Since the 1999-00 NHL regular season, hockey fans have witnessed almost all of the league’s teams unveil a few different sweater designs, new logos and maybe even new color schemes, too. The NHL and its’ clubs have both gone through their ups and downs when trying to please the fans by designing a new concept for a hockey jersey; and whether that be of an alternate jersey or not.
There are less than a handful of clubs that have only made slight modifications to their jerseys since 2000, but then there are other teams and NHL fan-bases that don’t have to think twice about which sweater will go down as the worst in a team’s history. Since that time, it’s evident that some teams used similar jersey templates that typically all panned out to be failures.
On the other hand, a few clubs perhaps tried too hard to be innovative when unveiling alternate sweaters over the past decade-and-a-half, too. While we all hope to learn from our mistakes, some teams will never learn in relation to designing an NHL sweater.
And, this article will explore the evolution for all of the current NHL team’s jerseys, and since the 2000 regular season. Here is every NHL team’s worst jersey since 2000.
Anaheim Ducks – 1997-2000 White Alternate Jersey
There’s no arguing that the original Mighty Ducks of Anaheim duck masked logo is one of the most popular and iconic sports logos of all time, but the club did follow through with a mistake entailing the masked duck while introducing an alternate jersey during the late 1990s.
The Ducks introduced two versions of an alternate sweater in 1997-98, which were manufactured by Nike, and Anaheim was one of the first NHL teams to do so. While that was a unique characteristic for an NHL team at the time, the jerseys still go down as Anaheim’s worst sweater(s) since the year 2000. The tri-colored piping that runs from one sleeve’s cuff to the other doesn’t have a professional appearance, and it looked like the Ducks were trying to innovate a new “Philadelphia Flyers’ look.”
Also, the sweaters always reminded this hockey jersey enthusiast of the “fashion styled jerseys” that the sports company Starter would manufacture and sell at a K-Mart. However, the green alternate has the edge, because it has more of an alternate feel then the standard white sweater.
Arizona Coyotes – 2007-2014 White Road Jersey
Most dedicated NHL fans can recall when the (then) Phoenix Coyotes donned a hockey sweater like no other club had worn before. The jersey from the 1990s that combined both traditional and unique designs, which was later retired before the start of the 2002-03 regular season. Since that time, the Arizona Coyotes have unveiled three different home/away uniform sets.
The most recent retired set would go down as the Coyotes worst jersey since the year 2000, particularly Arizona’s white road sweaters. The updated logo with the Coyote head is a solid jersey crest, but eliminating the stripes at the bottom of the sweater to leave it left blank, and adding in the maroon shoulder piping was a mistake. The jersey looks unfinished, and a team such as the Coyotes should stay away from traditional hockey jersey designs that teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs or Detroit Red Wings are known for.
Boston Bruins – 1995-2006 Yellow Alternate Jersey
When you picture an Original Six franchise and one such as the Boston Bruins taking the ice, you think – tradition. Sure, the Bruins have had a number of logos and jersey designs since the club’s inception in 1924, but one sweater’s design went against the grain for the B’s.
The Bruins were one of a handful of NHL teams who introduced a unique alternate jersey design during the mid-1990s, and Boston was one of the few clubs that continued to wear the third jersey past the year 2000. The yellow alternate that’s seen above was immediately labeled as the “Winnie-the-Pooh” jersey, and still receives mixed reactions from Bruins fans, to date. Then, a yellow alternate jersey didn’t sound like a bad idea; but the overall result portrayed that of a minor league team’s appearance…no?
Buffalo Sabres – 2006-2010 Home Jersey
What were they thinking?
That same thought goes through, probably, just about every sports fan’s head when they look at the Buffalo Sabres home/away set of jerseys that the club wore for five seasons. Buffalo even had a nice track record in relation to its hockey jerseys heading into 2006, and then these “Pokemon” esque or “Buffalo Slug” sweaters took to the ice.
Not only is the logo one of the worst logos in NHL history, the jersey’s overall design was too extreme. Futuristic appearances and hockey jerseys don’t go hand-in-hand with one another, and that’s what Buffalo tried re-establishing after unveiling this big mistake. Thankfully, the club has referred back to its original roots and jersey design from the 1970s, but with some minor modifications. This jersey design always reminded me of what a professional roller hockey team’s uniform would entail, right?
Calgary Flames – 2007 – Present Road
Yes, believe it or not, but the Calgary Flames’ worst jersey since 2000 is not the “Flaming Horse” black alternate; nor one of the uniforms that were introduced during 1990s. Instead, it’s the Flames current road jersey, which Calgary began wearing during the 2007-08 regular season.
Fans have Reebok and its Reebok Edge Series jerseys to thank for this one. The company unveiled a new series of jerseys during the 2007-08 season, and tarnished a number of club’s sweaters and brand. Calgary is one of the few teams that has remained loyal to the non-traditional hockey/Futbol esque design. A Canadian club such as the Flames should just revert back to the the team’s overall appearance from 1980s; as Calgary’s current alternate is a remake of the 80s dark sweater. The white makes this list, because the red used on the home jersey does stand out in a positive way, especially in Calgary with the sea of red cheering on its beloved Flames.
Carolina Hurricanes – 2013-Present Home Jersey
If the Toronto Maple Leafs had a minor league affiliate and one whose colors were red and white, then this Carolina Hurricanes jersey would fit the part. Sure, there are probably plenty of NHL fans who may appreciate the Hurricanes’ most recent re-design of the club’s uniforms (introduced in 2013), but I beg to differ and here’s why.
A franchise such as Carolina should stand out in a unique way, and that starts with its uniforms. The clean and classic appearance that the Hurricanes were aiming for naturally looks off with this sweater. The candy cane resemblance doesn’t help this uniform’s status in comparison to not only other NHL sweaters, but Carolina’s past jerseys too. At least the prior uniforms with the Aztec squares had more character…
Chicago Blackhawks – 2015-16 Stadium Series
There’s not much to critique in relation to the Chicago Blackhawks sweaters over the years, especially since the year 2000. But, the club has played in a few outdoor games giving us some leeway. Chicago wore a sweater last season, at the 2016 Coors Light Stadium Series game vs. the Minnesota Wild, that strayed away from the club’s notorious uniform appearance.
Let’s look at it this way, if you were to remove the Blackhawks center crest, and alternate logos located on the shoulders, from all of the team’s past uniforms — one could probably guess that the overall design belongs to the Hawks. If you did the same experiment with this specific Stadium Series uniform, then I think the results would be scattered on guessing which team the sweater would belong to. Plus, Chicago lost miserably to its Central Division rivals, the Wild, while donning these.
Colorado Avalanche – Present Home
In 1996, when the Colorado Avalanche relocated from Quebec (the Nordiques) the franchise had big shoes to fill and especially in the uniform department. The Avs met expectations by introducing an exceptional logo and a “one and only” design that this specific club could pull off. In fact, the Avalanche even hoisted two Stanley Cups while donning Colorado’s original sweaters.
Yet, the Avs’ jerseys were corrupted when the Reebok Edge Series was introduced during the 2007-08 campaign. The triangular patterns, which represented mountains, that were originally displayed on the base of Colorado’s uniforms were erased in 2007-08, and the Avs’ blue was then filled in under the arms of the sweaters. Additionally, the two stripes that begin at the “NHL” logo in the collar area that run down the sides of the uniform ruin what an NHL hockey sweater should entail.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Inaugural Road Jersey
The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of two expansion franchises that were introduced during the 2000-01 NHL regular season, and the club’s inaugural logo left fans across North America a bit confused. The Jackets’ uniforms designs weren’t terrible, but let’s face it — the logo killed any good vibes both the home and away sweaters entailed.
The connected “C” and “B” logo with the hockey stick running through the middle of the two letters, which represents a “J,” was confusing to say at the least. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if a majority of fans still didn’t realize that the logo aimed to present “CBJ” on the sweaters. Luckily, the jerseys were retired and the Blue Jackets were one of the few teams who were saved by the Reebok Edge Series in 2007-08.
Dallas Stars – 2003-2006 Alternate Jersey
Yes, you guessed it.
The worst jersey the Dallas Stars have worn since 2000 should not come as a surprise, at all. In 2003-04, the Stars unveiled a black alternate jersey, which wasn’t a bad idea. But to have a constellation of stars align to form a Taurus’ head and that has some sort of shooting star soaring around the right horn of the Taurus head was just horrible.
Adding red to the sweater was a mistake, as the Stars, nor the North Stars, had ever donned red before. Unfortunately, the jersey’s logo was poked at for resembling a “uterus,” too. Aside from the red being added and the logo, the design betrayed what type of organization the Stars were at the time — which was first class. “Minor league,” or “roller hockey” esque — however which way you want to look at it, this could go down as the worst jersey in NHL history.
Detroit Red Wings – 2015-16 Stadium Series Jersey
Similar to the Detroit Red Wings’ long time rival and Original Six opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks, the only jersey one can critique for either would be for a Stadium Series or Winter Classic sweater. And, for the Red Wings, the club’s 2015-16 Coors Light Stadium Series jersey is the worst that the club has worn since the 2000 campaign.
While the Stadium Series usually strays away from having its teams wear classic esque hockey sweaters, most could probably agree on the fact that the Wings’ outdoor jerseys from last season were somewhat disappointing in comparison to the club’s previous special event uniforms. The diagonal line across the front of the sweater was a questionable move, and this hockey jersey enthusiast thought that the club should have worn a more classical looking sweater. After all, we are talking about the Detroit Red Wings…
Edmonton Oilers – 2007-10 Home Jersey
Yes, the Edmonton Oilers alternate sweater that was unveiled during the 2001-02 regular season was both random and bad, but the Oilers were yet another team plagued by the original Reebok Edge Series in 2007.
While the Oilers switched over from their classic royal blue and orange colors, to navy and copper in the late 1990s, the jerseys still had a respectable appearance; unlike the jerseys Edmonton wore from 2007 until 2010. For starters, why stripes were added on the bottom half of the sweaters sleeves (in the middle) is beyond me. And, I cannot reiterate enough on the fact that not a single NHL team should have the piping that begins at the collar of the jersey and ends at the uniform’s base on the front side. Thankfully, the Oilers went back to their grass roots in 2011 with the club’s jersey design from the 1970s and 80s.
Florida Panthers – 2009-2012 Alternate Jersey
Whether you’re Florida Panthers fan or not, most have been unable to agree on the quality of the team’s uniforms. Still, the Panthers’ worst jersey since the 2000 regular season was the alternate sweater that was unveiled in 2009-10.
The jersey’s overall design wasn’t horrible, but at the time the navy and North Carolina blue was overdone in the NHL. Teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets had introduced sweaters with the same color scheme, and for the Panthers, the sweater’s scheme didn’t make sense. The “modernized” logos on the sweater didn’t help this jersey’s cause either. It wasn’t a bad idea to have a navy alternate jersey, but the appearance strayed away from the Panthers’ overall brand and left fans with no hope for a new logo going forward, too.
Los Angeles Kings – 2002-2007 Alternate Jersey
After the 1997-98 season, the Los Angeles Kings made the mistake of retiring the club’s “Black and Silver Era” for a black, silver and purple era. The Kings also introduced two new logos and one of which that can been seen above on the team’s purple alternate sweater from 2002-07.
The logo by itself was confusing and also convincing enough to have this specific jersey make the list. The black road and white home sweaters that entailed the same logo weren’t any better, but why the Kings decided to use the crest on a purple alternate jersey seemed unnecessary. What makes the situation even more confusing was that the Kings replaced the logo seen above with the alternate crown logo as their primary logo — once this purple third jersey was introduced.
Minnesota Wild – Original Green Jersey
Similar to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Minnesota Wild were the second expansion franchise to join the NHL during the 2000-01 regular season. While the Wild arguably had a better logo than the Jackets, the State of Hockey’s original green (road at the time) jersey was the worst the club wore on the ice to date.
Yes, the forest green was a good choice, but it defeated the purpose of showing off Minnesota’s new logo. The crest in the center of the sweater gets lost with the forest green background, and while the collar-to-collar piping wasn’t horrible for this specific design — the traditional look the Wild have now suits the club for the better. Overall, this sweater didn’t portray enough character, especially for the State of Hockey.
Montreal Canadiens – 2008-09 Barbershop Jersey
During the 2008-09 regular season the Montreal Canadiens celebrated their Centennial Classic, and honored the club’s past by wearing a couple of different throwback uniforms from time to time. The Canadiens’ throwback horizontal red, blue and white striped sweater, which was worn that season, is the worst the club has worn since 2000.
Why? For starters, while this is a nod towards an historic past, it’s something that probably should have stayed in the past. The jersey was aptly referred to as the ‘barbershop’ jerseys due to the color pattern resembling that of a pole outside the barbershop. They were an eyesore, and the team would have been better served sticking to other jerseys from their past. In fact, Montreal did wear three other throwback sweaters that season and this was by far the worst out of the four.
Nashville Predators – 2001-07 Gold Alternate Jersey
The Nashville Predators were on the right track when they unveiled the club’s first ever alternate sweater during the 2001-02 regular season, but the overall outcome was flirting with the term, failure. The Predators went with gold for the base color of the jersey, however it’s a darker gold, a mustard gold, instead of the bright gold the team currently wears.
The club used a new alternate logo, which was a bit cartoon esque, and the designs on the sweater’s cuffs and bottom half of the jersey didn’t compliment the already questionable appearance either. The Preds are probably the only club to introduce a square-shaped collar, when Nashville should have just left that aspect to a normal collar or jersey ties. At the time, there were high hopes for this sweater in the Music City, but the original gold alternate goes down as the worst in Predators’ history.
New Jersey Devils – 2013-14 Stadium Series Jersey
While the New Jersey Devils and its fan base appreciate the club’s original color scheme of red, green and white, most fans around the NHL have a different opinion on the sweaters. In 2014, Jersey’s team would face-off with the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium for one of the (three) Coors Light Stadium Series outdoor matchups and chose not to take advantage of an opportunity.
And, for the Devils it was an opportunity to finally unveil a completely new jersey design and go against the grain of the traditional, basic culture Lou Lamoriello (former general manager) had established. However, New Jersey rejected Reebok’s design for the Devils to wear at Yankee Stadium, and the club wore its red and green Christmas jerseys; which the club now wears once or twice a year.
New York Islanders – 2011-14 Black Alternate Jersey
Believe it or not, but one of hockey’s most historic franchises in the New York Islanders has had quite a few mishaps in relation to the club’s sweater designs over the past two decades. However, since 2000 the worst jersey that the Islanders have unveiled was the black alternate jersey which New York wore from 2011 until the end of 2014.
The Isles went with a color scheme that probably confused hockey fans from all over with this random alternate unveiling; and in the sense that this jersey has an AHL appearance and one that could be the Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliate too. Yes, there’s no purple in the scheme, but this design immediately reminded most of a jersey that the Phantoms (Flyers’ AHL team) would wear, no? Luckily the Islanders began wearing their traditional blue Stadium Series jerseys more than these black…things, during the 2013-2014 campaign.
New York Rangers – 2013-14 White Stadium Series Jersey
Since 2000, the New York Rangers have only made slight modifications to the club’s home and away sweaters, and the Rangers have technically worn two alternates since that time too. Yet, then came the Broadway Blueshirts’ Stadium Series sweaters during the 2013-14 regular season, which were New York’s second outdoor game sweaters worn, to date.
The design isn’t horrible, but it’s the Rangers’ worst jersey the Original Six franchise has donned in front of the Garden Faithful since 2000. There was something about this sweater’s design that reminded me of the team’s AHL’s afiiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. While navy blue has been an adopted color for the Rangers, I think the team could have gotten away with wearing a sweater that entailed more royal blue than navy in this circumstance. Additionally, the jersey’s appearance had the Lady Liberty, former alternate jersey, feel to it, so the Rangers should have just thrown the old Statue of Liberty logo on this sweater, too.
Ottawa Senators – 2008-2011 Black Alternate Jersey
There have been a few different jersey designs for the Ottawa Senators since 2000, but none of them are worse than the “Sens” third jersey that the team unveiled in 2008. For starters, a majority of teams playing in the NHL should never wear their nickname as the primary crest on a jersey. Even a basic wordmark logo that read “Ottawa Senators” would have made this sweater 10 times better than it was.
Additionally, the overall design is too busy. The filled in red that runs under the arms and down the sides of the jersey always reminded this hockey jersey enthusiast of some sort of apron or blanket. Also, there was probably no point of adding the Senators’ primary logo on the shoulders either as it doesn’t flow well, but as noted above this sweater’s design was busy and over the top.
Philadelphia Flyers – 2007-2010 White Reebok Edge Jersey
South Philly has been known to have played host to some of both the more traditional and iconic hockey sweaters the NHL has ever witnessed. However, the Philadelphia Flyers were plagued by the Reebok Edge Series from 2007 until 2010. The Broad Street Bullies were a club that could pull off the cuff-to-cuff piping down a sweater’s shoulders, but Reebok depleted the notorious Flyers look with the jersey design seen above.
The design seen on the shoulders portrays an incomplete appearance and defeated the original purpose of why Philly had the full cuff-to-cuff design to begin with. The white jersey is selected for this list over the black (home at the time) because Philadelphia’s white jersey was always a “norm,” in comparison to the Flyers’ black based sweater which was originally introduced as alternate in the late 1990s.
Pittsburgh Penguins – 2013-14 White Stadium Series Jersey
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Pittsburgh Penguins’ worst jersey since 2000 is the sweater that the club wore during the 2013-14 Stadium Series at Soldier Field against the Chicago Blackhawks. Why shouldn’t this surprise you?
For starters, the Penguins had a nice reputation established for outdoor jerseys when Pittsburgh donned the team’s original navy, white and North Carolina blue color scheme twice during the 2008 and 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classics. When the Pens were set to play vs. the Hawks in 2014, most would have hoped for that trend to continue and have the Steel City represent its vintage black and yellow-gold colors (current color scheme). However, fans were left with a boring jersey appearance, and an overall design that a majority of the the teams donned during the original Stadium Series play (2013-14).
San Jose Sharks – 1998-2007 – Home/Away Jersey
In 1991, the San Jose Sharks entered the NHL with a loud bang when the Northern California hockey club would wear a teal colored sweater. Since that time the Sharks have always seemed to have a jersey design that’s been accepted by most NHL fans. However, since 2000, the worst jersey San Jose has worn would be the sweater design that the Teal wore from 1998 until the end of the 2007 season.
This sweater was originally unveiled as an alternate for the 1997 regular season, and was later switched to the primary jersey. This sweater wasn’t terrible by all means, but it appears to be the club’s least appreciated jersey by the fans since 2000. The overall appearance was against the classic hockey grain, and its design was busy to say at the least. This jersey was one of the few which entailed a few different types of material throughout the sweater; including “mesh-netting” underneath the sweater’s arms.
St. Louis Blues – 2007-2014 Home Jersey
The St. Louis Blues have had a number of sweater designs and color schemes during the club’s 50 year existence, but since 2000 the worst jersey the Blues have donned was the home Reebok Edge Series sweater.
Prior to the Edge Series jersey, St. Louis had an innovative and well accepted sweater design. As noted above with a handful of other NHL teams, the design Reebok used where the thin stripes emerge from the collar and flow down the sides of the jersey’s front just look…bad. Not having any piping on the base of the jersey was a mistake, as it makes the jersey look incomplete. Also, the piping on the shoulders appeared odd with the shorter length, especially in comparison to the the Blues’ prior jersey design. Thankfully, St. Louis ditched this design after the 2014 regular season.
Tampa Bay Lightning – 2007-2011 Home Jersey
Similar to the St. Louis Blues, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s worst jersey since 2000 is in large thanks to Reebok. The Bolts’ original Reebok Edge Series sweater followed a template that a few other teams donned, and overall it simply doesn’t resemble what an NHL team’s primary sweater should portray.
The fill-in colors that run underneath the jersey’s sleeves is essentially hidden from the average fan’s point of view and not having at least one stripe on the base of the jersey has proven in the past to be short-lived with most teams. It would be one case if this template was an alternate for a short period of time, but it wasn’t. Additionally, Tampa Bay unveiled a new logo with these sweaters, and one that had too much of a futuristic feel.
Toronto Maple Leafs – 2007-2010 Home Jersey
Like most Original Six franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs sweaters and their overall designs have stayed consistent — for the most part. Though, when the Leafs unveiled a subtle change to the club’s sweaters in 2007 (Reebok Edge Series), Toronto’s jerseys no longer had piping on the base of the sweater, nor entailed a secondary logo on its jersey’s shoulders either.
By eliminating those aspects the Leafs lost that notorious character and identity the Original Six franchise had established over the years. The sweater could have easily been mistaken for a practice jersey, and luckily for all fans alike the Maple Leafs re-added those two subjects which were missing and prior to the 2010-11 regular season. Sure, they were minor changes to most average NHL fans, but when it comes to the Maple Leafs…Toronto’s professional hockey is always under a tough microscope, right?
Vancouver Canucks – 2001-2006 Alternate Jersey
It’s fair to say that the Vancouver Canucks have a history of unveiling some interesting and far-fetched hockey sweaters since the club was established in 1970. The first jersey that comes to mind would the “V” sweaters, which were yellow, black, orange and red. Quite a color scheme, no?
However, the worst jersey that the Canucks have worn since 2000 would be the alternate sweater Vancouver donned from 2001 until the end of 2006. Yes, at the time, NHL teams were trying too hard to unveil both innovative and modern alternate jerseys; but the Canucks “fade” at the base of the jersey ruined any chance of this sweater being labeled as innovative or modern. It wasn’t a bad idea to have the brick red incorporated on the shoulders, but there’s a reason this jersey was retired after the 2006 regular season.
Winnipeg Jets (Atlanta Thrashers) – 2008-2011 Alternate Jersey
Most may be able to recall, but the Winnipeg Jets were located in Atlanta from the year 2000 until the end of the 2011 regular season. There, the club was nicknamed the Atlanta Thrashers, where the franchise also donned some of the league’s most forgettable hockey sweaters of all time. So, since the Thrashers and Jets share the same franchise history, the Thrashers’ alternate jersey from 2008-2011 goes down as the worst jersey the “Jets” have worn since 2000.
The Thrashers hopped on the bandwagon of adding numbers front and center on the sweater with either the team’s nickname or city written in script above a player’s number. Atlanta had the right idea with the color scheme, but overall this jersey was way too busy and had a minor league esque appearance to it, too.
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