There was a lot of hoopla over this week’s reveal of the 2015 NHL All-Star jerseys, so I thought I’d rank the 5 best and 5 worst NHL All-Star jerseys of all time.
THE 5 BEST:
5. The “McDonald’s” Star Jerseys (1994-1997). I nicknamed these the McDonald’s jerseys because the letter/number font was the same seen in McDonald’s advertising of the era; also the fast-food chain was a big league sponsor at the time, offering its customers hockey cards and toys (at least here in Canada). But I digress! These jerseys have an unmistakable 90’s look to them, with bold teal, grey, and purple colors. I prefer the East’s teal-and-white to the West’s purple-and-black. The Dallas Stars enlisted this template for a decade (1997 – 2007), and they looked really good wearing it.
4. The 80’s In Black (1989). About half of all the All-Star jerseys worn were black, white, and orange; essentially the colors of the NHL shield (since changed to silver and black after the lockout of 2004-2005), so it was tough to choose a top 5! I liked this 1989 black jersey because it’s so representative of the 21-team era, with its basic lines and colors.
3. The Classy Fauxbacks (2004). When Minnesota hosted the game in 2004, both teams were treated to retro-looking throwback jerseys, featuring a vintage white. I personally like the green Western jersey, and so did the Wild, it became the basis for their new alternate jersey.
2. The 80’s In White (1988). This one is a cleaner design than the ’89 one above, so it ranks higher with me. I prefer the home white to the orange away jersey used for this game, mainly because the NHL logo stands out better on white. The jersey is a bit Philadelphia Flyers-esque, probably why it works so well. The lighter orange also looks more eye-catching than the ’89 number.
1. 1990’s Throwback (1992). The league celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1992, and to mark the occasion throwbacks commemorating the 1947-1959 games were worn. These look fantastic in every way. Perhaps we’ll see them again for the 100th anniversary in 2017?
THE 5 WORST:
5. The Football Jerseys (1960 – 1963). The large number on the front, the weird shoulder yoke…I don’t know what they were thinking with this one.
4. The Rugby Jerseys (2000-2001). These aren’t horrible, but they appear to be celebrating a different sport altogether: rugby. Just cut the forearms off and you have a decent rugby (or football) jersey. Perhaps that was the intention, as the NHL had the North America Vs. World format at the time, requiring a more “global” look. The small NHL logo on the front is poor branding for a hockey team, and can only be appreciated by those standing nearby.
3. The Asymmetrical Jerseys (2009). You know those hockey jerseys that are spliced together from 2 different jerseys? That’s what these look like. At the time the Atlanta Thrashers also had a lame-duck jersey that was asymmetrical, but the NHL didn’t learn from that and decided to forge ahead with these oddities. At least they had a decent color combination, which can’t be said for…
2. The Monochromatic Jerseys (2011-2012). They look like practice jerseys designed by Rob Liefeld (all the swooshy/dynamic lines on the forearms). I didn’t follow or watch these All-Star games, so when I dug up these pictures I was a bit shocked. NHL bigwigs thought it would be okay to dress-up their top stars as pink salmon and the very water rapids they swim in?? The neon inseam in the collars foreshadowed the succeeding design…
1. The Xbox Controllers (2015-?). The chrome logos used in the 2014 Stadium Series were met with widespread ridicule, so for some reason the NHL decided to revisit that design misfire and chrome-up the logo here. Most of the visual interest (namely the stripes) was placed inside the sleeves, I’m guessing they serve to reflect or echo the NHL shield on the front. And lastly, that much talked about neon green! It works for the Seahawks because they use it sparingly, and also because they play on a green turf. Time will tell if these work on a white ice surface at high speed (especially that white jersey).
Looking over the years it appears the NHL is using the All-Star game to experiment with designs rather than make a marketable jersey; possibly due to the one-off nature of the All-Star game, or maybe All-Star jerseys just don’t put up good sales numbers to begin with. Either way I hope the NHL starts putting forth jerseys worthy of the NHL stars wearing them.