As you may know, this blog gets a lot of inspiration from around the Interwebs, particularly a little site known as Uni Watch Blog. Paul Lukas and Phil Hecken write phenomenal articles covering all sports, and they seem to have an appreciation for the aesthetics in the game of hockey. A commenter posted an interesting thought the other day, and I've decided that it might be something I can spin for this blog. We'll get to the comment in a second, but how many people have actually given thought to how many jerseys a particular city has seen? For example, the city of Denver, Colorado saw the Avalanche wear a number of different jerseys when one considers design changes and colour changes, but what about the Rockies? They wore some distinctive sweaters as well. That's what we'll focus on today: the best singular jersey per NHL city.
Now, the comment came from a gentleman named "Beardface", and it went as follows:
"You know what would be a fun project… Coming up with a list of the best possible uniform for each team in the NFL. Use any uniform in their past and choose the best one. now, of course, you’d have teams like Carolina where you have the default, but that would be a fun project, don’t you think?"A fun project for sure, but I think it would be more interesting if we narrowed this down to NHL cities. With that knowledge, it will be far easier to include defunct teams that currently house NHL teams. Places like Denver and Minneapolis will have their former teams taken into consideration when examining those cities.
Essentially, what I'm doing is establishing an identity for that city based upon my own personal choices of what I like. There will be a few asterisks in this quick examination as well:
- WHA franchises, although not recognized in NHL history, will be recognized here.
- New York City and Long Island will be considered separate entities for the purpose of the examination. This relates back to the first asterisk in that the New York-based WHA team can and will be included in the potential choices.
- NHL teams that lasted less than one full decade without having the NHL re-establish a team in that city will not be considered. My condolences to Kansas City, Cleveland, Hamilton, and Oakland as those cities never saw the NHL return after their first short era in the National Hockey League. This also removes the majority of the WHA teams where the NHL never set up shop.
- Anaheim: Say what you want, but I liked the eggplant jersey worn from 1993-06.
- Atlanta: The Thrashers have dressed pretty poorly, so I'm going with the 1977-80 Atlanta Flames jersey featuring the player's name on the rear.
- Boston: I wasn't around for the first time they wore the sweaters, but the 1993 throwback jerseys worn by the Bruins are still one of my favorite looks of all-time.
- Buffalo: Seeing Pat Lafontaine flying down the ice with all those yellow stripes on that blue uniform that the Sabres wore from 1987-96 is a thing of beauty.
- Calgary: Despite the Atlanta Flames and Calgary Flames looking identical, I still can see Theo Fleury pumping his fists as he slides across the ice in these jerseys that they wore from 1981-94.
- Carolina (Raleigh): The red Hurricanes jersey used from 2000-07 had an awesome glitter effect in the silver. It's the only one I think of when I refer to the Hurricanes.
- Chicago: I never get tired of the Blackhawks' red jerseys, but the jerseys worn from 1996-99 with the smaller, even hem stripes is a thing of beauty.
- Colorado (Denver): The darker colours used by Starter from 1996-99 on the Avalanche jerseys is how I'll always remember them.
- Columbus: I actually really like their current dark blue home uniforms. Classy and simple.
- Dallas: Dallas always will be the star-patterned jersey that they used from 1998-2003. It just makes sense.
- Detroit: The Big Red Machine always sticks out in my mind, but the 1986-2007 red jerseys were the symbol of hockey perfection.
- Edmonton: Despite all the history they have in blue-and-orange and blue-and-copper, it's actually the Todd McFarlane-designed alternate jersey that they wore from 2001-07 that I really like. It was noticeable on the ice.
- Florida (Miami): I really liked the red jerseys worn from 1998-2003. The vertically-arched name on the back and the deep red colour make this their best jersey to date.
- Hartford: I'm gonna get slagged for this one, but the dark blue Whalers jersey worn from 1992-97 is still my favorite.
- Los Angeles: The Wayne Gretzky era still ranks highly for me, so the 1992-95 silver-and-black jersey is my personal favorite.
- Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul): No disrespect to the Wild's green jersey, but the North Stars' jersey worn from 1992-95 is still my favorite from that city. The stars down the side of the pants only make it even better.
- Montreal: I grew up seeing the 1984-97 Habs jersey everyday, so it's been burned into my mind.
- Nashville: The more I examined the legacy of the Predators, the more I realized that I didn't really like any of their designs due to some basic design stupidity. Letters that cross stripes and apron strings make it hard to appreciate how their jerseys look because it's such an eyesore. However, the white jerseys worn from 2005-07 without the captaincy designations are probably their best to date.
- New Jersey (Newark/East Rutherford): Merry Christmas! The green-and-red jerseys from 1982-92 are how the Devils should look all the time.
- New York (Long Island): I know you're all probably thinking that I'd choose this jersey, but I'm not. The 1978-84 road jersey represented the best times on the Island. I'm going with that one.
- New York (NYC): As much as I wanted to choose the patriotic stars-and-stripes of the Brooklyn Americans, the home jersey worn from 1990-96 is entirely NYC. Winning the Stanley Cup in 1994 at MSG also helps burn that image into one's mind.
- Ottawa: Senators fans probably won't agree with me, but sweaters worn in 1930-31 with the "O" in the middle were simply awesome. Thick stripes look so much better than thin stripes on a jersey.
- Philadelphia: The little nuances of the 1984-97 road jersey make the Flyers look so much better. The little sleeve stripe, the small hem stripe, and the gigantic area of orange with the logo in the middle make this my favorite look for the big, bad Flyers.
- Phoenix: Don't get me wrong in that I'm not saying I don't like the current red brick jerseys. I do. They're simple and classy. The problem is that I watched the Coyotes move into the desert with their southwest motif jerseys, so the 1997-2003 home jersey is what I remember best.
- Pittsburgh: Two Stanley Cups and one of the most dominant teams of the early-1990s says "no contest" for the 1988-92 road jersey.
- Quebec (Quebec City): Nothing is finer than the 1991-95 road jersey of the Nordiques. Simply one of the best looks of all-time.
- St. Louis: The darker blue on the road jerseys worn from 1992-94 is still my favorite look for the St. Louis Blues. I almost went with the St. Louis Eagles here, but the Blues still do have that very iconic look.
- San Jose: When the Sharks broke into the league, they were all about the teal. They essentially captured one colour, and used it to sell hundreds of thousands of jerseys. Why mess with a good thing? I still love the 1991-97 road jerseys.
- Tampa: The 1993-94 home jerseys are still my favorite due to what's on the back. The italicized font was ahead of its time, and really gave Tampa Bay something unique. If only for one season.
- Toronto: There is so much good about the blue road uniforms worn from 1992-97. The old-time Leafs shoulder logo, the throwback striping, and that vivid blue-and-white make this the jersey I refer to when thinking about the Leafs.
- Vancouver: Vancouver hasn't been the same to me since they abandoned their original colour scheme. The old logo and yellow-and-red on the black road uniforms used from 1992-95 looked really sharp.
- Washington: We're going to forget that period where the Capitals lost their minds and went away from the red-white-and-blue. The jerseys used from 1987-95 had so much right with them.
- Winnipeg: When the Jets moved away from John Ferguson's New York Ranger-esque design, they instantly became a better looking team. From 1990-96, the blue Jets jerseys were the standard for all things related to the NHL in Winnipeg.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!