Saturday: It's in The Numbers

Welcome to the Saturday post, you know it's Jets96 instead of Ryan, so if to you I'm the Lisa Simpson or Poochie of the HJC writers, feel free to skip. You'll see Ryan's Weekend Update on Monday where my post would usually be.

During a conversation with the other HJC writers, the subject of Leafs jerseys came up, and the fact that the Leafs, to my surprise, made a subtle change to their numbers between the 2000-01 and 01-02 seasons. Quick history lesson- Following the 1996-97 season, the Leafs would take their dive into the late 90s design trends and for the only time in their history, wore round numbers full time. Most fans like this look in passing, but the numbers were squared off, though had the same silver outline and would continue to through the CCM 550 era. In the first year of those squared numbers, the silver outline was A LOT thicker on the tv number.

Case in point, my lovely model Dmitry Yushkevich will show you:

Thick outline for 2000-2001

Thick outline from 2001-07

It's difficult to tell, but come the 2003-04 season, with the over the top trends of the 90s finally dying down, it's a lot cleaner of a look when the silver is minimal However there is something really nice about the thick outline of the 2000 jerseys. It doesn't look like much, but for a fan looking for an authentic jersey from that year or just likes over the top trends, it makes a difference.

So with this in mind, let's look at some other short lived subtle number and font styles teams have had over the past several years, why they changed, and what kind of difference it makes.

Calgary Flames 2003-04 black name font.

Photo from Calgary Herald 
When the Flames introduced the new home red jerseys in 2003-04, they were a huge hit. Even today they are widely regarded as some of the best jerseys the team had ever worn. The jersey did have its growing pains in the beginning. Originally, the entire jersey was supposed to have all black numbers, logo and name font. Fans would complain throughout the beginning of the season, and white name font was used instead for the rest of this jersey's life and up to and including the current jerseys. The funny thing is despite this change, the black name jerseys don't fetch much more than the regular version with the horse head shoulder patch. The main reason being most fans fans a 2004 Stanley Cup Finals patch, which would mean the white NOB to be authentic. 

1991-92 Minnesota North Stars green name font

Photo from sportslogos.net
Very few photos exist of these numbers, and for a good reason. When the North Stars brought out their new 1991 logo and jerseys, their font matched the numbers a lot more, and admittedly would have added some character to these otherwise bland jerseys that looked A LOT better in Dallas. Similar to Calgary though, the numbers were hard to read, particularly on the black jersey, where green letters were very hard to read even with the tiny white outline. Rather than changing the colour of the names to green to white, they scraped it all together and brought in a block font. If you can actually find one of these Minnesota jerseys, it might be something to ask your local jersey place to try to do, but you'd need to know someone who knows the font. 

1977-78 Toronto Maple Leafs Harold Ballard Stunt

Photos from nhluniforms.com

The Leafs in the 70s were the pinnacle of mediocre for a playoff team, and very likely would have been a Cup contender, particularly in 1977-78, if not for the antics of Harold Ballard. Besides the coaching carousel and trading a young Bernie Parent for nothing, Ballard felt that jerseys should never have names on their back. The NHL mandated for the 1977 season that both jerseys need names, even the Cleveland Barons and Colorado Rockies had names on their jerseys, but Ballard stuck to tradition. The NHL gave him an ultimatum, $10k fine or you put 3 inch letters on the jersey, but like a smart ass kid, Ballard made the letters on the back of the blue jerseys blue (you can see the outline on the photo of the left. The NHL was not amused, so then Ballard put a blue name bar with no jerseys. The team would put regular letters for 1978-79, but for Leafs fans, it's just another reason why the 70s sucked for them. This one is the easiest of the fonts mentioned to get done, all you need is to tell the jersey place to use the blue letters for the white jersey. You'll get lots of thumbs up from Leafs fans for a good sense of humour. 

1982-83 Detroit Red Wings Fancy Font

Photo from the goaliesarchive.com
When Detroit's red jersey started using white numbers rather than red with a white outline in 1937, that was the last time the Red Wings changed their numbers from then until 1982, and they would not change from 1983 until now. For one season, the Red Wings decided their block font wasn't unique enough, and instead chose these rounded numbers for one season along with an arched namebar. They look nice enough, and looked great on the 2014 WC jerseys, but I could not see these being used full time. Who knows? Maybe if the Wings had won a cup that year they'd feel more natural. If you want these, so long as the place you're getting the numbers done at did the 2014 WC font, all they'd need to do is cut the numbers from the regular material.

2000-01 Columbus Blue Jackets Fat numbers

Photo from International Hockey Archives

The Blue Jackets are one of the few teams to have worn a rounded font for their entire history; it's something that defines their look. However the original numbers worn in 2000 compared to the numbers of any other year have one major difference; width. The 0s and 8s particularly are A LOT wider on the 2000 jerseys. My lovely model Geoff Sanderson has the best example. It's a subtle difference, but a truly authentic inaugural Blue Jackets jersey would have the numbers on the right along with the patch and making sure to have the beautiful Stinger patch.

Any fonts I missed? Which one would you want on a jersey?

All week the HJC writers have been giving you ideas for concepts, so I have one for you. Use an old font and build a jersey around it! Maybe the English D logo and the fancy Red Wings font? Or a fat font with Stinger? Get experimental! And hey, give Yushkevich some love, Leafs fans!

Voting is pretty simple this week! We have the COTW vote which is NOT up yet. Stay tuned for that as Ryan is away on a trip until Monday, when that vote will go live. 

On with today's 3 concepts! 


Toronto Maple Leafs Concepts (By: FC Macbeth)

+ FC, your execution in this concept is the best I've seen from you yet. There's a lot of thought put into this concept and I look forward in seeing you continue to improve
+ I am now a fan of the Leafs logo on a chest stripe thanks to the 2016 CC jerseys, and the 67 stripes look fantastic on the chest
+ While the template makes the jersey feel like 2009 and not 2017, but it kind of works
+ I like the inclusion of grey

- The blending of eras here works for most of the jersey, but some things need to change. Mainly the shoulder patches from the 70s not really working with the current lead
- Those leaf patches are done properly...but they're upside-down 
- The namebar and numbers are too far apart, and I think that's because the numbers are too low

Rating: 7.5/10

Washington Capitals? Concepts (By: Sebastian B.)

+ I will say this, the Washington Senators capitol building logo makes a great shoulder patch in the 1996-2007 colour scheme
+ Home jersey with the bronze arms has the right idea
+ Numbers are done well, though a little small on the back

- The white jersey is very plain without having the blue arms. Columbia blue arms would save the at jersey along with some small hem striping and that small amount of striping on the arms under the black on the bronze arms
- Script is very pixelated
- Reason why I say this is a Capitals? concept is because there's nothing other than the name that says if this is meant for the Caps, or the Sens, or if this is a cross over
- Sourcing your logos is always nice, but unless you want a URL on the back of the white jersey 
- Would be nice to see some gear
- Reebok hasn't used the vector logo since Spring 2011on the back of the collar

Rating: 4.5/10

Friendship Middle School Firebirds Concepts (By: Chris W.)

+ When I was in middle school, you were lucky if your team wore Buffalug templates. These would be amazing for a middle school to wear, especially that alternate
+ Logos are all really well done and chosen well across all 3 jerseys
+ Home and road remind me of the 97-00 Leafs mixed with the podium jersey Flames, two of my favourite jerseys of that era
+ Great execution

- NOB is a little small 

Rating: 9.25/10 COTW Nom from em!
Saturday: It's in The Numbers Reviewed by winnipegjets96 on August 19, 2017 Rating: 5


FC Macbeth said...

Grey? More like silver as I intended to.

Unknown said...

The Oilers in 1980-81 season went from a two colour name font (http://d2ydh70d4b5xgv.cloudfront.net/images/5/0/edmonton-oilers-1980-81-unsigned-nhl-hockey-8x10-glossy-photo-gretzky-messier-13ef86118e15119aec95dadd004869f7.jpg) to a single colour (https://i.ytimg.com/vi/BjEcUa99UIc/hqdefault.jpg) by the end of the season

TC Moore said...

I'll second the Firebirds for COTW. Those unis are better than some pro sets.

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