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THN.com Blog: Ranking the Olympic jerseys

Andre Rankel of Germany and Tobias Enstrom of Sweden battle for the puck. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Andre Rankel of Germany and Tobias Enstrom of Sweden battle for the puck. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If one thing became clear after our Greatest Jersey’s of All-Time special edition magazine and summer Jersey Rankings and Tournament on THN.com, it’s that people love hockey sweaters, especially when it comes to debating the merits of one versus another.

So with the Olympics in full swing, it’s the perfect time to rank the 13 countries taking part in hockey. Although this is my blog, I thought it best to employ the same method we used for our league rankings. A panel of THN staffers and interns debated the pros and cons of each outfit and if a deadlock was reached, it was put to a vote.

Prior to ranking the jerseys, fellow sweater aficionado Ryan Kennedy and I chose either the home or away version for each country based on which we believed best represented the team.

OLYMPIC JERSEY RANKINGS
RK.
JERSEY
TEAM
WHY
1

Sweden

First and foremost, you have to love a team that uses something other than white for their away color. Add that to the classic Tre Kroner logo, simplicity in piping and always-welcome classic laces and you’ve got a No. 1.

2
Germany

The black is very intimidating, plus the color scheme harkens back to classic Pavel Bure-era Canucks days. But what really puts the Germans over the top is the etched logo on the jersey’s sleeves.

3
Slovakia

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what makes this jersey a winner, but everything from the color contrast to the striping to the use of the coat of arms/flag emblem just works.

4
United States

Simplicity and detail are both at work on Team USA’s sweater. The colors are American as apple pie, of course, but the college-style U-S-A is an unusual treat on the world stage. The torch etching on the sleeves and the star shoulder patches give it that extra je ne say quoi.

5
Latvia

Employing the coat of arms was a great move as it makes for an excellent logo; perhaps the tournament’s best. The placement of the country name also gets points.

6
Czech Republic

Another utilization of the country’s coat of arms results in another hit. If you have to knock something about this jersey, it would be the concave/convex striping.

7
Norway

Personally I wasn’t a big fan of this design, but the group won out. Simplicity and the Rangers-style lettering are certainly good aspects, as is the fact they’re the only one other than the Swedes to employ laces.

8
Russia

There wasn’t a ton of love for the Russian duds, but I think the good outweighs the bad. The logo and Cyrillic typeface certainly could have been bigger and the ballooning bicep bands are a little strange, but the logo is top notch, as is the etching on the sleeves and bottom.

9

Switzerland

One panelist suggests the Swiss’ sweater would look more appropriate on a relief worker, but I happen to believe the world-famous pacifists did well with this simple effort. Especially pleasing is the flow of the shoulder negative into the space behind the nameplate on the jersey’s back.

10

Canada

Hockey Canada’s logo has become iconic across the host nation, so it’s no surprise many were up in arms when it was barred from use for these Games. Unfortunately, the new IOC-friendly logo or jersey design isn’t nearly as esthetically pleasing as incarnations gone by.

11

Finland

When you do something atypical, it usually polarizes the critics and in this case, the Finns blue on blue didn’t fly with the judges. Incorporating the coat of arms gets a thumbs up, but the choice of font is questionable.

12
China

Not getting nearly as much exposure as the others because it’s only being sported on the women’s side, but maybe that’s a good thing. The red and yellow color choice was…well…interesting and the striping makes it a busy layout, despite the banality of the logo/font.

13
Belarus

I’ve been a proponent of the use of the coat of arms up to this point, but for our unlucky No. 13, its addition would have best been a subtraction. Lions and angry birds symbolize power and, vis-a-vis, victory. Grain, flower, ribbon and sunshine? Not so much. The font and sleeve striping also leave a lot to be desired.

Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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