The Pittsburgh Penguins third jerseys pay homage to the franchise’s original uniforms from their inception into the NHL in 1967-68. The powder blue, dark blue and white were worn by the team until the 1979-1980 season when they decided to switch to black and gold, the color schemes of the city’s Steelers and Pirates.
The Penguin’s uniforms had several variations over the next few decades, but they always remained black and gold. I am one Pittsburgh fan who believes they should stay that way.
I have read and heard suggestions over the last year that the franchise should stick with the third jerseys as their regulars. I could not be more against this sentiment. So I am clear, my stance against this atrocity is not one of simple dislike of a color scheme. It is about the history, legacy and identity of a franchise and more importantly a city.
I am not a fan of the blue jerseys that were first introduced for the first Winter Classic in Buffalo and I wish they would disappear altogether. I, personally, would have preferred to see the predominantly gold Pens jerseys from the mid 1980s as a throwback third jersey, but that is neither here nor there.
If the Penguins continue to wear the powder blue jerseys a handful of times a year I can grin and bear it. I even have a “blue themed” sweatshirt and t-shirt (they were gifts from my Wife so I have to like them), but if a handful of games ever turns into anything more, then I feel the organization would be taking something away from loyal fans such as myself.
I have three core reasons for never wanting to see this oft suggested change come to light:
1.) I was born in 1979 and have been a life long Pens fan. I never knew them in anything other then the black and gold that they still wear today. Those colors are synonymous with the franchise, especially for those fans, such as myself, who never were a part of the beginning years of the franchise. Those of us who bleed black and gold and always have do not have the desire to change our blood type.
I could not even imagine the uproar there would be if the Leafs suggested a change from blue and white or the Habs abandoning the bleu, blanc et rouge! Now, I am obviously well aware that the historical significance of the colors of the Penguins can not even hold a candle to the mystique surrounding the two aforementioned Canadian franchises, but to a long time Pens fan it can carry just as much weight.
2.) The Penguins had some adequate years wearing the powder blue uniforms, but the truly significant history of the franchise was built during the black and gold era. The drafting of franchise heros Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, etc.
The Pittsburgh careers of greats such as Ron Francis, Kevin Stevens, Mark Reechi, Paul Coffey, Tom Barrasso, Larry Murphy, and many others. Most importantly, the three times that the Stanley Cup was taking victory laps around the ice in honor of the Pittsburgh organization, it was doing so in a sea of black and gold celebration.
3.) Pittsburgh is the only professional sports city that has all of its teams wearing the same colors. This may not mean much to a lot of people, but it does to me. I find it to be one of the most special elements of Pittsburgh sports.
It shows solidarity between the teams and the fans. Black and gold represents Pittsburgh within the sports realm and I feel that pulling the Penguins franchise out of this common bond would be a slap in the face to the sports tradition of the city.
I am not one to be against change nor am I a traditionalist at heart, but I do believe some things are meant to remain as they are and as a huge Pittsburgh sports fan this is one of them.