In its near 100 years of existence, the National Hockey League has seen its fair share of teams. With all the relocated and defunct franchises, there have been nearly 50 different teams. Some lasted under a decade, while others actually outdate the league itself.
With dozens of different teams came dozens of different mascots and emblems. With so many creations over the span of a century, there is absolutely no way that they were all good. Some stood the test of time, like the Montreal Canadiens' logo, which is essentially the same design since 1917, with a few minor tweaks. The same goes for teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and others. Other franchises weren't as lucky with their design crews though.
The logo is supposed to be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a franchise. It is what gives it its identity and sets it apart from all the others. But when the first thing that comes to your mind is an ugly mess that is painful to look at, it's hard for the fans to wear their team's jersey proudly.
This list contains the absolute worst of the worst when it comes to NHL logos. The different emblems can date as far back as 1921 and can range from mostly forgotten franchises such as the Hamilton Tigers to Original 6 powerhouses. Some lasted only a season while others, sadly for the fans, went decades unchanged. So prepare your eyes, because the ugliest NHL logos of all times are sure to make them hurt.
16 Pittsburgh Penguins 1967-68
This logo might look a lot like their current logo, which is actually pretty good, but the differences are just enough to land it a place on this list. First off, the penguin appears to be much fatter and out of shape than the modern version. A year later, they changed the fat penguin for one with broader shoulders, or whatever you call this part of the penguin, making him look tougher. The scarf also makes the mascot look weaker. I mean come on, it's a penguin, they live in Antartica! Does he really need a scarf? Does he have a cold or something? The fact that it lasted only one season and is similar to its modern counterpart keeps it at the bottom of the list. Let's call this one a rough copy.
15 Washington Capitals 2002-03 to 2006-07
I don't like this logo, but I have a hard time to put my finger on exactly what is wrong with it. It is not downright ugly, but I still dislike it enough to give it a place in the bottom of the list. Maybe it is because the bold design with the big stars, sticks and puck contrasting with the not-so-bold brown-orange. Maybe it would look better with a brighter orange. Whatever it is, there's something ugly enough about this logo to land it the 14th spot.
14 Colorado Rockies 1976-77 to 1981-82
The first of many logos from now-defunct teams to be featured on this list, the Colorado Rockies have the burden to open the vault and unleash the horrors of logos past. This team moved to Colorado from Kansas City in 1976, where they were known as the Scouts. The Rockies then moved to New Jersey in 1982, where they became the Devils we know today. The concept behind the logo is good, with the state flag represented inside of a mountain that obviously symbolizes the nearby Rocky Mountains. Despite the good idea, it just feels like it was lazily executed. I can imagine the design crew's meetings:
Random Employee #1: Oh man we forgot about the logo we had to do for that Colorado team!
Boss: Oh sh**! Anybody have ideas of what could represent a Colorado team? We need this quick!
Random employee #2: Uhh... Their flag?
Random Employee #1: Yeah, and uhh... the Rockies?
Boss: That's it! Just draw a mountain and give it the colours of the state flag or something. We'll call them the Colorado Rockies. That shouldn't take more than a day right? Good job guys!
13 Denver Spurs 1975-76
Do any of you remember the Denver Spurs? I honestly doubt it. A team that operated for less than a decade in three different leagues, they do hold the distinction of being the first team to win a professional sport championship in the state of Colorado. I'm cheating a bit for this entry, as they never played in the NHL. They were part of the short-lived WHA, which actually gave the NHL a run for its money before merging and adding franchises such as the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques to the NHL roster. However, the design was too bad not to include. The cowboy boot on skates looks weird, the way it is placed looks extremely uncomfortable and the white makes it look as if it was not fully coloured yet. Maybe they didn't have the time to do it before the team folded.
12 Quebec Nordiques 1972-73 to 1994-95
Sorry Quebec City, I know you loved them, but seriously, what is this logo? Two-thirds of an igloo with a hockey stick on its side? A lot of people still wear Nordiques gear and love the logo, but I believe it's more nostalgic than anything. If Quebec City finally gets a new team back, I hope that they will create a better logo than this, perhaps using the "Fleur de Lys" more prominently instead of just on the bottom of the shirt. Maybe going with the snowy owl, Quebec's official bird, as a mascot?
11 Boston Bruins 1924-25 to 1925-26
Right off the bat (or the stick?), this is way too much brown. Brown is just not a menacing color. When I think of brown, I think of mud, dirt or fecal matter. Is that what you want your team to be associated with? I don't think so. The Bruins made a wise decision to listen to Wiz Khalifa and go for black and yellow to start the 1934 season.
Also, the bear in this logo holds its head down, looking like it already admitted defeat. That'll scare the other team away big time!
10 Buffalo Sabres 2006-07 to 2009-10
My eyes hurt when I watch this logo. The yellow is just way too bright to please the eye. When I see it, all I can think of is the design crew trying too hard to be modern and edgy and churn out a new logo design to go along with the then-new Reebok Edge jersey. The result is something that fell behind both of their former logos. Luckily, the Sabres decided to go with a lightly retouched version of their first logo. My personal favorite, however is the alternate jersey used between 2000 and 2006
9 Winnipeg Jets 1979-80 to 1989-90
These aren't the Jets we know today. This is the Teemu Selanne-led franchise before it left for the American southwest in 1996 and before it came back from Atlanta in 2011. The biggest problem with this one is the font they used. The "W" of Winnipeg looks like it has been squeezed into a corner until it was just unable to move and the same goes for the final "G". Its basically the opposite of the Bruins logo from earlier, which had bigger first and last letter. The logo they used from 1990 until they moved to Phoenix to start the 1996 season fixed the problems and looks decent. The white background with blue writing is more pleasing to the eye and easier to read than the red on blue squeezed letter of its predecessor.
8 Columbus Blue Jackets 2000-01 to 2006-07
Expansion teams usually take a few years to get everything right. They usually consist mostly of players from the supplemental draft, also known as the players other teams don't want anymore. But the Blue Jackets also needed time to get their logo right(ish). This logo just feels overdone. The red letters with white stars, the yellow hockey stick with another star on top, navy and grey this time, and the overall waviness of the logo are just too much, They were probably trying really hard to get fans in a town that, according to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, hosts no professional sports team as of 2014. That goes to show just how relevant the Jackets are. At least their new logo is a step in the right direction. Hopefully the next one will be even better.
7 Vancouver Canucks 1978-79 to 1996-97
When your logo has nicknames such as the "waffle iron" and the "plate of spaghetti", it is not a good sign. This blur of orange and yellow lines actually lasted nearly two decades as the primary logo of the team, leading to the creation to what is in my opinion the worst jersey in hockey history. You know a logo is bad when a team uses it for nearly 20 years and then never uses it again, even as a throwback jersey once in a while. The design obviously tries to give an impression of speed, but the next logo just couldn't come out fast enough.
6 California Golden Seals 1970-71 to 1973-74
Another defunct team to make the list, this franchise went from the Oakland Seals to the California Seals and finally to the California Golden Seals in less than a decade before moving to Cleveland of all places. In this short time, the logo got a few tweaks and this version is the worst of them. The bright yellow and green are a pain to the eye. But even if the logo is supposed to represent a seal, I can't help but see a bird. This seal/bird can turn into a fish easily though. All you have to do is move your thumb in front of the white line to the right of the seal's eye, it suddenly becomes a fish. Design fail.
5 Phoenix Coyotes 1996-97 to 2002-03
Where to start with this logo? First off, the coyote seems to have ripped a page from the Phantom of the Opera's playbook by wearing only a half mask, which luckily was not a requirement for Phoenix's goaltenders. Then, the combination of burgundy, burnt orange, purple, dark green and cream would probably cause anyone with their jersey on to be arrested by the fashion police. This logo just reeks of the 90s. I understand that the design crew tried to inspire itself from the native Americans of the area, but it just feels like they tried a little too hard.
4 New York Islanders 1995-96 to 1996-97
This one looks more like a secondary logo than an actual primary logo. It's not cartoony enough to be funny, since the fisherman has a pretty mean look, but it isn't serious enough to be menacing, mostly because of the bold colours. Teal and orange is a combination that is possible to pull off (see the Miami Dolphins). The Islanders, however, did not pull it off. Luckily for fans this lasted just two seasons, after which the team ditched the teal to go for a more classic navy and orange. My eyes thank them for it.
3 Vancouver Canucks 1970-71 to 1977-78
Yes, Vancouver appears twice in this list, this is no mistake. I don't understand how this team managed to have such bad logos for so many years and this is the worst of the bunch. This is literally a blue rectangle with rounded corners, a white hockey stick in it and a green outline. That's it. I know that simplicity can sometimes lead to great results. Heck, some of the best and most classic logos are pretty simple, like the Montreal Canadiens, the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL and the New York Yankees in the MLB. But this time, it's just too much, or not enough depending on how you see it. Nothing in this logo reminds me of a Canuck, Canada or Vancouver and there is absolutely nothing intimidating or powerful about it. Kindergarten kids could make a more elaborate logo than this. Sorry Vancouver fans, but your design crew and I obviously don't see eye-to-eye.
2 Hamilton Tigers 1921-22 to 1922-23
I just don't get this one. Some logos have the excuse that they are old, so that's why the art isn't very good looking, but this has to be the ugliest tiger drawing I have ever seen. His head literally looks like a thumb and his legs have no paws. A tiger is usually menacing, with big fangs and ferocious claws. However, this is nowhere to be seen here. This tiger looks like the kids version of scissors, with rounded points and non cutting edge to be safer. Even worse, their previous logo, even if it was pretty ugly itself, looked more menacing, with its open mouth and pointy fangs. Even by 1920s standards, I don't understand how someone chose and approved this logo. Even when I factor in its age and its short lifespan, this is the absolute worst NHL logo of all time, hands down.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!