Fashion Forward: The Top 15 Alternate Jerseys in the NHL
Of all things to focus on in hockey, fashion is not one that comes to mind as a really important topic—but why not?
Who wants to watch a team who is sporting a failure of a throwback jersey, or any unsightly combination of accent colors that tend to be in limited quantity on the main jerseys for a good reason?
Let's take some time to mourn some of the unfortunate third jerseys, like the one seen on Vancouver net-minder to the left, as we make our way into celebrating the cream of the crop of the alternate-sweaters world, ranking the top 15 third jerseys.
15. Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins jump start our countdown with the first example of what I call "blackout" jerseys.
Considering there aren't many accents aside from a stripe or two on the arm and the chest crest, the new logo utilizes an interesting shape—a shape I admit I'm not too fond of.
The white accents were not done in the ideal way either, and although I do appreciate the traditional logo on the shoulders above the numbers, I don't think this jersey was the best it could be.
14. San Jose Sharks
Next up in the 14th spot are the San Jose Sharks in their "blackout" third jersey.
There's the right way, the wrong way, and the mediocre way to black out a look; and this alternate sweater is an example of the mediocre way.
The Sharks are apparently fine with forgettable fashion, as the only exciting aspect of this jersey is the teal stripe on the arm; nothing worth raving about, but still better than some of those alternate jerseys that send chills down your spine—and not in a good way.
13. Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo is the next team to have their jersey ripped at the seams by yours truly.
Again, a boring rendition of a throwback, although these aren't as horrendous as some of the others—hence they grace us in the 13th slot.
The double horizontal stripes are a nice change from the standard diagonal seams, but the logo is really why the jersey doesn't work for me. Yes, the font is fine, but what is the point of the white lines on the top and bottom of "Buffalo"?
Either I missed something here, or it doesn't have much purpose, except to maybe add a little more white accents. Maybe try throwing some white on the arms, not random stripes on the logo, and this could jump a seat or two in the right direction.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins
Despite fearing for my life from all those who disagree, I really am not sure what all the hype is about the new Pittsburgh "baby blues."
Yes, they are aesthetically pleasing with the simple accents of both darker blue and white, and yes, they are a nice change from the standard black home jerseys, but there's a problem I have with this look: Where did the blue come from?
As I am told by Wiz Khalifa (who raps about "Black and Yellow"), Pittsburgh's colors are supposed to be black and yellow, black and yellow...I don't see where the light blue comes into play and because of that, I feel obligated to put other jerseys higher on the list.
11. Los Angeles Kings
Getting into the better part of the countdown, the 11th spot goes to the LA Kings with their successful version of a throwback and "blackout" jersey.
The bold LA crest works with the overall simplicity of the black, white and silver. For once, I don't need the standard purple that the Kings are usually clad in.
The white bands on the arm are the only thing I don't find as appealing, but other than that, the white trim is a great accent.
10. New York Rangers
From the Rangers come our 10th-best alternate sweater, the simple red, white and blue throwback that is a darker, more sophisticated version of their traditional bright jerseys.
The upgrade to the navy blue and off-white is a step in the right direction in my opinion, with the same simple stripes, and the logo still diagonal on the chest. For the Rangers, the small changes work in their favor and give them a very respectable look.
9. St. Louis Blues
Landing in ninth place is St. Louis with a simplified yet elegant version of their traditional home jerseys.
The Blues shrugged off the excessive detail of the contrast color of the shoulders and dropped their royal blue, turning instead to the navy blue which make the contrasted white and yellow stripes more shocking—in a good way.
The circle crest, an aspect that I am not usually fond of, is done with elegant detail with the St. Louis Gateway Arch as the background behind the Blues' logo of the music note.
8. Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild are seated comfortably in the eighth spot with their revamped edition of their standard horizontal stripe, eliminating the red as a main color and focusing in on the elegance of the forest green with the cream-colored contrast.
The new logo is a nicely done throwback with the elegant font and the slant a very nice detail. I have to say that the Wild alternate sweater, although not too different from their original jerseys, deserve recognition in the top 10.
7. Phoenix Coyotes
Phoenix is in at No. 7 with their predominantly black-and-burgundy alternate sweater.
The 'Yotes have a simplified but still very eye-catching and regal version of their standard home jerseys. Phoenix dropped the horizontal stripes on the arm and opted instead to go with the diagonal sleeve seams, and the contrast color under the arms adds hidden detail.
The full-bodied Coyote is also a nice change from the howling head, and of course, it's always nice to see a team grow up and leave behind their old alternate logo with the cartoon coyote.
6. Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators went in a different direction than most with their alternate jersey; most teams seem to simplify things, while the Preds opted to make their traditionally simple sweaters a bit more complex.
The interesting color blocking on the sleeves is eye-catching, along with the diagonal piping up the sides to the neck. The logo also dropped the expected triangle behind the Predator's head in a change that I absolutely agree with.
All in all, an absolute upgrade that I would enjoy seeing turn into their standard home jersey.
5. Colorado Avalanche
The first of our top five sweaters is the third jersey sported by the Colorado Avalanche.
When a team has two dominant colors, not including black or white, the team tends to be favored for a good-looking third jersey. The Avs opted to switch the main color of the jersey from the maroon to the blue, shortened the secondary color to just being on the shoulder pads, and added a few stripes on the elbows.
A third jersey should not resemble the other jerseys too much, and Colorado achieved a great balance between tradition and new details, including spelling out Colorado in a downward slant but still having the logo on the shoulders.
4. Carolina Hurricanes
In fourth place is the third jersey from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The 'Canes are one of the very few teams who have their home jerseys a color that is not black, keeping the always-flattering black for their third jersey. The Hurricanes kept a few of their traditional details, including the Carolina pattern of blocks on the bottom and the other stripes on the arm and waist.
The main reason that the Hurricanes' third jersey is so high on the list is the absolute success of the secondary logo. I love the triangle background that is the expected or stereotyped shape of a hurricane, as well as the hockey stick flag blowing in the winds.
I love this jersey and every time I've seen it, I notice another detail that I missed before. This one is an absolute success.
3. Anaheim Ducks
Call me biased, but this new Anaheim Ducks third sweater is one of the sleekest in the league.
The underarm detail with the orange block surrounded by black, white and gold add detail that are just flashy enough to stay elegant.
The orange sleeves that come to a "V" with the same pattern of colored stripes adds beautiful consistency throughout the jersey.
Finally, the throwback on the shoulder to the original Wild Wing mask logo from the days as the Mighty Ducks give just enough of a nod to the past while using the enlarged "D" crest on the chest to symbolize the future of the franchise.
2. Ottawa Senators
Here in our No. 2 spot sits the alternate jersey from the Ottawa Senators.
When you have a nickname like "Sens" that you can rock, why not use that to your advantage?
The bold logo paired with the simple blackout and the great accents on the arms with the red and white is brilliantly executed.
The traditional logo still appears on the shoulder; however, I would love to see these jerseys adopted as the official home jerseys in Ottawa.
Absolutely stunning jersey right there; I have to admit they made my jaw drop a little when I first saw them.
So, with all this praise, who could be No. 1?
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Our No. 1 best alternate jersey is the Tampa Bay Lightning's "Bolts" jersey.
The Lightning, like the Senators, took advantage of an obvious yet still respectable nickname, but they get some extra points for slanting their words in the general pattern of their standard lightning bolt logo.
The use of their royal blue as the dominant color and the white, silver and black accents—though it could be expected to be too busy—comes off with just the right amount of detail to keep the audience interested but not too detailed to be overwhelming.
My favorite third jersey in the league goes to Tampa Bay for this original—yet still finding a way to feel like a throwback with the Bolts font—sweater.