Watching the NHL’s All-Star festivities last weekend, one thing stood out: how incredibly ugly most teams’ jerseys are.
We all know that under Gary Bettman’s watch, the NHL has overexpanded and betrayed their base in the Northern United States and Canada. Teams have moved away from passionate fan bases in Quebec, Winnipeg, Minnesota and Hartford to set up shop in such noted hockey hotbeds as Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville and Tampa.
And along with this careless, American, manifest-destiny expansion, the NHL has given us an influx of garish, amateurish uniforms. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong correlation between relocated and new teams and hideous jerseys.
Let’s take a look:
Maybe it’s just because being house-bound in a blizzard is driving us mad, but let’s count down NHL jerseys from worst to first. We’re judging based on the teams’ primary home uniforms, because road jerseys are usually boring and because alternative third jerseys are a cheat.
30. Atlanta Thrashers
The bird was angry that day, my friends.
29. Nashville Predators
“Hey guys, I’ve got an idea for our logo — what about a retarded wolf of some kind? No, no, I mean literally retarded — like Radio, or The Other Sister.”
28. Columbus Blue Jackets
27. Anaheim Ducks
Manages to be both boring and ugly at the same time. Just because your mascot is also a fowl doesn’t mean you have to steal the Penguins colors. Also, how can we ever respect this franchise after they dropped the “Mighty” from their name? Yes, calling themselves the “Mighty Ducks” after an Emilio Estevez movie was insane and ridiculous, but pretending it never happened is even worse.
26. Phoenix Coyotes
You know, the color and design elements aren’t terrible here, but my god…that logo…Is the coyote howling or is it being rectally violated?
25. Carolina Hurricanes
Yuck. What’s with the weird black squares circling the waist? And has a hurricane ever looked less intimidating?
24. Florida Panthers
It’s a sad state of affairs in hockey when a team called the Florida Panthers actually has more history and tradition than a good number of other franchises. Why do so many of the relatively new teams insist on using “ferocious” cartoon animals in their logos? Scary animals never actually look scary when rendered in cartoon format on a bearded guy’s sweater.
23. San Jose Sharks
Case in point. Oh man, that shark is so pissed off that he’s biting that stick right in half! Take cover!
22. Calgary Flames
The Flames’ old uniforms were ugly, yes, but at least they gave the team an identity. Slight tweaks to the color scheme intended to modernize the look only make the team look like they belong in a low-level minor league.
21. Washington Capitals
The Caps’ have tried changing up their look too often. It’s hard to keep track of whether they’re red or blue. And that shade of red is a few degrees too bright.
20. Ottawa Senators
Another case where a decent design is spoiled by an asinine logo. Hey, that gay guy looks mad at me!
19. Colorado Avalanche
It isn’t terrible, but that mauve-and-blue color scheme falls firmly into Jacksonville Jaguars honorary “colors that just don’t belong in sports” territory.
18. Tampa Bay Lightning
One of the better new-school jerseys. Simple and straight-forward in both color scheme and logo design.
17. Chicago Blackhawks
The worst of the old-school jerseys. Having tradition by itself isn’t enough to make something attractive. Also: racist.
16. New Jersey Devils
At least they’ve gotten that mismatched green out of the home jerseys. And at least they don’t use a Duke-esque cartoon devil.
15. Dallas Stars
Just boring. Hence, the dead-middle-of-the-pack ranking. The Stars’ road jerseys have a touch more visual appeal.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins
13. New York Islanders
The Isles do themselves no favors with the garish blue-and-orange combo, but they’re clearly trying to be of a piece with the Mets and Knicks.
12. Los Angeles Kings
11. Edmonton Oilers
10. Buffalo Sabres
I think I’m experiencing Stockholm Syndrome with Buffalo’s uniform. I hated it at first, but I’m slowly coming around. At least they got the hell away from this.
9. St. Louis Blues
The Blues have really cool retro third jerseys, but for the purposes of these rankings, they must be judged on their good-not-great main entry.
8. Boston Bruins
My motto: if you don’t have anything hateful to say about something related to Boston, don’t say anything at all.
7. Philadelphia Flyers
It’s difficult not to have a love/hate relationship with the Flyers’ jersey. It evokes so many vile teams and players, but it’s also unique and reminiscent of a lost era in hockey.
6. Vancouver Canucks
A questionable logo overridden by an awesome color scheme and elegant design.
5. Minnesota Wild
Just about as well as a new team can do in terms of uniform design. Classic colors used in a new way, a retro design that works like the best of the retro ballparks, and a callback to the North Stars’ old green.
4. Detroit Red Wings
Definitely in the running for coolest logo in sports.
3. New York Rangers
A lesson in how to use red, white and blue without getting all Toby Keith on us.
2. Montreal Canadians
As with the Rangers, one of the oldest remaining uniforms is also one of the best.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Classic and gorgeous, this is hockey’s version of the Dodgers’ uniform — a crisp, perfect blue-and-white with a simple and appealing logo.