The Top 50 jerseys of all-time: Nos. 10-1

The Hockey News counts down the 50 best sweaters of all-time.

What makes a great jersey? When the topic comes up, it’s hard not to default to the NHL’s Original Six era. Those sweaters launched the pro game to another level. But does that means sartorial glory is a given?

This was one of the questions when we put our list of the greatest jerseys of all-time together. Just because a team has never won a Stanley Cup doesn’t mean it hasn’t looked good trying.

The criteria emphasized factors such as boldness, uniqueness, aesthetics and yes, timelessness. To guard against historical biases, we also reached out to a group of graphic designers, some of whom watch little to no hockey.

Over the next five days, we list off the best ever. Some are really old, some are brand new. And it’s not NHL exclusive. Major junior, college, minor pro, even international jerseys are repped.

Previously: Nos. 50-41 | Nos. 40-31 | Nos. 30-21 | Nos. 20-11

 

No. 10: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

 

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The Spitfires have rocked several different logos in their longtime major junior history, but this incarnation sticks out the most. Graphic designers loved it, and the uniqueness of the crest is hard to deny. There’s a simplicity to the design, but it’s also eye-catching thanks to the red negative space inside the window. Though some of Windsor’s other uniforms have been pretty sharp themselves, this version, which lasted approximately 20 years, remains an unheralded winner. Call it the dark horse of the elite.

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The Top 50 jerseys of all-time: Nos. 20-11

Ryan Kennedy
The Hockey News counts down the 50 best sweaters of all-time.

What makes a great jersey? When the topic comes up, it’s hard not to default to the NHL’s Original Six era. Those sweaters launched the pro game to another level. But does that means sartorial glory is a given?

This was one of the questions when we put our list of the greatest jerseys of all-time together. Just because a team has never won a Stanley Cup doesn’t mean it hasn’t looked good trying.

The criteria emphasized factors such as boldness, uniqueness, aesthetics and yes, timelessness. To guard against historical biases, we also reached out to a group of graphic designers, some of whom watch little to no hockey.

Over the next five days, we list off the best ever. Some are really old, some are brand new. And it’s not NHL exclusive. Major junior, college, minor pro, even international jerseys are repped.

Previously: Nos. 50-41 | Nos. 40-31 | Nos. 30-21

 

20No. 20: Edmonton Oilers (NHL)

The crest has been around since the franchise’s WHA days and, in fact, this new orange version of the NHL classic is a throwback to the team’s rebel league days. The Oilers logo has influenced other franchises (Rogle in Sweden, for example), and while color schemes have darkened and lightened over time, Edmonton has almost always been an oil-drop town (sorry, 2000s Todd McFarlane version). Connor McDavid wore this on stage at the 2015 draft, where the Oil selected him first overall. Not a bad omen.

 

19No. 19: Toronto Toros (WHA)

Great colors and a sweet snorting bull logo for the erstwhile Ottawa Nationals.

 

 

 

18No. 18: Rochester Americans (AHL)

This iconic minor league sweater has been tweaked over the years – most notably, the shield has been tilted on its side – but it still represents the same venerable franchise it always did, complete with the patriotic color scheme.

 

 

17No. 17: North Dakota (NCAA)

The most controversial sweater in college hockey lasted until 2012. Locals still raise a ruckus.

 

 

 

16No. 16: Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA)

The Gophers have rocked slightly different versions of this sweater for decades now, using the school’s iconic ‘M’ as the centerpiece. A good deal of state high schools have cribbed the logo, but there’s no mistaking the maroon and gold original.

 

 

15No. 15: Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

It’s really tough to beat the awesome ‘barber pole.’ Attempts to mess with it were futile.

 

 

 

14No. 14: Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Two seasons after debuting this golden gem, the Penguins made it their official home sweater for the 1983-84 campaign. Franchise pillar Mario Lemieux wore the sweater briefly before it was shuttled out of the mix, but it really does make a bold impact even today. The Penguins’ logo was never more perfect than it was in this particular iteration, with the bird large and in charge in front of the triangle. The black version may be more famous, but it’s hard to beat gold if you want to get noticed.

 

13No. 13: Central Red Army (Russia)

A quintessential Cold War jersey complete with a red star and a hammer and sickle.

 

 

 

12No. 12: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

Going cream instead of white really propels this recent expansion team with a great logo.

 

 

 

11No. 11: Milwaukee Admirals (AHL)

In a league where, at least from an outside perspective, teams are so closely linked to their NHL parent clubs, franchises that go their own route stand out. Sure, there have been some excellent AHL sweaters that nodded to the NHL – Such as the Binghamton Whalers tipping over Hartford’s ‘H’ logo, turning it into a ‘B’ – but one look at this new Milwaukee jersey and we were sold. Building off the pirate skeleton that preceded it, this new logo is so nuanced, so pro, that it is better than many crests in the NHL. Toss in an incredible shoulder logo (interwoven skull letter initials) and the double-blue color scheme the Ads have been rocking lately and you have a huge entry. And, for the record, the Admirals are the farm team for the Nashville Predators.

 

The countdown concludes on Friday with the Top 10.

The Top 50 jerseys of all-time: Nos. 30-21

Ryan Kennedy
The Hockey News counts down the 50 best sweaters of all-time.

What makes a great jersey? When the topic comes up, it’s hard not to default to the NHL’s Original Six era. Those sweaters launched the pro game to another level. But does that means sartorial glory is a given?

This was one of the questions when we put our list of the greatest jerseys of all-time together. Just because a team has never won a Stanley Cup doesn’t mean it hasn’t looked good trying.

The criteria emphasized factors such as boldness, uniqueness, aesthetics and yes, timelessness. To guard against historical biases, we also reached out to a group of graphic designers, some of whom watch little to no hockey.

Over the next five days, we list off the best ever. Some are really old, some are brand new. And it’s not NHL exclusive. Major junior, college, minor pro, even international jerseys are repped.

Previously: Nos. 50-41 | Nos. 40-31

 

30No. 30: Ottawa Senators (NHL 1923-24)

It’s impossible not to appreciate the audaciousness of this sweater. Ottawa was indeed coming off a Stanley Cup championship in 1922-23, so the club decided to remind all their opponents of this fact while it tried to defend the crown. No team would ever dare do something like this in modern times, but the Sens were owning their victory. Perhaps karma caught up to the Bytown boys in the end, however, as the  Montreal Canadiens got revenge in a rematch of the final, taking the Cup in 1924.

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The Top 50 jerseys of all-time: Nos. 40-31

Ryan Kennedy
The Hockey News counts down the 50 best sweaters of all-time.

What makes a great jersey? When the topic comes up, it’s hard not to default to the NHL’s Original Six era. Those sweaters launched the pro game to another level. But does that means sartorial glory is a given?

This was one of the questions when we put our list of the greatest jerseys of all-time together. Just because a team has never won a Stanley Cup doesn’t mean it hasn’t looked good trying.

The criteria emphasized factors such as boldness, uniqueness, aesthetics and yes, timelessness. To guard against historical biases, we also reached out to a group of graphic designers, some of whom watch little to no hockey.

Over the next five days, we list off the best ever. Some are really old, some are brand new. And it’s not NHL exclusive. Major junior, college, minor pro, even international jerseys are repped.

Previously: Nos. 50-41

40No. 40: Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

The origins of this sweater actually date back to 1982, though the primary logo was modernized in the late 1990s. This QMJHL franchise rocks a great double-blue color scheme, and the striping on the shoulders is what really sets it apart from most other sweaters. The Sagueneens (named after the Saguenay region where the team is based) also rocked some pretty impressive, albeit now dated, logos during the franchise’s early days of the 1970s.

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Scottish team wears awesome purple plaid, kilt-style jerseys

Jared Clinton
Braehead Clan's Tristan Harper in the kilt-themed jersey (via Braehead Clan)

Four of the EIHL’s clubs reside within Scotland, and one of those clubs, the Braehead Clan, pulled out special jerseys to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day, a day of food, music and dance, this past weekend.

As part of their celebration of the national holiday, Braehead hit the ice in amazing custom jerseys that were built to make each skater appear to be wearing a kilt. Complete with awesome purple plaid pants, socks and a sash across the jersey, they’re an absolutely incredible special event jersey. Take a look: Read more

The Top 50 jerseys of all-time: Nos. 50-41

Ryan Kennedy
The Hockey News counts down the 50 best sweaters of all-time.

What makes a great jersey? When the topic comes up, it’s hard not to default to the NHL’s Original Six era. Those sweaters launched the pro game to another level. But does that means sartorial glory is a given?

This was one of the questions when we put our list of the greatest jerseys of all-time together. Just because a team has never won a Stanley Cup doesn’t mean it hasn’t looked good trying.

The criteria emphasized factors such as boldness, uniqueness, aesthetics and yes, timelessness. To guard against historical biases, we also reached out to a group of graphic designers, some of whom watch little to no hockey.

Over the next five days, we list off the best ever. Some are really old, some are brand new. And it’s not NHL exclusive. Major junior, college, minor pro, even international jerseys are repped.

50No. 50: New York Americans (NHL)

Stars and Stripes motifs were popular in the early days, and the Amerks did it right.

 

 

 

49No. 49: Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

The original Sabres jersey — also a great one — came in at a lighter shade of blue. We’ll use the more modern take for this entry because the number on the right breast works pretty well and this sweater was also responsible for erasing one of the worst jersey experiments of all-time, the ‘Buffaslug.’

Overall, the Sabres have themselves a pretty classic logo and one that doesn’t need much fuss around it. The dark blue works just as well with the gold as the lighter shade had before it, and we all love lace-up collars.

 

48No. 48: Khimik Voskresensk (Russia)

When Russian teams came over to play NHL squads in the early 1990s, the boldness of Khimik’s sweaters was impossible to miss. Go bold or go home.

 

 

 

47No. 47: Madison Capitols (USHL)

Not only do the Capitols have a great color scheme with the double-blue and a hint of red, but that capitol building logo is really good, perhaps even trumping the one Washington rocked in the 1990w. Ryan Suter actually parts-owns this squad.

 

 

46No. 46: Team USA (1976 Canada Cup)

The ‘Miracle on Ice’ jersey may be way more famous, but it’s this entry from the Canada Cup that stands on its own, without the gold-tinged bias. You still get your Stars and Stripes but also a patriotic eagle and USA shield that hit all the notes when it comes to American exceptionalism on the ice.

 

45No. 45: Michigan State Spartans (NCAA)

True, the Spartans are better known for their baseball script-style jerseys — and most college teams seem to rock script-based sweaters. But, aesthetically, logos are more fun on hockey jerseys, since you have such a great canvas to work from. So since history is just one factor in these rankings, we’re going with the Spartan helmet sweater. That’s just a great logo with clean lines, and Michigan State also has the benefit of being one of those two-color teams. Strong green and white energy.

 

44No. 44: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

The cattle skull logo is amazing, and the secondary ‘R’ mark has its own great third jersey.

 

 

43No. 43: Sherbrooke Faucons (QMJHL)

Great colors and a cool logo. Plus, a rare effective use of diagonal lines on a sweater.

 

 

 

42No. 42: Chicago Black Hawks (NHL)

Chicago has always had a knack with sweaters, and even the first edition ever was pretty sweet. Interestingly enough, the famous red base was nowhere to be seen, as Chicago wore exclusively cream and black duds, flipping to a black base in its second season.

 

41No. 41: Salt Lake Golden Eagles (WIHL)

First off, that’s a pretty good eagle mascot the minor pro Golden Eagles were wearing back then. It’s pretty much the best you could put together and still remain timeless. The real clincher for this Salt Lake City outfit is the innovation with the shoulder striping, which is not only bold in its construct but also becomes a focal point of the uniform itself, since it extends all the way down the socks and into the skates. The number on the arm pops out thanks to a great font and those bold colors, while the simplicity of the sweater’s main image gives the jersey ample breathing room, aesthetically speaking. The Golden Eagles name spanned several different pro leagues in a long history that ended in 1994.

Next: Nos. 40-31

How Chris Creamer and Chris Smith became the NHL’s jersey insiders

Jared Clinton
(Getty Images)

Chris Creamer and Chris Smith are the insiders whose names you don’t know but whose websites have broken some of hockey’s most colorful stories. Creamer and Smith – of sportslogos.net and icethetics.info, respectively – are the McKenzie and Dreger of logo and jersey design.

But neither Creamer nor Smith sought to become a jersey insider. Both were hockey fans who fell into it through a love of design. “(SportsLogos) was an excuse to learn how to make a website, really,” Creamer said. “Back (in 1997) there was no social media, so the only way to express yourself online would be to make a site that was a random collection of your own personal interests. I was really into computers, sports and team uniforms from a very early age.” Read more

Wild pay tribute to state, Blackhawks to city with Stadium Series uniforms

Jared Clinton
Wild and Blackhawks Stadium Series jerseys (via NHL Shop)

There’s no more need for guesswork when it comes to what threads the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks will wear when they face off for the Stadium Series contest at Minneapolis’ TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21.

Tuesday morning, both the Wild and Blackhawks officially unveiled their uniforms for the Stadium Series contest, with both teams electing for a traditional look with slight alterations made for the outdoor tilt.

For the Wild, the green jersey keeps the primary logo the same while introducing a brand new shoulder patch, while the Blackhawks elected to rehash a look similar to what was worn in 2015 at the Winter Classic contest against the Washington Capitals. Read more