The Summer of Ugly Jerseys

Jonathan Willis
September 07 2013 08:54AM

I remember being slightly disappointed when the Dallas Stars unveiled their new sweaters back in June. At the time there was no way I could know that compared to the other jersey unveilings to come this summer they’d look awfully good.

The Olympic Jerseys

When the American jerseys were revealed, there was swift mockery. Look at the stupid plastic-y stars! Look at the hideous fake laces! Then came the now famous picture of Jonathan Toews with the same stupid laces and plastic-looking finish around the shoulders, the single arm band, and the gas station-inspired crest (Petro-Canada is a proud supporter of the Olympics: coincidence?).

The American and Canadian jerseys aren’t entirely terrible, but the fake laces Nike is pushing on all the Olympic jerseys are just an incredibly ugly innovation.

Buffalo!

The Buffalo Sabres have an incredibly mixed tradition when it comes to jerseys. The original logo and the blue and gold colouring is iconic and for my money one of the best looking in the NHL; I don’t like the modern version quite as much but it’s still very good. However, they also used the infamous Buffaslug, one of the ugliest jerseys in NHL history.

Remarkably, despite using the classic logo, the Sabres managed to top the Buffaslug disaster. Two shades of yellow in the front, a cape in the back, large (and mismatched) fonts for the numbers and letters, duct tape on the sleeves; it’s incredible that the design was ever proposed, let alone accepted by the team.

Dallas

The new logo is sort of disappointing – I thought the ‘D’ and the star looked a little funny together when I first saw it and haven’t changed my mind but the colour scheme is nice, the lacing is nice, and there’s nothing especially stupid about the way they’ve put it all together. Huzzah, Dallas!

Minnesota’s new whites & the tweaks

Probably the only clean win of the summer, Minnesota’s new white road jerseys don’t try to do anything too dramatic – there’s no redesigned logo, no hideous new colour scheme, no mismatched arm bands or anything of the like. Whoever designed them stuck with the Wild’s (nice) colours, stuck lacing in at the collar and let it go at that. The teams fans – and anyone else that watches the team play – should be grateful.

San Jose simplified their jerseys a little bit, as did Carolina; I like the changes but they are pretty simple ones.

Recently around the Nation Network

Good news out of Vancouver; the Canucks will retire Pavel Bure's No. 10 during their November 2 contest against Toronto:

Pavel Bure's iconic Number 10 will be raised to the rafters at the Rog on Saturday, November 2nd when the Canucks host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bure doesn't have a familiar legacy with any current Leafs, nor did any of his best moments come against them, but this is during Hockey Night in Canada's feature game starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, meaning all of Canada gets to sit in front of the tube and gawk at what a wonderful hockey player Pavel Bure was.

Click the link above for more details or check out some of my recent work:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 justDOit
September 07 2013, 09:19AM
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@Batfink

I think the geared oil drop is about as bad as it gets.

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#2 Quicksilver ballet
September 07 2013, 09:31AM
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Can sure see a Gotham City Rouges (Dark Night Rises) thing going on with the Sabres yellow version. Could be a success for Sabres merchandising. Fans won't understand why they need to have one of these jerseys, but they'll be purchasing it.

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#3 Dan 1919
September 07 2013, 09:29AM
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Besides the tacky looking laces, the Canadian jerseys look really good. Nice to see them going eccentric vs the same old style like the Jets and now the Stars did.

Buffalo on the other hand, looks like they better pull out the crayon box again and let and 8 year old try instead of a 6 year old.

The American shield is tacky and boring, too power rangerish.

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#4 Quicksilver ballet
September 07 2013, 09:13AM
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Gagners own personal boogeyman....Oilers could sure use a Steve Ott this season. As the talent continues to mature, it'll be great to not have to worry about every penalty the Oilers take. Ott type penalties often serve a purpose.

MacTavish should keep and eye on Ott's availability this coming season. Would be cheaper to trade for, and extend, than compete with the UFA crowd next summer.

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#5 oilers2k10
September 07 2013, 10:20AM
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If team Canada wins gold at the olympics those Jerseys will sell for years, and become iconic. If they stink it up and end up 5th place or something everyone will blame it on the ugly jerseys.

I hate Buffalo's 3rd Jerseys.

Best third jerseys of all time are the last Oilers 3rd Jerseys.

USA's jerseys are ok, the stars look lame but again if they win gold everyone will learn to love em.

Winnipeg Jets have an amazing Jersey and Logo.

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#6 Gofucoffee
September 07 2013, 06:39PM
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OMG!! The oil drop and gear cog can't be real? Thats the worst logo I've ever seen. Please someone tell me this isn't real.

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#7 Fresh Mess
September 07 2013, 09:16AM
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I completely agree JW. I would like to see the NHL bring in a rule that allows teams to change their sweaters only once every ten years. It would build tradition and make these guys think long and hard before they unleash some of these horrific designs.

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#8 Czar
September 07 2013, 09:41AM
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How many friggin Canadian jerseys is guy going to have to buy in his lifetime? Not big on the new Petro design,do you get a free car wash with each jersey purchased? Maybe a set of tumblers?

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#9 Geoff
September 07 2013, 11:45AM
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I personally thought last years Dallas jersey was really nice. Then they went and changed it :(

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#10 gary b
September 07 2013, 09:19AM
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Sabres 3rd is a disaster, but at least it's a 3rd jersey, and not the primary look.

Nike may be leaders when it comes to jersey tech and innovation, but they should be banned from ever doing jersey design ever again. They've almost single-handedly ruined college football jerseys forever (see Oregon Ducks, for starters). and now this olympic mess? jeesus, those are awful.

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#11 Batfink
September 07 2013, 09:20AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

I completely agree JW. I would like to see the NHL bring in a rule that allows teams to change their sweaters only once every ten years. It would build tradition and make these guys think long and hard before they unleash some of these horrific designs.

I agree with the sentiment, but new designs have very carefully calculated release times to maximise market sector profit. Shame they didn't have carefully calculated market reaction factored in!

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#12 Batfink
September 07 2013, 09:21AM
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Seems to be a world wide theme. Liverpool FC's new kit is also a terrible throw back to the 80s.

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#13 Dangilitis
September 07 2013, 09:41AM
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If Ott was honest, he would have tweeted #miseryonlybeginning (for both the 3rd jersey, and the team's performance woes)

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#14 J-Dogg
September 07 2013, 02:11PM
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Hard to beat a classic like the original Buffalo jersey, but I was also a big fan of the late 90's early 00's Black, White, Silver and Red ones, great logo.

I found an interesting concept using that logo with the OG colours.

Dunno if they mix, but it's miles ahead of that crap Ott is wearing.

http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/264/c/d/buffalo_sabres_jersey_concept_by_pd_black_dragon-d2z7shl.png

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#15 Wax Man Riley
September 07 2013, 04:08PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

Wow...I am already sick to see some of the worst jerseys ever designed and now marketed (or shortly).

Hey dudes... are some of those designers smoking something or traking something???? cause their brains must be fried.

This is horrible to see and I for one absolutely hate the new Olympic jersey style for Canada. Win the Gold or not....I wont be wasting good money on that type jersey.

Gonna have to keep changing the colour button controls on my TV when during the games I watch...lol.

I also want to say that as an original Oilers' fan from since 1979-80....I love the original jerseys. While I am at it....Hey Bettman!!!!.... bring back the home jerseys for games and use the darks on the road.

To the Public....I know there are those who collect jerseys as "Collectors" but you people out there....Don't Buy These Types - You'e wasting your money big time!!!!!

I contest that if the designers were smoking something, they would be a bit more creative.

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#16 YFC Prez
September 08 2013, 05:17AM
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Gofucoffee wrote:

OMG!! The oil drop and gear cog can't be real? Thats the worst logo I've ever seen. Please someone tell me this isn't real.

seriously?!

You must be a youngin

It's a real jersey, and not from all that long ago. Designed by Todd Mcfarlane

The five rivets encircling the oil drop are a representation of the oilers 5 Stanley cups, and there are 10 gears in total for the oilers 10 captains at the time.

I used to love this jersey not only for the tradition it honors but also one of Calgary's best and most famous citizens created it......EAT IT FLAMES FANS.

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#17 Batfink
September 07 2013, 09:16AM
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Awesome article. Every time we argue what was the worst Oiler's jersey, we can have a warm fuzzy feeling that NONE of them is as bad as some of these!

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#18 Czar
September 07 2013, 09:40AM
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How many friggin Canadian jerseys is guy going to have to buy in his lifetime? Not big on the new Petro design,do you get a free car wash with each jersey purchased? Maybe a set of tumblers?

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#19 toprightcorner
September 07 2013, 10:43AM
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Teams and apparently countries, need to start hiring designers that are hockey people instead of general graphic and clothing designers. It amazes me that almost every time that a team unveils a new jersey, it gets lambasted in the hockey world, yet the next team makes the same mistakes.

I know teams do this to make more money and sell more product but if it is ugly, not as many people will buy it. How can an entire league be so moronic when it comes to designing ugly jerseys. The other sports aren't much better.

Jersey's are just becoming a joke now a days and it is about time a team just nailed it by designing a kick-butt jersey that combines tradition and style.

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#20 Geoff
September 07 2013, 11:47AM
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Wait a minute isn't the single armband on the Canadian jersey something from the uniforms of nazi germany? lol

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#21 Greg the Hammer Valentine
September 07 2013, 12:32PM
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Am I the only one who thinks Carolina's logo looks like a flushing toilet?

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#22 Ari Gold
September 07 2013, 03:06PM
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Steve Ott in the copper n blue would pop me a chub. Yes I said it!

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#23 WhattaMike
September 07 2013, 03:59PM
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Wow...I am already sick to see some of the worst jerseys ever designed and now marketed (or shortly).

Hey dudes... are some of those designers smoking something or traking something???? cause their brains must be fried.

This is horrible to see and I for one absolutely hate the new Olympic jersey style for Canada. Win the Gold or not....I wont be wasting good money on that type jersey.

Gonna have to keep changing the colour button controls on my TV when during the games I watch...lol.

I also want to say that as an original Oilers' fan from since 1979-80....I love the original jerseys. While I am at it....Hey Bettman!!!!.... bring back the home jerseys for games and use the darks on the road.

To the Public....I know there are those who collect jerseys as "Collectors" but you people out there....Don't Buy These Types - You'e wasting your money big time!!!!!

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#24 Oilerz4life
September 07 2013, 04:03PM
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Doesn't make a difference what any other team wears. The only jersey that matters has an oil drop in the crest.

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#25 WhattaMike
September 07 2013, 04:23PM
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@Wax Man Riley....

LMAO....Yeah....my bad... I actually agree with ya there on the point ya just made....lol.

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#26 Jay Gray
September 07 2013, 05:04PM
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I actually liked the new Dallas jerseys. Kinda reminded me of the old Hartford Whalers jerseys. I loved those. #frankpietrangelo

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#27 ianberg1
September 07 2013, 06:21PM
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The Buffalo Sabres "sperm" logo is worse.

http://www.sports-logos-screensavers.com/user/BuffaloSabres.jpg

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#28 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
September 07 2013, 06:37PM
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Worst jerseys.... 1. LA's purple n black with the silver "sash" and the Kings head up in the corner. 2. Boston's mustard yellow with the Bears head. 3. NYI-Captain HighLiner 4. Calgary's Flaming Horse...actually, come to think of it, ANYTHING with a Flaming C sucks.

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#29 cabaj
September 07 2013, 07:59PM
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#30 Racki
September 07 2013, 10:03PM
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What's odd is a lot of people seemed to be really liking the Dallas jersey when it was revealed. My thoughts were that they were hideous. Well.. not hideous.. more like boring.

Dallas used to have great jerseys (the all black one, with green, gold, that had the yellow star on it, and the big green star pattern). I'm not sure why they felt the need to change that... why they went to the bland jersey with DALLAS on the front, and then now this new jersey. That slightly older jersey was pretty sexy.

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#31 Bushed
September 07 2013, 10:11PM
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All NHL jerseys are subjected to the ugly (and uncomfortable) NHL crest in the neck. Get rid of it and bring back some traditional open laced-neck designs, for a start.

The laces over the NHL neck insert thingy just look stupid. (Minnesota's jersey would look even better without it).

Put the NHL crest on the back of the sweater at the bottom, where it used to be.

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#32 Benson
September 07 2013, 10:51PM
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For an over-the-top but pretty funny look at this jersey check out

http://hockeybydesign.com/2013/09/hbd-news-new-minnesota-wild-and-buffalo-sabres-jerseys/

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#33 K_Mart
September 08 2013, 10:49AM
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I must be crazy. But I think the new Canadian jerseys are sweet. Not a fan of the plastic finish around the shoulders but the rest is pretty bad ass looking.

I'd rank it as my 2nd favourite Canadian jersey behind the 1972 jerseys http://www.icejerseys.com/images/products/33/Team-Canada-1972-Commemorative-Replica-Hockey-Jersey-(AwayWhite)-N8602_XL.jpg

I get the comparisons to the petro logo in the sense that they both use the maple leaf, and they both use Canada's colours, but really, just because they cut off the stem from the leaf doesn't exactly make it a gas station logo in my eyes.

Kudos to the designers for trying something new for once. Not that keeping a more traditional look would've been bad, but it definitely doesn't wow anyone.

At least this design makes a statement, love it or hate it, you can't deny the fact that the designers took some risks as opposed to playing it safe and keeping the same theme that's been around for the last 15 years

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#34 Gofucoffee
September 08 2013, 06:28PM
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@YFC Prez

Ok hang on here, I'm not talkin about the old third jersey. I'm talkin about the gaud awful oil drop and cog on the original colors. And I'm far from a "young" fan I bleed blue and orange the oil logo is not one to %#+k with its going to be a classic like Detroit, Habs and Boston. Leave it alone! And Calgary sux please don't ever call me a fan of the flamers again!

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#35 Hauk15
September 09 2013, 08:57PM
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That jersey Toews has on is just completely hideous. I loved the jerseys from 2010 and don't see why they would go from that jersey to those atrocious jerseys. The American jersey looks better, ours are really that bad.

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#36 Hauk15
September 09 2013, 09:04PM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

Besides the tacky looking laces, the Canadian jerseys look really good. Nice to see them going eccentric vs the same old style like the Jets and now the Stars did.

Buffalo on the other hand, looks like they better pull out the crayon box again and let and 8 year old try instead of a 6 year old.

The American shield is tacky and boring, too power rangerish.

No. That jersey is uglier than a pile of donkey crap. You must be a Flames fan just for saying that.

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