NHL logo rankings No. 17: Edmonton Oilers

Rory Boylen
Edmonton Oilers

By placing Edmonton at No. 17 on our list, that leaves the Montreal Canadiens with the No. 1 logo among the seven Canadian teams. Will the Habs logo rank first among all NHL logos? You’ll have to wait and find out.

When our panel of seven THN staffers debated and argued over the Oilers design, the room was split on where it should rank against other NHL logos. Some thought the look was outdated and ugly, fit for the bottom-third of the league – a place the Oilers have become accustomed to in recent years. But others – like myself – enjoyed the design and pushed for a higher ranking than this.

And that goes to show how much these rankings are determined by personal tastes more than scientifically breaking down the aesthetics of each one. To each his own. After our voting was done, the Oilers ended up in that mushy middle. I’ll be interested to see what the commenters below think of the Oilers logo.

Think you can design a better look for the Oilers? Here’s your chance. Create your best logo redesign for Edmonton and send it to us at editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll share our favorite reader redesigns at the conclusion of our 30 NHL logo rankings.

All logo from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE OILERS LOGO

Did you know that, in their first year as a WHA team, the Oilers were called the Alberta Oilers? The Calgary (Broncos) team never got off the ground for the inaugural WHA season in 1972 and a provincial rivalry that was supposed to hatch that year never did. In response, the Oilers wanted to represent the province and intended to split their home games between Edmonton and Calgary. That plan never came to pass, though, as they stayed in Edmonton all season. After Year 1, the Oilers went back to calling themselves Edmonton as originally intended and, in 1975, the Calgary Cowboys joined the WHA after they relocated from Vancouver.

The Oilers look is a throwback in the modern day. Its font screams 1970s and the droopy, thick lettering adds to the character. It’s a look that also fits with the name. The original colors were a royal blue with an orange oil drop that really popped.

Edmonton Oilers

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NHL logo rankings No. 18: New Jersey Devils

Rory Boylen
New Jersey Devils

Jersey Devil, you’re up.

The New Jersey Devils franchise has been relocated twice before: from Kansas City to Colorado and from Colorado to New Jersey. Through that, the team has had three different nicknames and three vastly different logos, with slight variations made to the devilish look over three decades.

The history of this franchise was marred with failure until it finally found success in the 1990s after Martin Brodeur and the neutral zone trap came along. But before that came the Kansas City Scouts, who departed the city after just two seasons, and the Colorado Rockies, who made the post-season just once in their six years of existence and didn’t win a game. The most famous thing about the Rockies may be Hardy Astrom, made famous by coach Don Cherry who dubbed him ‘The Swedish Sieve.’ And Astrom only played two seasons with the team, while Cherry was behind the bench for only one before heading off to start Coach’s Corner. Of course, Colorado did also have the much better Chico Resch in net for their last season in the city before moving to New Jersey. But when I think of the Rockies, I think of Cherry and Astrom – because this team was just terrible.

The current Devil design is a clever logo that no one felt tremendously passionate about placing in the top 10, or despised enough to place in the bottom 10, so it fits in neatly to the middle of the pack.

Do you think you can come up with a design that would move the Devils logo up in our rankings? Here’s your chance. Send in your Devils logo redesign to editorial@thehockeynews.com in whichever color scheme you wish and we’ll run our favorite reader redesigns at the end of our logo ranking rollout. And if you enjoy doing that, why not try redesigning other NHL logos, too?

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE SCOUTS/ROCKIES/DEVILS LOGO
In 1967, the NHL began expanding into markets beyond the traditional Original Six. Six news teams were added in ’67, two more in 1970, another two in 1972 and the cycle ended with two more in 1974. The Kansas City Scouts were one of the teams added in ’74, but they didn’t last very long.

The Scouts were named after a statue in Penn Valley Park that depicts a Native American on horseback. According to VisitKC.com the “sculpture was originally created for the Panama-Pacific Expo held in San Francisco in 1915. On its return trip east, The Scout stopped over at Penn Valley Park. Citizens enjoyed the sculpture so much they raised $15,000 to purchase it for the city.”

The Scout statue that overlooks the city was featured in the Kansas City logo. The team was originally going to be named the Mohawks, to bring the border states Missouri and Kansas together. “MO” for Missouri and “hawks” to represent the Jayhawks of Kansas.

Kansas City Scouts

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NHL logo rankings No. 19: Calgary Flames

Rory Boylen
flamescover

Another Canadian team bites the dust.

At No. 19 in our NHL logo rankings come the Calgary Flames, a team transplanted from Atlanta in 1980. Starting from the bottom, we’re 12 logos into this process and five Canadian teams have already appeared. Not only does the biggest hockey nation struggle to put playoff teams on the ice, it appears they struggle with logos, as well. Edmonton and Montreal remain.

And judging by some of the comments at the bottom of previous logo posts, a lot of you would have liked to see the Flaming C of Calgary even lower in our rankings than 19. But, there are some people who love the red and yellow combination and the simplicity of the look. Where do you stand?

Think you can improve Calgary’s look? Here’s your chance. Come up with a new logo for the Calgary Flames, send your work to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll share our favorite redesigns at the conclusion of our rankings. And if you had fun with this one, try your hand at redesigning the other NHL logos, too.

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE FLAMES LOGO
The Flames started, of course, in Atlanta for the 1972-73 season as the NHL expanded to fight off the rival World Hockey Association. Atlanta joined the league at the same time as the New York Islanders and, well, didn’t have quite the same success.

The team nickname originated from the burning of Atlanta during the American Civil War and only lasted eight seasons in the American south. Citing heavy financial losses, team owner Tom Cousins sold the team to a Calgary group led by Nelson Skalbania, who once signed Wayne Gretzky with the Indianapolis Racers and then traded him to Edmonton just three years before landing the Calgary franchise.

The red and white A’s with a yellow border is a classic look and, in a way, still appears on the Calgary sweater for its assistant captains.

Atlanta Flames

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NHL logo rankings No. 20: Columbus Blue Jackets

Rory Boylen
bigbluejackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a 21st Century NHL team – entering the league in 2000-01 – so they don’t have a long track record of redesigns or touch-ups. But the Blue Jackets are all about history. The team name is a nod to American history and the region’s role in the Civil War, which made Ken Hitchcock a perfect fit for the franchise.

So don’t let Stinger the hornet mascot confuse you. This team is named for the Blue Coats, not the buzzing Blue Jackets.

But did you know the Columbus NHL franchise was almost called the Justice? When majority owner John H. McConnell’s team was figuring out a name for the expansion franchise, the two finalists were the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Columbus Justice. That name would have been way worse and, we imagine, the logo would have been awful, too.

A Justice logo would surely have ranked lower in our rankings than the current Blue Jackets logo does at No. 20. There were some mixed opinions in the THN office about this look. Some like the color combination and the slick design that ties it together, while others saw a very basic and bland design fit for No. 30. Do you think you can design a better look for the Jackets?

(Aside: I would rank Columbus very high if they would use the blue cannon as their primary logo.)

Try your hand at coming up with a new design for the Columbus Blue Jackets logo and submit your entry to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the end of our rankings, we’ll share all our favorites redesigns of the 30 NHL logos. And if you had fun creating one for Columbus, you can send us more art work for the other NHL teams, too.

HISTORY OF THE BLUE JACKETS LOGO
If I had to rank the two primary logos Columbus has used in its decade-and-a-half of existence, this one would rank miles behind the current look. This one is too “Saturday morning cartoons” for me and includes a touch of neon the NHL was pushing for. Yuck. Here’s what the Blue Jackets’ website says about the first logo ever used by the franchise:

“The primary Blue Jackets logo that was selected features a star-studded red ribbon unfurled in the shape of the team’s initials, CBJ, with an electric green hockey stick cutting through the center to represent the “J.” The 13 stars represent each of the original 13 U.S. Colonies and signify patriotism. The star on top of the stick signifies Columbus as the state capital.”

bluejacketslogo

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NHL logo rankings No. 21: Toronto Maple Leafs

Matt Larkin
MapleLeafsMain

Sacred cow, meet slaughterhouse.

How dare we slot an Original Six team 21st overall in our logo rankings? A healthy faction of Leaf haters will stand up and cheer at this decision. Those who bleed blue and white, however, have likely fallen off their chairs already.

The easiest way to understand our logic: the voting process awarded more weight to aesthetics than to anything else. “But it’s so OLD!” is not a strong enough defense. Cultural significance and understated classiness are desirable qualities, but how good does the emblem actually look? Toronto’s simplistic design fails the eye test in its modern form. it earns points for its iconography – what’s more Canadian than a Maple Leaf? – but it’s rigid, almost too symmetrical, creating a coldness that robs it of its classic feel. The leaf on Canada’s flag looks more like an actual leaf. Toronto’s earlier logos, which often featured “veiny” leaves (leafs? ugh), were warmer, more organic, and far more pleasing to the eye.

Also, covering the symbol in big, blocky writing robs it of its romanticism. There’s no danger of mistaking you for another team, Toronto. A leaf like the one adorning center ice at Maple Leaf Gardens would be far prettier.

Are you brave enough to carve up the famous Maple Leaf logo and design a new one for Toronto? Send your best work to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the end of our ranking process, we’ll publish our favorite submission for every team. If you enjoy drawing Toronto’s, keep the fun going and try one for all 30 NHL teams.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE MAPLE LEAFS LOGO

The Leafs weren’t always the Leafs, of course. They began as the Torontos, a.k.a. the Blueshirts, a.k.a. The Arenas in their early NHL days from 1917-1919. The crest was as simple as it gets, but featured an elegant shield and the blue and white we’ve come to know so well.

 

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NHL logo rankings No. 22: Ottawa Senators

Matt Larkin
SensMain

The Ottawa Senators check in at No. 22 in THN’s logo rankings. This franchise has never fielded a truly winning crest, and maybe the name deserves the blame. When you’re called the Senators, your logo is doomed to be boring or innaccurate – or both.

The original logo of the modern (1990s-born) Senators was about as exciting as a stack of Premium Plus crackers, which is what you’d expect for a team called the Senators. The latest incarnation mostly elicits guffaws in the THN office. We can’t take the character seriously. Maybe it’s the fact he’s dressed in battle gear like a Spartan or, more accurately, a Roman soldier, when his government title is Senator. If we subscribe to the idea of a general from the Roman senate, as the franchise originally described this logo, the armor isn’t what most Senators wore in ancient Rome. This is. And it would’ve been awfully tough to win wars or hockey games wearing that. Also, nothing about the logo connects to the Canadian, Ottawa-based idea of a senator in the Canadian Parliament.

The disconnect between team name and image puts the Ottawa logo at an immediate disadvantage. Also not helping: the cartoony look. It’s almost too detailed, too comic booky, to place on a hockey sweater. The poor, overly serious fella attracts teasing. You want to swipe the helmet off his head and run circles around him until he complains you’ll get him in trouble with his manager at the Caesar’s Palace casino.

Think you can improve on the Senators design? Submit your artwork to editorial@thehockeynews.com. When we complete our logo rankings, we’ll share our favorite redesigns from readers. You can submit a drawing for all 30 NHL logos if you desire.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE SENATORS LOGO

The Ottawa Senators existed as a franchise in the late 1800s and lasted a few decades before folding, but they aren’t technically the same franchise as today’s version.

The “new” Ottawa Senators were founded in 1990, and a pre-launch logo popped up on T-shirts and hoodies all over the city by 1991. It was accurate, with the two Ts forming a representation of the Peace Tower. But it wasn’t pretty. Think for a moment how plain and ugly the logo is… then stop and realize what the Washington Capitals have gotten away with for years.

 

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NHL logo rankings No. 23: Winnipeg Jets

Matt Larkin
JetsTOP

The No. 23 spot in the THN logo rankings belongs to the Winnipeg Jets. Popular team with its fans, not so popular among anyone predicting the 2014-15 Central Division standings, and not so popular in the logo department. That said, as we creep up toward the middle of the logo ladder, each ranking becomes more contentious and closer to split down the middle. Winnipeg’s critics outweigh its supporters, but the anti-Jet sentiment isn’t unanimous.

We can at at least say team’s design depicts what it’s supposed to depict, unlike jumbled messes such as, say, Colorado’s. There’s no debating that a fighter jet adorns Winnipeg’s sweaters. Another plus: the logo is inspired by the Royal Canadian Air Force. Simple, understated design and a historical connection? That should be a recipe for a high rank, but “simple” is the operative word. It’s too basic. The plane is just dropped on top of the existing Air Force logo.

Most of the THN staffers laughed this logo out of the room, comparing it to Microsoft Word’s Clip Art. Remember Clip Art images? Those stock photos and cartoony symbols you printed off your computer to take up space on your science fair Bristol boards? The Jets logo has that feel to it. The plane itself has very little detail and the Maple Leaf feels like a lazy attempt to placate fans of a Canadian team. The logo looks more like a glorified shoulder patch in the eyes of its haters.

Do you agree the Jets logo was slapped together too quickly? Try your hand at a new design, preferably without using Clip Art. Draft up a hot new look and send it to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the conclusion of our logo rankings, we’ll share our favorite redesign submissions from readers. Don’t stop with the Jets, either. You can try your hand at all 30 NHL logos if you want.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE JETS LOGO

Don’t confuse the Jets with the, er, Jets. The original Winnipeg Jets belong to Arizona Coyotes canon. The modern Jets extend from the ugly, pitiful roots of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise.

What on Earth is a Thrasher? Even though the franchise’s horrific uniforms had an unmistakably “Xtreme” feel to them, the Thrasher name didn’t come out of nowhere. The brown thrasher is actually Georgia’s state bird, and fans voted in the team name. Second place, the Flames, would’ve been awkward for Atlanta and Calgary. Those voters had evidently never heard of the embarrassing Rough Riders/Roughriders debacle in the CFL.

The brown thrasher isn’t an intimidating bird, but it’s elegant enough and could’ve made for a decent logo. Alas, this team was founded in the late 1990s, at the peak of ugly new-age jerseys. The result was this:

 

Sigh. It looks like someone stuck a bird’s head in a bowl of butterscotch pudding and stirred it with a hockey stick.

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NHL logo rankings No. 24: Los Angeles Kings

Adam Proteau
KINGSlogo (via sportslogos.net)

The Los Angeles Kings may have won two of the past three Stanley Cup championships, but in THN’s current NHL logo ranking contest, they’re not nearly as much of a mover-and-shaker. Our in-house panel of judges ranked L.A.’s current logo 24th overall.

The Kings’ straight-ahead approach to this incarnation of their logo – featuring the initials of the city above the crown that in some form has been a part of every logo since the organization’s inception in 1967 – isn’t especially creative or eye-catching. Sure, it’s better than some of their more daring fashion experiments, but that’s damning with faint praise.

Maybe you think you could improve on the Kings’ current logo. If so, submit it to editorial@thehockeynews.com – and once our logo rankings conclude, we’ll share them online.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE KINGS LOGO

When the Kings debuted in the 1967-68 season, they wore purple jerseys at home and gold on the road. The colors were chosen by team owner and expat Canadian Jack Kent Cooke, and represented royalty – and to match nicely with the color scheme of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. The crown logo that appeared on the jersey differed from the primary logo.

After eight seasons, the Kings changed logos for the first time. The team added horizontal lines around the name to provide a sense of speed, and kept their second logo for eight years (while also adding purple pants after spending their initial seasons wearing gold pants).

In 1988, the Kings’ logo changed drastically. Gone was the purple and gold, replaced by a black-and-silver version of their previous logo. The change coincided with the acquisition of NHL icon Wayne Gretzky, and their new colors were a match with a different L.A. team – the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders (who have since relocated back to their original home in Oakland). Because there were no throwback jersey nights, Gretzky would never wear purple and gold in his eight years with the organization. Read more