Friday: Collar Laces

Should collar laces only be used with traditional jersey designs?

That is the question I'll attempt to answer on today.  Hello folks, and welcome to another concept-less post here on HJC.  Before we begin, I want to clarify that I'm not including the modern inverted laces introduced for the 2014 Stadium Series in this discussion, I specifically want to know when the standard lace-up collar design should be used.

Photo from Wikipedia.org
To answer this question I think we should know a bit of the history of collar laces in the NHL.  For the NHL's first 24 seasons, all collars were free from laces.  The Montreal Canadiens changed that by introducing lace-up collars for the 1941-42 season.  Three other teams, the Rangers, Blackhawks, and Maple Leafs, followed suit in the 1950's.  Laces reached their peak from 1970-72 when seven of the 14 teams used them, but their popularity quickly faded and they disappeared altogether after the 1977-78 season.  They were gone for 19 years, until the Rangers brought back laces with their classic blue jersey in 1997.

Photo from RinkRoyalty.com
Surprisingly the second jersey to re-introduce laces wasn't vintage, it was the Kings purple and black third jersey.  In fact most of the jerseys that adopted laces in the next few years were modern, including the Oilers blue and silver jersey, the Islanders orange sweater, and Atlanta's asymmetrical jersey.  This use (or mis-use) of laces with modern designs continued into the Reebok Edge era, examples include both the Senators "SENS" jersey and Islanders first black third jersey.

Many people are against the idea of using laces with modern jersey designs, they believe only traditional jerseys should use laces.  I use to be one of those people, in fact I once did an entire NHL concept series and only used laces for original six franchises.  Since then my opinion has changed, I now think it's fine to use laces with more modern designs.  I even think some untraditional jerseys look best with laces.

Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images
The Calgary Flames current home and road jerseys are examples of untraditional jerseys that I think look best with laces.  That's right, I think the Flames' jerseys could be even worse, and would be slightly worse with a different collar.  Part of the reason I like their lace-up collars, well specifically the home jersey's collar, is that they use black laces.  I like how the black laces are more subtle against the red background than regular white laces would be.  The Winnipeg Jets, whose jerseys are somewhat modern as well, take the idea of subtle laces even farther.  They use blue laces for their home jersey and white laces on the road, and I think those choices are the perfect fit.

That being said, I don't think laces should be used equally for both modern and vintage jerseys.  I believe there is something traditional about laces, and they should be used more often with classic designs.  Which brings me to my next question, why are laces considered vintage?  Is there something inherently vintage about the appearance of laces, or do we consider them vintage mostly because they disappeared for nearly two decades?  I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle, collars would look vintage regardless of their history, but that is further emphasized by the fact they weren't around when more modern designs first started to appear.

So to answer my original question, no I don't think laces should be used exclusively with traditional jerseys.  I think we should decided what looks best on a case by case basis, and sometimes modern designs will look best with a lace up collar.

What do you think?
Friday: Collar Laces Reviewed by Steven Grant on August 26, 2016 Rating: 5


winnipegjets96 said...

Great post. i think I agree with you for the most part. Seeing that Kings jersey with the huge horse collar brought back some memories. Calgary & Winnipeg pull it off well, and one thing that helps modern jerseys are the inverted collar laces (Anaheim, Colorado 3rd) There was a time though it did seem like jerseys were putting it on for shake of having them, Atlanta's home edge jersey and Nashville's 3rd jersey, two jerseys I very much like, didn't need them at all, neither does Carolina's atrocious red jersey.

Matt G said...

Hey guys, my International Outdoor Classic concept was included on the post for the 19th, but isn't included in the voting. Any reason for this?

Unknown said...

It depends on when the email was sent. If it was sent in after 12 noon, then your SOL, and it was included in the post by mistake. I will check the timestamp on it and we'll go from there Matt.

Unknown said...

So Matt it turns out the timestamp on it was at 11:22:11 am EST, so It was submitted on time. Hopefully Ryan will be able to add it in for you, as only he has access to the HJC photobucket account.

Ben Shaffer said...

Interesting analysis. I think the laces have become necessary to distinguish throwbacks/fauxbacks from other designs, since every jersey is a standard template with modern fabric. If teams made actual sweaters then the lace would become overkill.

Lucas D. said...

@Phil: So you're now temporarily running mists functions of HJC?

Lucas D. said...


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