore this style of uniform which would be welcome on special nights in Raleigh.
Cue up "Brass Bonanza" and enjoy these classic jerseys.
6. New York Americans
The New York Americans were actually the first NHL team to play in New York at Madison Square Garden. They lasted until 1941-42. In their final season, they were known as the Brooklyn Americans despite the fact that they still played their home games in Manhattan.
When the Islanders move to Brooklyn in 2015, it would be nice to see them use these as third jerseys or at least on one special night to honor the region's past.
The red, white and blue colors with their patriotic stars and stripes would look classy in any era.
5. Boston Bruins, Early-1970s
The "Big, Bad Bruins" of the early 1970s won a pair of Stanley Cups wearing these jerseys in 1970 and 1972 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in them again in 1974.
These were the Bruins of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman, Gerry Cheevers, John McKenzie, Ken Hodge and Derek Sanderson.
These Bruins were tough, physical and very talented. It would be fitting to see the Bruins don the classic black and gold uniforms again in the future.
4. Minnesota North Stars
The Minnesota North Stars entered the NHL as part of the great expansion of 1967 and sported variations on these classic green, gold and white jerseys for most of their time in the Twin Cities.
They later added black to the jerseys a few years before they left for Dallas, but it didn't look as good or as bold as the original color scheme.
Among the stars that wore this uniform for the North Stars were Bill Goldsworthy, Gump Worsley, Gilles Meloche, Dino Ciccararelli, Neal Broten, Lou Nanne and Basil McRae.
It would be great to see either the Wild or the Stars wear these jerseys for a few games as third jerseys to celebrate their history.
3. Los Angeles Kings
When Jack Kent Cooke became the owner of the Los Angeles Kings, he outfitted them in "royal blue and gold" uniforms. Everyone besides Mr. Cooke saw them as purple.
It was certainly different for a hockey team to be outfitted in purple and gold. Thankfully, the Kings have used these jerseys a few times a year as third jerseys, although I'd like to see more of them. Mixing purple and black just doesn't look all that good.
Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon, Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor, Larry Murphy, Eddie Joyal and Luc Robitaille all wore these classic jerseys.
2. Quebec Nordiques
There is no jersey quite like the powder blue of the Quebec Nordiques which the club so proudly wore from the time they entered the NHL in 1979 until the time they left for Colorado in 1995.
The unique color, the artistically shaped "n" with a stick and puck at the end of it and of course the fleur-de-lis, made it clear that the jersey represented Quebec City.
The Nordiques had one of the great rivalries in hockey in the 1980s and 1990s with the Montreal Canadiens.
If Quebec does get an expansion franchise as rumored, it would be great to see them bring back these jerseys or a variation of them. Players like Peter Stastny, Michel Goulet, Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Guy Lafleur all wore this classic jersey.
1. California Golden Seals
When Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley purchased the Oakland Seals in 1970, he changed their uniforms to match his baseball team's, making them Kelly green, California gold and polar bear white.
After one season wearing green and yellow skates, Finley switched them over to white skates, which needed to be painted after each game. The result, by the end of the season, layers of paint weighed down the skates and slowed down Finley's players.
The Seals were the first NHL team to put players' names on the back of their jerseys and jersey sales did increase under Finley, even if the team didn't improve much on the ice.
When the NHL bought out Finley in February of 1974, the white skates were gone, followed by the A's style uniforms, which were replaced at the start of the following season.
They remain a classic relic of the styles of the 1970s and one I'd love to see the San Jose Sharks wear once in a while.
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