In our new series of Power Rankings we look at who is at the top and who is at the bottom, ranked entirely based on factors that are not skill. This week we start with The Worst Jersey. So, who will top the Power Rankings?
In a large league like the NHL, it must be difficult for teams to come up with jerseys and logos that not only look appealing to the eye, but represent the team, it’s city and it’s fans. Couple that with the fact that many of these teams (almost a third) have come into the league in just the past 20 or so years, the pressure to design something fresh and exciting to appeal to a new fan base as well as compete against some classic/iconic designs must be immense. Some teams have gotten it right, some gave it their best shot and others must have had an artsy interior designer whispering in their ear something like, “Trust me, Mauve and Fuchsia are all the rage right now.”
Here is part 1 of the ranking – best to worst up to #16. You can read part 2 here.
30. Chicago Blackhawks (The Best)
The original red and black team, the Chicago Blackhawks have had an enduring look that has never been beat. Better yet, the only design I’ve seen outdo it, is the newly suggested, equally colourful (and much more politically correct) black eagle head logo. It’s the perfect look, coupled with the tomahawk shoulder patches, to bring the team into the future and should endure for many years to come! As you read farther down the list, you’ll see that I’ll call other teams out for letting their looks go stale or staying safe with the original, but if you have a design as perfect as the Blackhawks, why change it?
29. Washington Capitals
Red, white and blue is certainly a common colour scheme in the NHL, but nobody does it better than the Washington Capitals. The red is bright and pops out, the white is smart and the deep blue adds depth. The lines on the jersey are perfect and modern but maintain some of the old with the classic Capital’s logo on the front. I also love the fierce “W” shaped eagles on the shoulders – they look like the kind of emblem the robot soldiers will wear when SKYNET takes over the world.
28. San Jose Sharks
The San Jose sharks were the first expansion team I was alive to see enter the NHL and the sharks look was a huge PR win. Everyone I knew had either a shirt, hat or jacket (Starter was big at the time) and they had a ton of instant fans despite the fact they played in an arena called the Cow Palace. Today the look is just as good as it was then; the triangular shark logo has evolved to look meaner and with a touch more colour, the drab grey has been removed and a touch of gold has been added to highlight the hockey stick snack that the shark is plowing through. Heck, the shark logo is so good, the team didn’t bother coming up with something new and just doubled down on it by putting it up on the shoulders as well. And really, who doesn’t like teal?
27. Winnipeg Jets
I was in Winnipeg when the original incarnation of the Jets left town. I even went to a few “Save The Jets” rallies and watching the city lose it’s hockey club was heart wrenching. So, when it was announced that the team was coming back in 2011, the first question on everybody’s mind was “What will they look like?” of course! Unable to use the original Jets logo (the Coyotes own the rights to those) what the True North group came up with was better than the original. Dark blue with touches of white, red and silver was a tip to the old with a pinch of the new. Top that off with an homage to the Royal Canadian Airforce emblem (the RCAF HQ is located in Winnipeg) for logo and you’ve got yourself a winner!
26. Pittsburgh Penguins
Maybe I have a thing for bees, but something about black and yellow just works for me, especially when it comes to sports jerseys and Pittsburgh has the best ones. Because of this, the Penguins were the first “other” team I began to cheer for when it became apparent my Edmonton Oilers were about to enter hard times when they could no longer afford to keep their higher end players. I even made a stencil of the Penguin logo in graphic arts class to silk screen onto a shirt. I know some folks call the emblem a bit to cartoony, but trust me that thing isn’t that easy to draw. Plus, he’s pretty cute.
25. Boston Bruins
Boston tried to play around with its image back in the 90’s by removing much of the black and changing what may have seemed like an old and tired logo to that of a cuddly brown bear. Big Mistake. Sometimes you just can’t mess with a good idea and the Boston Bruins spoked B is definitely of that ilk. And you already know how I feel about black and yellow.
24. Philadelphia Flyers
Our first entry to use orange as a viable team colour. Bright orange. But orange that serves as a warning for this historically large and tough team: we’re so confident we’ll beat you senseless, we’ll let you know we’re coming from a mile away – see if you can do something about it. Also our first ‘winged’ logo, the Philadelphia P is by far one of my favourite emblems. It’s so simple but as strong as the team and the city it represents. A winning formula that’s barely been tampered with over the years. Love it.
23. LA Kings
Ironically, LA struck gold when they changed their purple and gilded jerseys to silver and black, mimicking those of their NFL neighbours The Raiders. The timing was perfect too, as the metamorphosis took place upon the arrival the league superstar Wayne Gretzky (not bitter). Although the logo on the front has gone through a few shifts and tweaks over the years, ultimately the modern look is still much the same some 25 odd years later, which speaks volumes to just how striking that change was. Plus, if we forget about that whole purple Burger King thing experiment with a while back, there’s really nothing bad to say about their look.
22. Edmonton Oilers
My boys. The Oil drop logo will forever be my favourite, but just to prove there’s no home town bias, I didn’t rank the Oilers at the top. Edmonton has tried to tweak it’s look over the years (remember those Todd Macfarlane drawn cog jerseys?) but has ultimately never really altered their original emblem. I’m also a big fan of the solid colour yokes on the shoulders and the introduction of the solid orange home jerseys last year cost me a few bucks in on-line shopping.
21. New York Islanders
Practically the same jersey as above, but they’re not the Oilers so they go down a spot. Sure there is a variant on the shades but the deep blue with orange striping and circular logo aren’t much different and I’m not sure who’s were first (hard to imagine they were designed independently). The only two real differences come in the crest where 1) NY fell into the “let’s incorporate a hockey stick into the lettering” trope and 2) the Islanders are the only team in the NHL to depict the land mass of where they play.
20. New Jersey Devils
When I was a kid (before Nintendo Game Boy) hockey cards were the only way to get a look at teams that didn’t play regularly against yours. I can remember looking over my collection of O-Pee-Chee and coveting any of those that had a Devil on it. I can’t explain it, but I’ve always like New Jersey’s look and the devil inspired N is straight up bad ass. Maybe that just says more about me than anything else and I do wish they would bring back the touch of green from those early days that they rid themselves of in the early 90’s.
19. Buffalo Sabres
Another classic look with a colouring not far removed from that of the St. Louis Blues and any logo that incorporates swords into it is pretty awesome. Not much else to say, really.
18. Anaheim Ducks
I’ve seen this jersey place both at the top and the bottom of various lists, which may make it one of the most divisive looks in the NHL. I, for one, don’t mind the black, gold and orange (I think I may have a thing for orange) palate Anaheim has used and I think the overall design is pretty slick. The only detraction? I’m not sure how I feel about the giant duck-foot D as the logo. But hey, it’s got to be an improvement on the duck-billed goalie mask on purple and green the team used to have, am I right?
17. Nashville Predators
This was a hard team to place. I’m a huge fan of the Pred’s away whites but much less so of the home you-can-see-it-from-space yellows. I also like that the team paid homage to their hometown by incorporating symbols of the local music heritage with things like guitar strings and piano keys subtly placed in various parts of the jersey. I also think that the sabre tooth cat on the front is pretty cool if not for the fact it appears to be dealing with an almost non-existent lower jaw which would make being a predator rather difficult.
16. Ottawa Senators
With a jersey not unlike the team that follows, the Senators get a few extra points for a better logo than #15. My only criticism is that the old gladiator emblem contains a little bit too much gold for my liking that makes it look a bit over the top. But what other colour would you expect for a team named after those sitting up in the nation’s capital?
Stay tuned for Part 2!