On Tuesday night, the New York Islanders donned the infamous “Fisherman” jerseys to honor their history and the time they’ve spent at Nassau Coliseum. In exactly a month, the Phoenix Coyotes will don the same jerseys they wore in their debut season – the kachina threads that became best known for looking like something Picasso would have designed. But what are the jerseys we’d most like to see make a comeback? With the advent of the Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, retro jerseys have a very clear place in today’s NHL, so it opens up the door for jersey lovers to let their minds wonder. These are the top 10 extinct jerseys that we’d like to see come back to life – even if only for a night.
10. Buffalo Sabres bring back the black Have the Buffalo Sabres had some jersey design trouble? Yes. Was the buffalo head a success? No. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see it come back. And hey, at least it's better than the "Buffaslug." During the Sabres run wearing the black and red jerseys – which was a far cry from the blue and yellow combination they wore so proudly since entering the league – they had their most success as a team, making back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals and appearing in the 1998-99 Stanley Cup Final. Much of the success was due to Dominik Hasek’s remarkable play, but if the Winter Classic comes calling, why not see what a throwback to the red and white might look like?
9. Blackhawks go retro with barber pole jerseys Messing with the Blackhawks jersey would, for some, be considered sacrilege. Known throughout sport as having some of the nicest uniforms, the Blackhawks didn’t always wear a solid red or white with crisp stripes.
From 1937 to 1955, the Blackhawks wore what one could consider barber pole threads: white and red striped jerseys on a black background with their logo contained to a circle in the middle. These made an appearance during the Blackhawks 75th anniversary season, but the team hasn’t worn them since. With yet another outdoor game coming soon, it might be time for the Blackhawks to go full retro.
8. Los Angeles Kings ‘90s black and silver When most people think Kings hockey, these are the threads they picture. Black, silver, and white, much like the current-day Kings jerseys, the ‘90s Los Angeles sweaters are reminiscent of the Wayne Gretzky years. And the jersey became infinitely more iconic when Gretzky did his on-ice running man celebration following his 802nd career goal to become the NHL’s all-time goals leader. Though Los Angeles went back to a similar look, it’s just not the same as it was back then. The Kings have brought back the Forum Blue and Gold as a third jersey, it would be nice to see them tip their hat to the first time they made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
7. Winnipeg Jets 2.0 with some 1.0 flare Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the NHL’s latest foray into Winnipeg taking the name Jets. Let history stay history, I figured. But True North Sports and Entertainment went with the old Jets moniker, but put together a brand new look for the club. The new logo is sleeker, the blue is darker, and the jersey uses very little red. However, with a Heritage Classic game slated to take place in Winnipeg in 2016-17, it might be time for the Jets to pay homage to their heritage. While there’s the chance Winnipeg goes all the way back – Winnipeg Falcons, anyone? – fans would go nuts for a take on the original Winnipeg Jets logo.
6. Nashville’s mustard jerseys Just three years after entering the league, the Predators went all out with their third jersey, entering uncharted territory and donning a mustard colored sweater. The fossilized version of the saber-tooth cat on the front of Nashville’s normal home and away sweaters was a nice touch and paid homage to the history behind the logo.
What’s best about these jerseys, though, is that they’re bold. No team has dared to go with the mustard duds since, so it would be nice to see Nashville go back to the well again. An outdoor contest of some sort may be right around the corner if Nashville keeps being so successful.
5. The Mighty Ducks are back again Like the Predators mustard color jerseys, the Mighty Ducks uniform was unique because it went with an eggplant shade as the primary color. And that was mixed with a green and white. Those aren’t exactly colors you’d pick yourself were you designing a jersey, but something about it worked. Maybe it was the threads being forced upon us through the film series, but it’s hard not to love the Mighty Ducks jerseys. Wild Wing, the Ducks mascot, still resembles the Disney created logo and even Frederik Andersen’s mask has featured the old school emblem. The Ducks are California’s best team right now and are holding the Stadium Series this season. If they go outdoors again, who wouldn’t want to see the Mighty Ducks jersey happen?
4. Avalanche pay tribute to the Nordiques We’ll preface this point by saying that this will likely never happen. Though some of the greatest players in Avalanche history suited up for the Nordiques before the Avalanche and though just about every jersey lover would shed a tear to see the baby blue threads back in the rotation, the Avalanche will likely never go full-Nordiques. What’s funny about this, though, is the Nordiques themselves were close to dropping the look. Before the team packed up and moved to Denver, there were already designs drawn up for the team to change its logo. The proposed jersey featured a husky on the front with a bar reading Nordiques across the emblem.
3. Sun rises again on Canucks retro threads Before there were the Sedin twins, there was a kid named Pavel Bure playing with a legend-to-be named Trevor Linden and they wore the best jerseys in Canucks history. Forget the orca, forget the blue and green, and definitely drop the Vancouver from above the logo.
The skate logo worn by the Canucks until 1997 is the greatest jersey Vancouver has worn in its history. What makes the entire sweater more appealing is that it features a deep orange, yellow, and black, a color scheme worn by no one else in the league. While the blue and green of the modern day Canucks is visually appealing and harkens back to the team’s earliest seasons, it’s hard to argue against bringing back the logo, and the jerseys, the Canucks wore for most of the ‘90s.
2. The Whalers live to fight one more day The only reason – literally, the only reason – why this doesn’t take the first spot is the Hurricanes will never do it. Like the Avalanche having the slimmest of chances of honoring the Nordiques, it just wouldn’t come to pass that Carolina wears Hartford jerseys. Even restyled, something just wouldn’t look right about it, so it’s probably for the best. That said, wouldn’t it be great if, were the Hurricanes to land in an outdoor game, the alumni team wore Whalers jerseys? Ron Francis taking a pass from Kevin Dineen and burying it in Hartford’s beautiful green uniform during an alumni game sure would be a sight to see.
1. Rangers bring back Lady Liberty
Of all the jerseys born out of the ‘90s, the New York Rangers alternate sweater that featured the Statue of Liberty is by far the best. The color scheme worked, it wasn’t too different than the original Rangers sweater, and they were a nice twist on a classic jersey. The blue version, seen below, perished when the NHL changed over to Reebok jerseys in 2007 and, aesthetically, it’s one of the league’s greatest losses.
The Rangers are one of the league’s most popular teams and have used their current alternate for the past four seasons. Maybe after five years with three jerseys that very closely resemble each other, they might do something drastic and bring back Lady Liberty. If they do, put me down for one.