Here at HJC, we do a lot of redesigns. The artists who send their work to this site are constantly thinking of ways to improve hockey designs and forward the evolving aesthetic of the sport we all love. Over the years, almost all teams have chosen to redesign their jerseys and logos. Some have been very successful, putting them on the cutting edge of athletic design. Others have gone down in a dumpster fire of hate, and some designs go quietly in the night, leaving no lasting trace or legacy of their existence. Today, we are going to look at those who were successful, and discuss what made them successful. I've scoured the internets, weighed all the pros and cons of every redesigns in NHL history, and here are the ones that I believe are the most successful redesigns ever.
In my evaluation, I considered the following criteria:
- Is it an improvement over the previous set?
- Will the set stand the test of time?
- Is the design evolutionary, or revolutionary?
- Any redesigns that are re-introductions of previous sets were not included.
|Image Credit: predators.nhl.com|
|Image Credit: predators.nhl.com|
When the Predators decided to change their branding, they went all-out, and they were hugely successful. The old Pred Head, one of the worst logos in sports, was vastly improved. No longer did the Preds fans have to endure looking at that anime-esque monstrosity. I honestly felt the logo was beyond saving, but this redesign changed my mind. The "goldification" of Nashville was almost instant. Look at the above picture from the 2012 game 5 playoff win over Detroit (I was there by the way, best sports atmosphere I've ever experienced) the fan base fully embraced gold as our color. If you go to a game, or look in the stands, you'll see massive amounts of those gold jerseys. No one wears the old Reebok set anymore. Those days are long gone after one of the most successful re-brands in league history. The jerseys may change again one day, but gold is Nashville's color, and it's here to stay.
|Image Credit: stars.nhl.com|
|Image Credit: stars.nhl.com|
This scores extremely high in improvement. The Stars old set are my least favorite jerseys of all time. They were like some bastardization of baseball and hockey, but the new set got a lot of fans right from the start. The green is the perfect shade, and Dallas finally shook the last of the old North Stars branding. This design has the potential to be a classic in Dallas, and I would love to own one of their green jerseys. Green needed to make a comeback in the league, and Dallas brought it back in style.
|Image Credit: fanbase.com|
|Image Credit: hhof.com|
The Toronto Maple Leafs 1967-1970 set is already a classic, having been brought back as an alternate. Although it wasn't used very long, it remains my favorite set in Leafs history. The leaf was cleaned up, looking more reminiscent of the maple leaf on the Canadian flag, and the striping matches the socks! Just look at the picture of Terry Sawchuk in his goalie gear. Isn't that a great looking hockey game? The Leafs haven't won the cup since these were discontinued. Coincidence? Yes, but if we say it isn't, can we bring this back?
|Image Credit: nhl.com|
|Image Credit: sptimes.com|
I'm not saying New Jersey's original set was bad, but the red/green Christmas colors didn't really make much sense when your name is the Devils. In 1992, they redesigned their jerseys to these classics and haven't looked back. They haven't even come out with an alternate; not that they need to. New Jersey redesigned their jerseys once, and will never need to redesign them again. I wouldn't change a thing about them.
|Image Credit: blackhawks.nhl.com|
|Image Credit: blackhawklegends.blogspot.com|
Chicago's jerseys are almost always near the top of everyone's jersey list, and for good reason. They haven't always looked good, though. The Blackhawks wore jerseys that had too many stripes, a remnant of an era of sports designs that had already past by the time Chicago finally redesigned their look in 1955. There have been some subtle changes over the years, but this design has proved to be one of the most enduring in sports, and likely will not change again for long years to come.
Do you disagree, or feel I left any important redesigns off my list? Be sure to make your voice heard in our comments section!
Let's get down to business. Here are today's concepts:
***Edit by Ryan***
Montreal Quebecors (Antonio C.)
On Wednesday Brian B. gave us a jersey set for the Montreal Canadiens if Quebec ever separated from Canada. He renamed them the Montreal Quebecors and now Antonio has given us a look at Pierre Karl Peladeau wearing the blue concept. Mr. Peladeau is a member of the Parti Québécois, a party which tends to be attracted to ideas of Quebec becoming their own country. He's also the former CEO of Quebecor Media.
United States Air Force Concept - Patrick N.
What I like: I appreciate the detail in putting an Air Force wordmark on the helmet. The stripe on the yoke is a good touch.
What I dislike: It's a bit plain, and I would expect a few more patriotic references on an USAF jersey. Right now, if you take the logo off, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a Maple Leafs fauxback. The logo on the jersey has a lot of meticulous details for such a simple jersey. The numbers are all a bit small. Also, pair light jerseys with light helmets.
Overall: A few changes and a dark jersey to match, and this would make a good set for the USAF. (7.5/10)
Schwenninger Wild Wings Concept - Bastian S.
What I like: The striping pattern and yoke work very well together, especially on the white jersey. The thin number font is a great choice as well, because the striping and yoke are so thick, it helps balance it out. Both logos look great. I appreciate that Bastian always takes the time to put logos on his helmets. Execution is pixel-perfect. Any and all up-and-coming artists would do well to study Bastian's level of detail and consistency.
What I dislike: The only qualm I have is a small matter of presentation. I think if the logos presented on the dark gray side panel were spaced a little farther apart, it might help take out some of the dead space on the concept. Very small complaint, though.
Overall: I wish more European teams looked this good. (9/10)
Carolina Hurricanes Concept - Bastian S.
What I like: I think the Hurricanes could pull off a gray jersey. We've seen the amount of gray concepts increasing in recent years, especially since the Kings Stadium Series jersey debuted. I've always favored the flag logo over the Swirlicane. The hem pattern is wonderful. I miss the flag pattern. Detail and execution are phenomenal, as always.
What I dislike: I'm not big on the arm stripes. I would make the white stripes red, and the gray in between white. I think that would balance the color a little better.
Overall: This would make a great alternate for the Hurricanes; with one small change, I would call it near perfect. (8.5/10)
Carolina Hurricanes Alternate Concept - Garrett F.
What I like: The flag pattern looks good on the sleeves. I like how Garrett outlines the flag pattern with gray. I prefer the Hurricanes in black.
What I dislike: The chest striping is at odds with the logo; both compete for the eye. There are some white elements left on the outside of the logo that look out of place against the chest striping. The name font is a couple points too large. It would be hard to fit "Loktionov" and "Komisarek" on the back. The jersey doesn't really need the yoke.
Overall: A couple small changes, and this could make a great alternate. (7.5/10)
Carolina Hurricanes Concept - Danny R.
What I like: Hey, another Hurricanes concept! This comes from a post on our Leave an Idea page by Kris Knudson. It's a novel concept, doing a Hurricanes jersey in North Carolina colors. The shoulder logo is especially clever. I really like the detail on the cuffs! The flag logo still looks good recolored.
Overall: I could be wrong, but I the number font is the Coyotes'. Never been a fan of that font. I would like to see the hurricane warning flag pattern on the arms as well. You should put some form of ID on this concept. You wouldn't want someone to claim this as their own work.
Overall: I love the Leave an Idea page. This is what can happen when a creative design idea meets good execution. (8.3/10)
Carolina Hurricanes Concept - Stephen T.
What I like: Our last Hurricane concept of the day is from Stephen. This one is also inspired by Kris Knudsen's idea posted on our Leave an Idea page. Stephen does a good job balancing the two-tone blue with white.
What I dislike: The primary logo, unlike the concept above, doesn't survive recoloring unscathed. It's also placed off-center on the jersey. That's an easy mistake to catch. In this case, the name on the back should be "E. STAAL" because there are two Staal brothers on the Hurricanes. The shoulder patches are not placed consistently. As always, no helmet logo.
Overall: I like the color balance and striping, but the detail just isn't there. (7/10)
Florida Panthers Concept - Stephen T.
What I like: The striping on the home jersey is more reminiscent of their original jerseys.
What I dislike: The primary logo is too large. It takes up a majority of the front of the jersey. The shoulder patches are too close to the numbers. Speaking of the alternate logos, they aren't done correctly. The Panthers' alternate logo has a hockey stick crossing over a palm tree. The left arms on the front, and right arms on the back should show the ends of the hockey stick and palm tree; like this. There are also some elements of the outline of the name on the white jersey that have not been recolored properly. Again, helmet logos. The Panthers used them when they made their league debut 21 years ago. I just don't see the point in even showing the helmet unless you're going to do something with it other than color it in.
Overall: Not a bad concept, but lack of execution and detail continue to hurt Stephen's concepts. (6.3/10)
Tampa Bay Lightning Concept - Stephen T.
What I like: Victory stripes. They are a must.
What I dislike: Some concepts can be so easily pictured in your mind that no visual representation is necessary. This is one of those concepts. I think we can all imagine Tampa's 1995-2001 set with the 2001-2011 primary logo applied to a Reebok Edge template, because that's all this is. I think I would like it better with the 1993-1994 number font. That font is criminally underrated. The one used here is terrible. It looked like someone carelessly painted it directly on the jersey. Do I need to mention helmet logos? Ok. Helmet logos. I've said it once and I'll say it again: take more time with your concepts. Be creative. Quality beats quantity every time.
Overall: Not much creativity here, and hardly a difficult jersey to recreate. (6/10)
Edmonton Oilers Concept - David P.
What I like: The alternate logo on the shoulder is a good touch.
What I dislike: I'm not a fan of this template. The Senators alternate jersey, like many of the Reebok templates, just isn't a very good design. There is some fairly heavy logo pixelation.
Overall: The template is the weakness here. (7.8/10)
Edmonton Oilers Concept - Tristan M.
What I like: This was Tristan's entry into the "Steel Drop" logo competition. As this was Ryan Smyth's last year, I appreciate Tristan putting his name on the back, and using his photo as the background. Execution and presentation are fantastic. It's a very clean design.
What I dislike: This is essentially the same design as Tristan's "Fishsticks" logo competition entry. It's a good design, but I would like to see something new. (side note: if you look at that Islanders concept, Gorton's Fisherman is in the background - nice touch, Tristan. I didn't catch it until now.)
Overall: It's a good design, but one that feels too familiar. (8/10)
Captain America: Winter Soldier Concept - Matt Mc.
What I like: Matt does a great job integrating Captain America's outfit from The Winter Soldier with a hockey jersey. Matt takes the aesthetic cues there and runs with them, to good effect on this jersey. The sublimated lines work really well here. I especially like how the design elements continue on the pants, socks, and even the helmet! That's great detailing. The font fits perfectly as well. Execution and presentation are flawless.
What I dislike: Nothing.
Overall: Perfect jersey for a superhero. I'd love to see a true American Hero like Seth Jones wear this. 'MERICA! (9.5/10) COTW nomination from me!
One more thing before I wind this down; if you haven't signed up for our HJC Meet-UP in Toronto, then what is your deal?! Go over to the Meet-Up page for details and send your form to Ryan for a ticket to the greatest jersey event in North America!
I hope you all enjoyed today's post. Be sure to nominate today's concepts that are deserving of the recognition. Matt's isn't the only one today that merits the honor! The last few weeks of voting has gone very well, so let's keep it up! If you don't, George Parros might "redesign" your face. Be sure to come back at the usual time tomorrow and see who wins Concept of the Week and the Steel Drop competition! I'll see all of you back here next week.