Uniforms in Chicago Blackhawks History: The Search for a New Alternate
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently going through their 2011-12 schedule in their traditional red and white Indian head sweaters; the alternate sweaters based on the ones first worn in the 2009 Winter Classic and used in select games over the last two seasons have apparently been retired.
Back in August, I addressed the alternate sweater issue. My thinking was that the allure of additional revenue will eventually result in a new design (preferably some sort of throwback).
A large portion of 'Hawks fans would like to see the return of the black alternate used by the team from 1996 to 2007 and again in the 2008-09 season. Others want an instant return to the Winter Classic throwback.
The Blackhawks have sported the same basic sweater design since the 1955-56 campaign. Any talk of a throwback design has to start before then, as this is a franchise that prides itself on tradition.
Let's look at some of the options the 'Hawks could have in choosing an alternate jersey.
The renderings used come from Andrew M. Greenstein at The Hockey Uniform Database
Blackhawks Throwback, Circa 1934
The 'Hawks used this design with a white sweater in their inaugural season in 1926-27 then switched to the black sweater.
This look, again with slight changes in the socks, was in use from 1927 until Chicago won their first Stanley Cup in the above uniform in '34.
This dichromatic look would require a full uniform overhaul for full authenticity, as there was no red in the color scheme.
I'd guess putting the player names above the number would prove problematic, but this certainly would be a different look.
"Authentic" Winter Classic Throwbacks, 1935-37
This would satisfy the fans who wish the most recent alternate was still in use. It would satisfy my need not to have a uniform with so much of one color, namely black.
The pants and socks worn by the 'Hawks of that time were similar in design to the pants used the last two seasons (only they were tan in color).
The "Barber Pole" Sweater, 1948-55
From 1937 to '55, the standard Blackhawks uniform consisted of a red, black and white stripe pattern, with pants similar to the current design. Chicago won the '38 Stanley Cup in these sweaters.
The white sweater was first introduced in 1940-41, and featured only a number in front, as opposed to the crest. The design above was used from '48 until the current uniform was introduced.
I chose this version of sweater because of the shoulder yolk, which I liked, as well as the white sweater, which I thought could also make a cool alternate.
Hey, the Blues donned white alternates at home when the 'Hawks visited November 8th. Why not?
Back in Black Alternates, 1996-2008
A lot of fans yearn simply for the reintroduction of the black alternate, first used from 1996-2007. After a one-year hiatus, they came back in a Reebok Edge design for the 2008-09 season.
In the fan poll accompanying my previous article, over 35 percent of respondents were in favor of this design.
I personally would like to see an alternate sweater with a different design than just a black version of the current sweater. I like the nostalgia in one of the throwback designs, especially the circle crest, which is what I like most about the Winter Classic throwbacks.
Will the 'Hawks reintroduce a third sweater? It will be interesting to hear what other fans think on this issue.