Era Review- 2010s

Welcome to a new series- Era Review

Similar to people, hockey jersey design can be broken down into generations. We are currently in one, there will be another one in the coming future, but for the sake of brevity let's say every 10 years.

We'll start with today's jerseys, and baring any sort of trend setting or groundbreaking jersey design in the next 2 years, I'm safe to say that 8 years in I've mapped out what I see as the good and bad trends we've seen come and go in this decade. If I missed any you tell me in the comments. 

The Good

A variety of colours are added back into the NHL colour palette :

Photo from ontheforecheck
In terms of design, the 2010s were not an era that started off well for the NHL. To give you an idea, these are jersey primary colours from when CCM took over (circa 2001), when Reebok took over (Summer 2007), and when Adidas (Summer 2017) took over as primary jersey manufacturer.

CCM  (2000-01)

Black- BOS, BUF, LAK, PHX, PIT, TBL, WSH (7)
Navy- ATL, CLM, EDM, NSH, NYI, VAN (6)
Other Blue- NYR, STL, TOR (3)
Teal- SJS (1)
Orange- PHI (1)
Eggplant- ANA (1)
Green- DAL, MIN (2)
Burgundy- COL (1)

Edge (2007-08)

Black- ANA, BOS, DAL, LAK, PHI, PIT, TBL (7)
Navy- BUF, CLM, EDM, FLA, NSH, NYI (6)
Other Blue- ATL, NYR, STL, TOR, VAN (5)
Teal- SJS (1)
Burgundy- COL, PHX (2)

Adidas (2017-18)

Black- ANA, BOS, LAK, PIT (4)
Orange- PHI, EDM (2)
Navy- BUF, CLM, WIN (3)
Blue- NYI, NYR, STL, TOR, TBL, VAN (6)
Yellow- NSH (1)
Teal- SJS (1)
Grey- VGK (1)
Green- DAL, MIN (2)
Burgundy- ARI, COL (2)

What you'll notice is in 2001, the league was colourful, but by 2007 (which saw no primary jersey colour changes to change these numbers between then and the beginning of the 2010s), 29 of the 30 teams wore some shade of red, black, or blue. This number would change substantially in this decade, to where now green and orange have been reintroduced to two teams, grey has been introduced (first in 2013-14 as the LA Kings Stadium Series jersey), black went from being almost 30% of primary home jersey colours down to almost less than 10, teams dropping navy for brighter colours or ones more associated with the team, and teams branching out from the ones even during the CCM era. Teams are more than ever realizing the benefits of colourful jerseys.

Great logo design:

Photo from milehighsticking
Today it is very rare to see a team unveil a logo that is universally considered terrible. While the 90s and 00s saw logos become more detailed and "fierce", many of these did not age well. Sure things like the Buffalslug, Fisherman, Burger King etc. have gained respect, a lot of logos have fallen into the "trendy at the time" category. Teams realized this and moved quickly to make logos that can last decades like their 70s and 80s counterparts. The most Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators logo sets are the best examples. Nashville went from being a cluttered mess of colours and "details" to having an effective logo that gained a sense of timelessness though simplifying. Dallas did the same, by updating their 20 year old mark. The opposite of Nashville, Dallas added details that make their logo stand out. 

Shoulder patches such as Nashville's guitar pick logo, LA's stacked baseball style logo, the Los Tiberones logo series, Minnesota's M patch, Vegas's sign inspired interlocking swords, Florida's new logo set, Colorado's Rockies inspired logo set, and even Arizona's Paw logo have proven to be positive additions to their teams' aesthetics. While the 2000s had its good designs, shoulder patches tended to be brushed aside or not really worked well, such as Columbus's logo set prior to the logo reset.

More original designs

The Reebok Cookie Cutter design system left NHL teams with a handful of designs to chose from when switching from CCM 550 to Reebok Edge. To give you an idea: Atlanta's home, Colorado,  Columbus, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota's away,  and Nashville jerseys are all the same template, Ottawa, Tampa, and Pittsburgh famously wore 3 recolours of the same template, Minnesota's home and the Islanders' main set share a template, Atlanta's Away & Philly look identical and other teams like Washington & Anaheim had templates exclusive to them in the NHL, but were used consistently in the AHL and CHL. The decade following would see not only most of these designs replaced, but with jerseys and logos better than what had been seen for the past 10 seasons.

Perfecting the Fauxback

Beginning with the 2010 Winter Classic, and up to the current we've seen teams attempt to bring designs that are not based on one specific vintage jersey actually worn in the past, but instead several that come together to make a new design. Teams during this time period realized that they could introduce new jerseys based on old jerseys that would sell much better than reissuing an old jersey as the argument of "I have the old one or the CCM Vintage one, I don't need the new one". Many of these jerseys would be adopted later as either alternates or new home/roads. Some standout examples are both jerseys from the 2018 Winter Classic, 2016 Winter Classic,  Washington's from the 2015 Winter Classic, both from the 2012 Winter Classic, Pittsburgh's from the 2011 Winter Classic, and Boston's from the 2010 Winter Classic; the jersey that started the trend. It wasn't just 40+ year old franchises that did this well; Columbus and Florida both introduced 60s style roundel logo double blue alternates that proved popular with their fanbases. The 2011, 2014, and 2016 Heritage Classics all featured stellar fauxbacks....except Montréal. What these fauxbacks represented was teams willing to take a chance on new designs while sticking to what works and trends from the past to represent the team's rich history.

Colour on Colour Games

Photo from Draft Utopia
While they are few and far between, and the occasional white on white game, the NHL has finally accepted that teams don't have to be home v. road colour v. white style games. The best examples come from the Red v. Blue 2014 Winter Classic and Yellow v. Black 2017 Stadium Series. These games will honestly be remembered as some of the best looking games of the decades. Unlike the NFL's somewhat at times disastrous Colour Rush the NHL seemed to take care to use colours that clashed enough so teams would never be confused who is who. Furthermore the league takes care to do this with rivals, not just any old game.

The Bad

Oversimplification of jerseys

Photo from Official 2016 WCoH Website

To quote former HJC writer Caz W.- The World Cup of Hockey jerseys are the Duplo of hockey design 

The hockey community breathed a sigh of release when NHL teams did not have Adidas 3 stripes on the sides of their jerseys. The WCoH jerseys, all star game jerseys, and Olympic jerseys saw a steep decline and templating in designs. It's very much like the early Reebok era, though not as bad. The concern became templating and cost cutting over good designs. 

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey had some decent designs. Team USA's away, team Sweden, team Canada, team North America U23, and Europe's away were popular with fans. However Team Russia, Czech Republic, USA's home, Europe's home, and Finland got a collective "meh" at best or at worst "What the hell are these?" The biggest complaints were despite the solid logos, the striping left little to nothing for teams to build off of. None of the teams had anything close to multi-coloured stripes or "a pattern".

2011-12 saw the same red v. blue and draft style team building introduced over the East v. West. The jerseys themselves were pretty popular. Poor colour balancing and "design for designs sake" saw 2015 have one of the more unpopular jerseys since 2003's Eastern Conference bland jerseys. 2016 was very harshly recieved until the unique number font and John Scott stories came to save the game. 2017 proved to be forgettable but nice, but 2018's game saw the Adidas template we all feared. 3 stripes up the side, awkward striping, weird colour choices, overall something that while fine in a bubble, did not age well in the slightest.

Of course some may say that teams like New Jersey, Columbus, Arizona, Nashville, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Los Angeles have simplified too much in recent years, however I feel that with those teams there is at least a debate as to whether these jerseys are too simple or improvements,

The Adidas Collar:

Photo from blackhawkup

In a similar vain of the NFL's nike switchover in 2012, many teams traded their simple collars for one that resembled a toilet seat. These went beyond the toilet seat comparison as some teams attempted to tie in the new pentagon centre part of the collar into something of an overly visible collar insert. The least worst way to use this seemed to be what most teams did in using only half the collar leading up to the part where it curves towards the pentagon. Nashville's home, NY Islanders' away, both Chicago jerseys, Florida's home, both Montréal jerseys, both Dallas jerseys, and to an extent Arizona's home all used the toilet seat style. The worst backlash seemed to be unanimously split between Chicago and the Rangers. New York's criticism stems from their home jersey having a blue collar to match the jersey colour, but the pentagon patch being bright red and nothing else being red anywhere near this part of the jersey, almost looking look a napkin down the collar of a fancy guy. 

The Turdburger

Photo from NBC Sports

Unironically this is one of the worst official designs released by any team in the history of hockey. I love it, but it came out in this decade. There are a lot of people who don't like this jersey, rightfully so, but it is not without its fans. At the end of the day, this is not a design that needed to ever be unveiled or used for 2 seasons and planned for more. This jersey did some lasting damage in that we may never get that sweet Sabres yellow jersey we've asked for for years (some of us anyways). That being said, our kids may look at these as the Flying Vs or Fishermen and the Sabres will embrace them as a throwback.

Vintage for Vintage's Sake

Photo from broadstreethockey

I might be in the minority on this one, but teams like Philadelphia, NYI, Buffalo, Edmonton,  and others have brought back vintage colour schemes and jerseys that didn't need to be brought back. Of course Edmonton had universally disliked jerseys leading into the 2010s, and the Slug is either loved or hated, but the other two, I'm not quite sold on. Of the two, New York certainly looks better, and their original edge jerseys have aged a bit since their demotion, but their original edge jerseys were far from bad (the teams, not so much). That being said, Philadelphia had one of the better away jerseys in recent memory in their 2007-11 jerseys, and yet they were scrapped for a boring rehash that didn't need to be brought back. If any Flyers jersey should have been brought back, it was the pre 2000 orange jersey. As I see it, this design trend discourages new designs, and sells fans on nostalgia over something that might be much better (ie: Calgary). This has only been exacerbated by the recent Adidas alternates, particularly Edmonton & Calgary, who couldn't even make it more than one season without bringing back their vintage jerseys.

2015 Stadium Series

Photo from o.canada.com
I won't say that it was particularly the jerseys themselves that made this game one of the worst of the Outdoor Era...but it's one of the worst design wise. The shoulder patches and even the carbon fibre style logos were far from the worst thing that could have come from the games that came directly after the all-chrome logo game. The Northern California patch and the second use of the LA baseball style logo were popular enough something thought them good enough at the time to be used full time.  The event logo was a good enough successor to the previous logo and did enough to make the logo specific to Levi Stadium while keeping the theme that seemed to be trending of blue stadium outline bordered shields with chrome script. No this game proved that you can go TOO simple and that chest stripes can't save a bad design. In fact I'd go as far as to say this proves that gear is just as important jerseys in designing a kit. The Kings jerseys on their own look decent enough, with lots of grey, but it is killed by the white pants combined with the upper white socks and white helmets, it it swamped in white and looks incredibly awkward. The Shark jerseys are arguably worse, with the same issue the Kings have with white, but instead with black. You could call these jerseys the precursor to the Turdburger, with the different colour front and back of the jerseys; the front has a simple two way colour split with a small chest stripe, while the back has no chest stripe and is all the colour of the upper part of the front. Furthermore the Sharks didn't do enough to add orange and coupled with Niemi's awful brown gear that was barely fitting for a vintage Winter Classic, it was forgettable from the start. These jerseys are still in high quantity and low demand.

Weird Transitional Years

This is very specific trend to two teams, but in the early part of the decade teams would hang on to inferior and disliked Edge cookie cutter designs either as a cost saving measure or because they simply didn't have the home/road version ready to go that year. Starting in 2009-10, Edmonton began wearing their vintage style alternate as their home jersey, and pushing their navy regular home to alternate status. At the beginning of the 2011-12 season, the white jersey was replaced with the 80s royal blue jerseys, but the navy jersey stayed until 2012-13 as an alternate. In theory both navy/copper jerseys should have been replaced in 2011-12 or even 2009-10. Los Angeles had a similar experience with their better received OG Edge jerseys. The white script hem jersey was replaced with the current style road in 2011-12, but the black forum blue jersey would stick around until 2013-14, meaning that yes, that jersey was their alternate when they won the 2012 Stanley Cup. Finally, Philadelphia began the decade wearing their edge jerseys, with the orange retro alternate replacing the black home during the season as the home and in the 2010 SCF run. However, the away version would not be introduced until the following season, which is why their black jerseys were never worn in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the white Edge jerseys were. This doesn't even mention the trend of teams wearing mismatched jerseys like Minnesota and Atlanta, but they never had such transitional periods. In short, Reebok seemingly made teams hang on to mediocre jerseys as alternates so as not to have them "wasted, but only put these designs fans didn't want on life support. 

Era Review- 2010s Reviewed by winnipegjets96 on October 22, 2018 Rating: 5

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