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Reverse Retro: Refreshing Rehash

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I’m just as surprised as you are.

Hello friends!

Time to play everyone’s favorite game!

Unsurprisingly Biased Opinions About Hockey Jersey Designs!

The fodder for this edition? The Adidas Reverse Retro campaign. After teases, design accent drops, and a short video that caused everyone to wonder what the heck their color scheme was going to be, the whole league has been unveiled. Wow! Such photos! Much discourse! We’ve all had some time to process these creations, so the regular thing to do now is a simple ranking of the new sweaters, right? Not so! Other hockey luminaries have already done that! Thusly, in order to make this interesting, I decided to do things a little different. Rather than a straight list, I’ve instead split the league into 3 categories: GOALS, OFF THE POST, and DANCING ON THE LINE. Two of those are self-explanatory whereas I’ll explain the third category when we get there. In the meantime, we begin with...

GOALS!

Well, paint me blue and call me Tobias! I’m pleasantly surprised with how many sweaters turned out...cool! Now, my version/definition/requirements of cool will obviously differ from most, but to that I say be better at what you think is cool, you’re bringing the rest of us down, man. :-P

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

The Vegas Golden Knights: We’re betting it all on Red.
NHL.com

The Sin City Skaters are entering year 4 with not just one but TWO new alternates, the other being a super gold sweater that makes my eyes melt, as if Michael Ironside is in the room staring daggers at me. Speaking of daggers, remember when a certain individual representing a certain flower sharing a hall of fame weird photoshop of a giant sword piercing said flower? Fun times! My personal theory is the Knights saw that and called Adidas up, Marvin Berry style, to explain what they were looking for. This is not only a solid alternate; I will go even further to say I like this logo more than the helmet. You get the knights AND Vegas visual flair that speaks more to the city. Big fan, big money, winner winner, chicken dinner.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

The San Jose Sharks: Fixing what we broke because we thought we needed to fix it.
NHL.com

Yeah, they did some jerk stuff to the Wings in the 90’s but dammit, this logo just perfect. Even with my colorblindness making it hard to distinguish the gray/teal, this is just a killer kit. I enjoy the sleeve stripe layout, it’s clean all around, and it delivers on what I believe the RR campaign is trying to achieve. The OG design reminded me that it has that “It should be a minor league logo, but here it is, playing with the big guys” quality. I’m actually contemplating getting one of these with Jonathan Cheechoo’s name and number. He’s the only Shark I ever liked. *stares off into the distance*

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

The Pittsburgh Penguins: Remember Mario? Jagr? We do, too. Just wanted to check.
NHL.com

Another solid remix of a nostalgic classic. I think of this logo layout and say, “Pittsburgh has too many letters, how do they fit?” and am happy each time to see all the letters fit. A straight-forward color inversion, with some sleeve stripe angling. I’m also glad they’ve stuck with the solid color scheme instead of the gold/silver texture. The yellow, black, and white should stay forever, not just for the Mario/Jagr tales, but the tie in to Batman Returns. Not the biggest overhaul of a concept but as I’ll get to later, even the smallest choices make the biggest difference.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

The Philadelphia Flyers: Not sure about THIS orange/black/white combo? Well, have you considered THIS orange/black/white combo?
NHL.com

Nothing crazy here, just a simple rearranging/re-application of the stripes and curves. It’s pretty incredible how you can move the same stuff around and it feels new? Even weirder? The Flyers seem to be the only team that does this well? Philly, man. An awe-inspiring manifestation of some sage Mr. Miyagi wisdom: Different...But Same.

OTTAWA SENATORS

The Ottawa Senators: We Got One!
NHL.com

This is just a fun jersey, one that employs addition by subtraction. Not only do the Sens revive a great logo, but they pair it with a well-executed and simplified color bar layout. Angles? No way, bahd. Garish design accents? Take off! For a team that seems to still step on rakes, it’s nice to see them get a win, albeit one that in no way improves the team as a whole. But hey, maybe looks CAN be everything with this team. (This claim is disputed.)

MONTREAL CANADIENS

The Montreal Canadiens: Edit>Image>Invert
NHL.com

This one is honestly maddening. A team that terrorized the league to the tune of 24 cups, with more than a few of those from an era where they basically strong armed anyone to get top talent onto the team, has no right to have their colors flipped and still look cool. Think of the flags for Norway and Iceland: same colors but, when flipped, mean different things. The Habs don’t deserve this nice kit but it exists and I like it and I hate everything. *runs away*

LOS ANGELES KINGS

The Los Angeles Kings: No, WE decided to use these colors, not the Lakers.
NHL.com

I rather enjoy this look! No nonsense execution of replacing a Gretzky era jersey’s colors with the 1967 scheme. I remember when I saw an OOOOOLD pic of Larry Murphy in these colors and thinking, “Wow, what minor league club was this for?” and then blinking several hundred times trying to process that those LA Kings were the same as the current LA Kings. For some reason, it just didn’t compute. So, to see these two eras meet, especially without one of my hated design choices, the city name on your bottom stripe? Very pleased.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Colorado Avalanche: We get to be Quebec without being IN Quebec.
NHL.com

I despise this team with every fiber of my being so to the shock of no one, I’ll be brief. Just a beauty of a jersey for a team that doesn’t deserve it. I will say though, I like these colors on the Nordiques design more, they somehow make the logo look that much cleaner. I was surprised it had taken them this long to do it...but then I remembered that they took forever to pull Roy in ‘02 so hey, better late than never.

CAROLINA HURRICANES

The Carolina Hurricanes: The Hannibal Lecters of the NHL.
NHL.com

Once more, the Canes parade around the town square wearing the corpse of a fallen friend. This sweater is sharp as hell and damn Carolina for doing this. A Gordie Howe version of this seems destined to join my collection, as well as others. One thing I’ve really enjoyed since Adidas took over? The collar. Actual knit sweater like construction, while offering multiple sections that allow for sweet color combinations. This is a damn fine look.

CALGARY FLAMES

The Calgary Flames: Fire Breathing Horses? YOU BETCHA!
NHL.com

This is a selfish pick because gosh darn it, I just really like this horse. It’s got a Jokerit from the Finnish SM-liiga feel and I’m glad is being used here. While I wish they went with the classic super bright red as the base, the black works just great. I still scratch my head as to why they choose to mimic the old Canucks color scheme with this but a fire breathing horse makes use of this color combo better than a skate with motion blur lines. A worthy resurrection!

BOSTON BRUINS

The Boston Bruins: We Put The Crazy Bear On Our Shoulder.
NHL.com

Oh good, another team I despise gets a sweet sweater they don’t deserve. While this is cool, I’ll forever laugh at the Bruins for being COWARDS for not embracing this beautiful creature more:

F*** YO COUCH!
NHL.com

I would 100% buy a Ray Bourque version of this kit if this bear was the main logo. Thankfully, that’s money that will be staying in my pocket for the time being.

ARIZONA COYOTES

The Arizona Coyotes: Just When I Thought...You Couldn’t Be Even More Hapless...You Go And Do Something Like This...
NHL.com

The return to the Kachina has been long overdue. Arizona! The state composed of people who, in defiance of god and the universe, live in triple digit temps as a monument to the folly of man, found a way to not only wake up and flip the state in the 2020 election but also bring back this beloved logo and give it a killer makeover. I want a hoodie of this. I want a t-shirt of this. I want a hat of this. Congratulations, money making ploy! You win again!

ANAHEIM DUCKS

The Anaheim Ducks: You Bet Your Webbed Feet We Brought This Back!
NHL.com

Every time I go to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, I make sure to spend some time at one display in particular. It’s a collection of discontinued, historically unique, and game used jerseys from all across the NHL. This beauty is one of them! To see it come out of the HHOF and get some modern tuning up is quite great. We are all dust in space but guess what? We’re all alive and occupying the earth at the same time as this glorious jersey. Too weird to live, too unique to die. Just the way we like our hockey unis.

Next up...

OFF THE POST!

It’s no secret I’ve always been pretty critical of what teams have done for jersey campaigns. So, when I say I’m surprised at how few straight up duds there are, please know it’s a big deal for me. I usually keep expectations low for these rollouts and it’s refreshing to see the good outweigh the bad. Onward to the crud!

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

The Washington Capitals: At Least We Have A Cup Now.
NHL.com

Low effort color remix, combined with the dreaded name on the bottom stripe? Yawn. This is one team that I wish would lean into the architecture of D.C. government buildings more to have some fun. The scale of the “C” is jarring, too! Just bleh.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

The Vancouver Canucks: The Reveal Is Tomorrow???
NHL.com

The Arizona Diamondbacks tried to employ color gradients in one of the 5 million alternate jerseys they unveiled a couple years ago. It looked like players waded through a swamp in full uniform and then walked onto the field to play ball. Gradients don’t belong on jerseys. Sadly, the Canucks did not receive this info until me, just now, saying it. You have a jersey history with genuine variety! HAVE FUN AND USE IT!

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

The New York Islanders: Yeah Yeah, We Should’ve Brought The Fisherman Back.
NHL.com

The Isles unveiling a jersey they already wear was certainly a choice! X-D We all know the fisherman was what everyone wanted but it appears Adidas said, “Only one crazy abomination jersey can come back in this round and Anaheim had dibs.”

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

The New Jersey Devils: One Ticket To Brown Town, Please.
NHL.com

Never understood this jersey. It looks like a color scheme that happens when your kid messed with the color knobs on the TV. This is made even worse due to my color blindness because I can’t make out which is what color. In a way, maybe this is my own personal hell? The Devils being ACTUAL Devils to me? The hell did I do to them? Jerks!

FLORIDA PANTHERS

The Florida Panthers: Still A Team!
NHL.com

Just like the Isles, picking a jersey from your past with basically no changes is just peak laziness. Florida is a different reality unto itself, I’m struggling with how out of everything bat doodoo is in that state, a hockey team can find a way to be mediocre. There’s a better jersey design out there for these cats, maybe it’s time to see what those bath salts are all about? Surely, nothing bad will happen!

Congrats! We’ve reached the end of the norms for a post like this. Where to next?

DANCING ON THE LINE!

We’ve seen the good. We’ve seen the bad. Now let’s go to where the fun begins. What follows are this writer’s wholly successful and in no way time consuming fixes to the in-betweener jerseys from this Reverse Retro campaign. These are the sweaters that, like Patrik Stefan, had an open net but just couldn’t finish. To remedy this, I’ve swooped in to tuck the biscuit into the basket.

WINNIPEG JETS

The Winnipeg Jets: MAAAAAVERIIIIIICK!
NHL.com

The design, logo, and striping arrangement? Perf.

The color scheme? Hell nah.

This is the type of grey that makes it look like you just climbed out of the pool after being pushed in while wearing your fave heather grey Bayside High School hoodie. Instead of looking perpetually water or sweat drenched, let’s actually use the CORRECT color scheme of your forebears!

*Waves Magic Wand*

USE. YOUR. HISTORY.
JWT / NHL.com

My work here (on this one) is done! You’re welcome, Jets fans.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

The Toronto Maple Leafs: (Insert Well Deserved Jab Here)
NHL.com

Nothing really wrong with this other than the logo. For a storied franchise like the Leafs, (and the other Original 6 teams for that matter) I wanted to see more use of actual REMIXING using the team’s entire history, not just Re-Color/Re-Arrange some latter half of the century looks. The fix?

*Waves Magic Wand Once More*

Begrudging Approval Status: ACHIEVED
JWT / NHL.com

Blue on blue with just a single white border is too much in the fragile eyes of this designer SO! After digging into the Leafs logo catalog, this one felt better for the intended purpose of this jersey rollout. You’re (gags) welcome, Leafs fans.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

The Tampa Bay Lightning: One Wiener Shaped State, 2 Cups.
NHL.com

I like what they did with adding the current color scheme to the ‘04 uni, but I would’ve done some more work on the logo. Luckily, most of that work was actually already done, they just did the dopey thing by making it a shoulder patch instead of the main logo.

*Waves Magic Wand A Third Time*

Less Is More!
JWT / NHL.com

Cleaner! Portrays a mix of the past and present logos! SYNERGY! Now that wasn’t such a chore, now was it? You’re welcome, Lightning fans.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

The St. Louis Blues: Now, With MORE RED.
NHL.com

I never had a problem with this jersey except the logo. I think the soft edges is what made people assign the clown moniker to it and honestly, of all the ways to be called a clown, you’d think was the most preferable.

*Waves Magic Wand For, You Guessed It, A Fourth Time*

Sharps Edges! Like Skates! Get It??
JWT / NHL.com

Instead of putting an old logo on this delightful eye sore, just add the city name (a forever baffling decision in the first place) to the better version of your now Stanley Cup winning logo! And bump that scaling up a little! Muuuuuch better. You’re welcome, Blues fans.

NEW YORK RANGERS

The New York Rangers: A Mediocre Franchise Benefitting From Being Located In New York? Surely, You Jest!
NHL.com

This one puzzles me because it’s like they only did half a remix on purpose. I mean, yeah, make the Lady Liberty design fit the current jersey construction, but WHERE’S the REMIX? Especially when the fix something they did to a few of the other jersey designs.

*Waves Magic Wand With Feeling*

USE YOUR GOOD COLORS, PLZ.
JWT / NHL.com

I love the heck out of this logo and always wanted to see it with the trademark Blueshirt Blue. This should’ve been a no brainer for those in charge but, as has already been demonstrated, *Jim Morrison Voice* people are strange. Lafreniere would fly as helllll in this setup. You’re Welcome, Rangers fans.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

The Nashville Predators: Hall Of Good
NHL.com

This one actually made me mad. Even weirder? This is the second time the Preds have made me mad in this way. Why? Let’s wind the clock back 50 years to January 1st, 2020. In the heart of Texas, the Stars and Predators took it outside with their Winter Classic match. The main design for Nashville was a throwback to the Nashville Dixie Flyers, a minor league team that played in the 60’s. It was a pretty neat look that I was ok with...until they revealed the secondary logo. The secondary logo was a breathtakingly cooler re-design of the Predator head. I understand pursuing a vision and sticking to it, but if in the course of that pursuit you come across/create something that is just as if not cooler than what you we’re looking for? I mean, YA GOTTA TAKE THE LEAP. With that in mind, not one but TWO fixes emerged that would make this remix dope af.

*Waves Magic Wand In A Demonstrably Southern Way*

YES.
JWT / NHL.com

Boy oh BOY, does this logo look incredible, or what!? It’s RIGHT THERE, you guys! But wait, there’s MORE!

OH GOD, YES.
JWT / NHL.com

*Vince McMahon Falling Over Dot Gif*

I really can’t decide on which one is better. Maybe leaning towards this one because this SWOLE FELLOW ain’t messing around? In short: When you’ve made a better logo, for the greater good of every human, USE IT. You’re welcome, Predators fans.

MINNESOTA WILD

The Minnesota Wild: Tapping Into A Past That Isn’t Theirs. Sound Familiar?
NHL.com

What would the Blues logo look like in Sharks teal and black? What would the Bespoke B look like in Rangers blue and white? What would the Avalanche logo look like in Detroit Red and White? These are the questions the Wild sought to answer and did. The answer? Not great, Bob. Now, my fix for this is likely to cause some flack but let’s be real, why not go to 11 on the amp when stealing from another team’s history? Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu!

*Waves Magic Wand Like A Comb That Was Used To Eat A Salad*

BIZARRO SUCCESS!
JWT / NHL.com

I love, love, LOVE how this turned out! Just LEAN into the stealing, Minnesota. Make it your own. Order in some fancy takeout for the stealing because dining out during a pandemic is extremely bad. If the Canes can wear Hartford unis, you can sure as hell one up them with this. I would also like to visit the alternate dimension where this happened organically and not because I’m upset that the Wild were lazy. You’re welcome, Wild fans.

EDMONTON OILERS

The Edmonton Oilers: And I Stiiiiiiill Haven’t Fouuuuund...What I’m Looking Forrrrrr
NHL.com

I wasn’t sure if this was actually good or needing fixing because the Oiler’s unis have been pretty solid in recent years. However, I read Wyshynski’s Ranking Article and remembered just the thing to fix to this.

*Waves Magic Wand Like Todd McFarlane Waves A Pencil*

Re! Re! REMIX!
JWT / NHL.com

Where the Wild failed, the Oilers would have succeeded! Use your own color scheme history! This was mostly done to placate Wyshynski, but I cannot lie and say I wasn’t a fan of this crest before this design rehashing. A hat with this logo was my very first purchase with my own damn money during one of the several trips I’ve made to the HHOF. I’m deeply in love with this look and am wishing hard for it to be made material. You’re welcome, Wysh. Oh, and you, too, Oilers fans, I guess.

The Dallas Stars: Ooooooh, I’m Blinded By The Whiiiiite
NHL.com

At first, I was just gonna consign this one to the OFF THE POST category because the white is A LOT and the stitching style for the main patch just looks blargh. But! I felt like I should at least try to make a pass at this as a challenge to myself. PLUS! The Stars recently came up with a pretty solid Winter Classic logo so, why not?

*Wave Magic Wand Like A Lasso Because Texas*

Hey, at least I TRIED to do something nice
JWT / NHL.com

I’ve always been fond of the first iteration of the Stars crest because me likey the use of shapes/negative space in sports logos. Using the top point of a star to be the “A” in “STARS” felt like witchcraft when I first saw it. SO! I brought it and the font back to replace the middle of the 2020 Dallas Winter Classic logo. You’re welcome, Stars fa— *becomes blind from looking at the jersey in daylight*

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

The Columbus Blue Jackets: Too Good For Their Own Good.
NHL.com

Ok. This one isn’t really a fix, so much as it is a straight up observation since I didn’t know what to do. I saw this and it felt really familiar, like “watching a kid hoverboard around the town square” level familiar. Then, I realized....

IT WAS YOU! ALL ALONG!
JWT / NHL.com

*rips off mask*

WHOA! It’s old man Withers from the abandoned amusement park!

You’re welcome, Jack-itals fans.

BUFFALO SABRES

The Buffalo Sabres: Always A Bridesmaid
NHL.com

As stated previously in this article, I abhor the “name on bottom stripe.” However, everything else about this jersey is fire so you can imagine this was an easy one. And guess what! It was!

*Waves Magic Wand Like A Sabre Sword*

*Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer Starts Playing As You Walk Down The Steps Wearing This*
JWT / NHL.com

One word: Beauty. If only Hasek, Briere, Drury, Miller, The French Connection, and all-time Sabres great Ville Leino could’ve had the chance to don this jersey. (LEINO REFERENCE! DRINK!)

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

You, or anyone for that matter, don’t need to see the before photo for this because you already know the problem. Even the NHL and Hawks tried to be sneaky by being the ONLY team whose first photo reveal was of the BACK of the jersey. The team continues to be inactive on this issue, save for a ban on Indian headdresses being worn in the arena. You’d think that this campaign was the best time (other than before right now/decades ago) for the Blackhawks to start towards a brand re-design. They not only decided to NOT do that, they also chose to use an older but no less racist version of the logo. What does this mean? It means it’s time for the Hawks to have a new logo. I came up with a couple of designs that kept the iconic feather design but nothing else. Yep, this is a Detroit Red Wings site and I’m using the platform to try out new designs for a long-time rival team. Why? I’d like this rivalry to be racism free and you have to start somewhere. I know, tall order, given that this sport has been due for a reckoning in this regard for over a century. Baby steps are still steps and until people with bigger platforms and voices can foster MEANINGFUL change, I’ll continue to use my weird design skillset to keep the conversation going.

With that, let’s take a look. *Waves Magic Wand With Flitwick Precision*

Let’s Try Something New.
JWT / NHL.com
Look, Another New Thing!
JWT / NHL.com

I really like the jersey color and striping setup so only the logo needed to be tossed. I’m rather pleased with how these look and hope y’all get some amount of satisfaction knowing that Blackhawks jerseys can WORK GREAT without a racist logo on them. If you’re an employee of the Blackhawks organization and you’re reading this, please know my rates are competitive and I eagerly await your correspondence. You’re welcome, Blackhawks fans. Also, speak up, will ya?

AND FINALLY...

DETROIT RED WINGS

The Detroit Red Wings: We Have No Strong Feelings One Way Or The Other *roaring applause*
NHL.com

When you discover the perfect design and scheme early on in your existence, it will always be scary to tempt the fates and try something new. This jersey is the result of said fear. If the Reverse Retro collection was the news anchor community from San Diego, the Wings are the Wes Mantooth anchor entourage. Even the guy who can’t think says something and all they do is just...stand there. Nearly every other team went into the fun zone in some fashion to try something different and it appears that the Wings didn’t see the appeal in that. I mean, why would they? They’ve stuck with what’s been an iconic look and have very rarely strayed away from that success. In many respects, that decision is beyond reproach.... but not all. Succumbing to metathesiophobia too many times is no way to operate a franchise. This is one area where peer pressure might be good! It worked for hiring a new GM, why not this? I mean, sure, that happened 8 years too late but still! It worked! X-P

So, once more, I shout into the ether: it is time for Detroit to spread their wings farther (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m trying to delete it) in the jersey design department. The Red Wings have abstained, courteously, from taking their “wing nut” hats off and putting their creativity caps on for far too long. And if they won’t do it, I have no problem answering that call. Fans of the show will recall this sentiment from my Red And White Sweaters article. In a weird way, I have to thank the Wings for choosing vanilla because that meant I had something to channel my pent up “Sports and Graphic Design: Why Do People Do The Bad Thing? rant” energy into. Let’s take a look...

“Dude, You Coming Over?” “Who’s All There?”
JWT / NHL.com

It was reported that the gray on the bottom stripe and sleeves was tribute to the Detroit Centennial jersey. Why they chose just straight up gray, over the actual silver that was used, is beyond me. That meant the first fix was to put our team red back into those areas. Porting over the standard AWAY Winged Wheel felt pretty darn lazy so that was the second fix to address. The Winter Classic at The Big House gave the Wings a great old-timey iteration of the wheel, so why not re-purpose? I’m happy with how this turned out and I’m curious about the level of ire or approval this will generate. Discourse! Nothing bad ever happens during...Discourse!

CONCLUSION!

The “Remix” part of this Reverse Retro endeavor was the most attractive for myself and it’s a bummer how Detroit and others chose to lean more into just sampling, rather than collaborating with, different jersey setups. Thankfully, more teams embraced this theme than rejected it and we have some truly colorful and cool looks to spend more of our hard-earned dollars on. Oh, seeing them on the ice should be fun, too! Thank you for indulging this resident jersey-phile by putting your eyeballs on things I made with a computer and a sort of misplaced sense of determination. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Stay home for Thanksgiving. Let’s. Go. Wings.