Atlanta Thrashers: The Jerseys the NHL Would've Been Better off Without
By now, it's well known that the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers are well on their way to Winnipeg, and that one of the NHL's ugliest-looking teams is now heading to the home of the Jets, one of the NHL's best looking dead teams.
In the Thrashers' brief history, there's been no shortage of ugly uniforms. Even though the Thrashers only survived for 10 years, I'm willing to call only two of their jerseys "decent."
The rest, not so much.
This list is in chronological order, and contains mostly home and alternate uniforms. It contains every home uniform and I believe almost every alternate uniform.
1999-2003: The Average
Let's start on a semi-positive note, shall we?
I never felt there was anything inherently wrong with the Thrashers' first uniform. While the number font (hard to see in this picture) could've used a little work, the jersey was solid, if average.
It's rare when an expansion NHL team debuts with their best uniforms, especially when that NHL team debuts in the late 1990s (not known as a great time in uniform history, for any sport). It's not the greatest hockey uniform ever—far from it—but it's not as mind-wreckingly bad as their later ones.
I'm not really a fan of the small triangles in the lower stripe, but it's far from uniform-destroying. Overall, Atlanta first foray into uniforms was pretty much solid.
Oh, if only the Thrashers kept this uniform. Unfortunately, they didn't. It's all down hill from here, folks.
2003-2006: The Best
This is arguably the Thrashers' strongest uniform. And I don't even like the color scheme. Navy blue with red, a touch of light blue and what appears to be a dark yellow. Not the greatest of color schemes, that's for sure.
Besides giving you a seizure with the amount of different colors this thing is throwing at you, the template for the jersey itself isn't that bad. I also think that the logo is better than the primary Thrashers logo (despite unleashing light blue upon the Thrashers).
However, I don't like the shoulder patches (maybe because it's the primary logo just shrunk) and I wouldn't be caught dead in those socks.
This isn't a good jersey by any means, but it's a far cry from what abominations the Thrashers get into later in their tenure.
You know, it's pretty bad when I title a slide "The Best," but I still say that the jersey "isn't good by any means." And from this point, it'll only get worse.
2006-2007: The Asymmetrical
Oh, god. The Asymmetrical. I wouldn't be caught dead in one of these.
It originally debuted in 2003 as the alternate jersey for the Thrashers. Sure, it was ugly, but it was just an alternate jersey. They're supposed to be ugly. Look at the Bruins' old alternate jersey. And that thing was on an Original Six team!
What I'm getting at is that alternate jerseys are usually much worse than the usual jerseys. And these things remained alternate jerseys, at least for now. They actually became the Thrashers' home uniforms (more on those later).
Speaking of tradition, the Thrashers added a tie around the neck to these abominations. You know, for the players if they want to suffocate themselves for appearing in these things.
Not only was the tie unnecessary, but apparently the design team was trying to add a more traditional look to these new-wave eyesores.
Another thing: You can't really see it in the picture, but the triangles-inside-the-lower-stripe thing is back. It's just another bad part to this abhorrent uniform.
I wonder who thought just one sleeve would be the best place to put a wordmark. I mean really, did the design meeting go something like this:
MARKETING EXEC 1: "Okay, we need to make a splash in the NHL. A jersey no one has ever seen before."
MARKETING EXEC 2: "I got an idea! How 'bout we change the color scheme from navy blue to light blue. Because, y'know, we're named after a bird called the Brown Thrasher. And get this: asymmetry. Just the word "Atlanta" plastered on the left sleeve. Instantly the greatest jersey ever."
MARKETING EXEC 3: "Um, Johnson, that really wouldn't look very good."
MARKETING EXEC 2: "Who cares? We're making a brand new jersey for a baseball team that just joined the league a few years ago. It needs any sort of attention it can get. There's no such thing as bad publicity."
MARKETING EXEC 3: "Johnson, you do realize that the Thrashers are a hockey team. And baseball sleeves aren't long enough to put "Atlanta" on them."
MARKETING EXEC 2: "Baseball, hockey same thing. Who cares? Now, who wants more cocaine?"
Though these only lasted one season, this wasn't Atlanta's last run-in with asymmetry.
2007-2008: The Edge
Many teams used the NHL's transition to Reebok Edge jerseys as a time to completely redesign their looks. The Thrashers were not one of them.
They basically used the same white jersey that the team started out with, took away the lower stripe, added some blue piping and turned the blandness up to 11.
Sure, considering this is the Thrashers we're talking about—it could've gone much, much, much worse. But the piping they added was unnecessary, and even though I berated the lower stripe with the triangles in it earlier, that just means you get rid of the annoying little triangles, not the entire stripe.
And what are those stupid white swooshes in the sleeves? Too a larger point, why can't the Thrashers do anything good with sleeves?
2007-2011: The Asymmetrical, Part 2
Since the Thrashers only had one year under the original Asymmetrical, they made the unwise decision to keep it during the switch to the Edge.
They kept everything the same, except added vertical stripes under the sleeves (again with the sleeves!) and removed the lower stripe. Increasing the blandness of an already ugly jersey.
Maybe it's because it was only in use for one year, but (other than that) I can't see why the Thrashers would keep the Asymmetrical during the transition to Edge. Did the marketing execs still think they could make money off this positively broken design?
2008-2011: The Abomination
Numbers on the front of hockey jerseys is a relatively recent thing. Some teams go minimalist, like the Sabres and the Sharks. Others go maximalist (is that even a word?), like the Stars. And still others go completely and totally wrong, like the Thrashers.
Where to begin. Okay, the font. The font (which has been used on all recent Thrashers uniforms) is atrocious. It's way over-stylized and too thin for the uniform.
The shoulder patches are not the best. Okay, they're damn near the worst in the league. Angry birds should stay on the iPhone and off of NHL shoulders.
All horribly unfunny puns aside, the patches seem too big for the jersey, and they don't look very good either. Too big plus not designed well equals a bad shoulder patch.
But, let's get to the main attraction of this jersey: the massive, football-esque numbers and the wordmark arched over them.
We all know football is more popular in Georgia than hockey. Way more popular. If the Thrashers were attempting to try and get football fans out to the arena to watch some hockey, changing your uniforms so they're some football-hockey hybrid abomination isn't the way to do that.
Plus, it makes you not only the laughingstock of the NHL, not only the laughingstock of Georgia, but the laughingstock of all American (and Canadian) sports.
I make a desperate plea to the ownership in Winnipeg. If you're trying to attract Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans out to the rink to watch some hockey, don't try to do that by making your jersey look more football-like.