Rating the NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys

On Monday, the National Hockey League released Reverse Retro jerseys for all 31 teams. If you’re familiar with the Big Brother competition where the houseguests must look at a face on a screen and determine who’s eyes, ears, and mouth make up the face, then that’s exactly what these jerseys are.

That was a really roundabout way of saying they took old school jerseys and gave them a modern twist, but you understood what I was saying, didn’t you?

Anyway, I like jerseys. Jerseys are fun. They’re something to look at.

As such, I’ll be going through each one and giving a rating out of five. This is purely subjective and is meant to be fun.

I am looking for creativity, a lively combination of colours, evidence that effort was put into the design, and an overall sense of, “OH MY GOD IT’S BEAUTIFUL!”

I mean no disrespect to the people who designed these jerseys. I’m sure a lot of time and Zoom meetings went into it. That being said, if I don’t like it, I don’t like it.

I’ve embedded a tweet that displays each jersey, so if they don’t load right away, yell at your screen, or read the post on my site rather than your Reader.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

I like that they went back to their original colours, and that their original logo (puck, two sticks, mask) makes a small appearance, but I would’ve preferred if that were the main crest. I love “Wild Wing” as much as the next 90s kid – had his action figure and everything – but the logo on the front looks like the last page of a flip book.

That being said, if you’re going to go for it, go for it.

3.2/5

ARIZONA COYOTES

I know this jersey is a callback to their 1999 alternate jersey. However, the coyote has a very Clip Art feel to it, not unlike the LA Rams’ midfield logo. The desert scene at the bottom doesn’t do much for me, though it is a welcome change from the usual stripe that most teams go for.

1.9/5

BOSTON BRUINS

It’s a sleek look, with a really attentive bear on the shoulder. If the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were a hockey team, this would be their jersey. Selfishly, I wish they went with a modern version of their 2002 alternate jersey, that had a bear on the front and a rippled black and white stripe across the bottom.

3.2/5

BUFFALO SABRES

See the Twitter logo of the Buffalo Sabres? That’s their best logo, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for blue and yellow/gold colour combinations, so for that reason alone, I like this jersey. The writing of “BUFFALO” inside the bottom stripe was unnecessary, but like the Coyotes jersey, I applaud them for trying to do something with the bottom.

3.5/5

CALGARY FLAMES

Ladies and gentlemen, may I re-introduce you to Blasty the Horse. Yes, that’s it’s name. It’s a fire-breathing horse, what else do you need to know? I’ve always liked the logo, as long as I don’t look at it for too long. The Flames have signed a lot of former Vancouver Canucks lately and people are calling them the Calgary Canucks. The stripes at the bottom are reminiscent of a Canucks throwback jersey, so this doesn’t do them any favours.

3.5/5

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Find me someone who doesn’t like the old Hartford Whalers logo and I’ll show you a liar. It’s perfect. It’s like the Fed Ex logo, or the old Formula 1 logo, where an image appears magically. I don’t like grey on jerseys; it doesn’t pop. Could they have done a red/white/black jersey with the Whalers logo and had it look nice? Possibly? We’ll never know. They went retro, but where’s the “reverse”?

3.2/5

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

A simple Google search tells me the Blackhawks have been involved in six outdoor games, which means they’ve had to create a lot of new, throwback jerseys in the recent past. This one feels like they ran out of ideas and just moved some colours around. It’s fine, but I wanted more.

2.6/5

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Here we go, kids. This is how it’s done. You take the Quebec Nordiques logo and you apply your own colours to it. ARE YOU LISTENING, CAROLINA? I know whenever anyone mentions the Nordiques, it’s met with the same admiration as the Montreal Expos and Seattle SuperSonics because of the nostalgia-factor for a generation of fans. Take the nostalgia out of it and this is still a great jersey.

4.7/5

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Some teams in the NHL have a jersey twin, in that they have the same colours as another team. The Columbus Blue Jackets match up with the Washington Capitals. It’s the patriotic colour scheme. If you’re going to be the Blue Jackets, own the Blue. Leave the red jerseys to half a dozen other teams. The white panel at the bottom feels like it could be cut off and no one would notice. This might be a case where the jersey looks much better when the players wear them on the ice.

2.5/5

DALLAS STARS

This is supposedly an “icy-white take” on the jersey the Stars won the Stanley Cup in, in 1999. Why? Why are we doing this? Do you know what colour the playing surface is? ICY WHITE. From afar, can you even see the silver “STARS” on this jersey? They got too cute with it. I do like the outline of a star going around the jersey, though.

2.9/5

DETROIT RED WINGS

We need to send a memo out to professional sports teams that silver/grey just aren’t going to cut it anymore, unless you are the Las Vegas Raiders or San Antonio Spurs. I’m not picking a fight with those organizations. I saw this jersey and thought, “This is a school assignment they forgot to do, so they did it quickly in class before the teacher collected it.” Their logo will always be one of the best in all of sports, but this is a poor effort.

1.3/5

EDMONTON OILERS

They love their bright orange out in Edmonton, don’t they? Is it really a Reverse Retro if it could easily pass as their current Away Jersey? It’s a fine jersey, but feels too recent. I would’ve preferred if they had used their 2006 jersey as a base. All they would’ve had to say was, “This is a nod to the last time we were in the Finals and a reminder of where we want to be in the future.” Bam.

3/5

FLORIDA PANTHERS

I see this jersey and I think of Pavel Bure, which is a good thing. This is a throwback to their appearance in the Finals back in 1996. ARE YOU LISTENING, EDMONTON? I really like it. It’s sharp. Every stripe, and colour, have a purpose. It doesn’t feel clunky.

4.2/5

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Cue up Kenny Smith from the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest because it’s over, ladies and gentlemen. It is over. This one wins. The crest is perfect. The colours are perfect. I really have no complaints, except maybe the number on the sleeves could’ve been higher up the arm. I would buy this jersey in a second if I were a Kings fan. In the future, this is the colour scheme they should go back to. Ditch the black/white/silver.

4.9/5

MINNESOTA WILD

The Minnesota North Stars fall under the official history of the Dallas Stars, which has put Dallas in perpetual jersey purgatory because it feels like they are always trying to appease their history, while making Dallas feel important, which might explain why their current logo is a “D” on top of a Star. Because of that, the Minnesota Wild have had to forge their own identity, with a questionable team name, and colours that resemble Christmas, to match the trees in their logo. This jersey is a glimpse into an alternate universe and what they could have been if it weren’t for those meddling Dallas Stars (and that dog). What a shame.

3.7/5

MONTREAL CANADIENS

There’s something about this jersey that makes me want to take a nap in it. It’s a very clean design. They didn’t overdo it, nor did they pull a Detroit. Montreal is very good with all things historical, so I’m not surprised they pulled this off.

3.8/5

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Okay, the silver sleeve works here. This jersey screams, “We’re an expansion team and Tom Fitzgerald is our captain!” Only a few of you will understand that reference. I like how the numbers have their own personality and aren’t generic.

3.9/5

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Anyone want a candy cane? I’ve seen the Devils’ logo hundreds of times in my life, but I’ve never really stared at it long enough to full appreciate how they morphed an “N” with a “J”. It’s a nice jersey, albeit a bit safe. It follows a template the Oilers have been using for years.

3.8/5

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

The Islanders have two (2) tweets regarding this jersey. The first is a short teaser that every team put out. The second is the official announcement, in the form of a video. There is no stand-alone photo of the jersey on their Twitter timeline, whereas other teams have a full gallery. It’s almost as if they didn’t want to participate; this jersey reflects their indifference.

Participation Trophy

NEW YORK RANGERS

I like that they went back to the Statue of Liberty look. The top and bottom of the jersey feel a bit bare – a bit too blue. Maybe add a stripe, or the map of the New York subway? Now there’s an idea…

3.1/5

OTTAWA SENATORS

This is their best logo and I’m glad they’ve gone back to it full-time. I feel like those black stripes are just begging for some gold trim, or a little bit of white. There needs to be something that ties the numbers and crest to the rest of the jersey – other than black – doesn’t there?

3.3/5

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

This jersey is growing on me, the more I look at it. I grew up viewing the Flyers as a big, intimidating team, that will make sure you leave with fewer teeth than you showed up with. I think this design reflects that attitude quite well, or maybe it’s just the Halloween colours subconsciously instilling horror and fear into my brain. Darn you, Philadelphia!

4.1/5

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

NBA teams have their team name on the front of the jersey. Let’s keep it that way. They’re fortunate that “Pittsburgh” is a 10-letter word, or else there would be even more white space on the front. The skating penguin on the shoulder deserved a starring role.

2.4/5

SAN JOSE SHARKS

What have I said about grey on a jersey? The teal name and number on the back should pop, but they just sort of drown in the grey. The sleeves are the best part of this jersey. I like the white numbers with teal trim, perhaps the same ones should’ve gone on the back. Very good logo, as always.

2.9/5

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Well, at least they followed the rules for “Reverse Retro”. They took a mid-90s jersey and flipped the colours, so red is predominant. I prefer the original.

2.3/5

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

This jersey should be white, with black shoulders, as a tribute to the jersey that Manon Rheaume wore when she became the first woman to play (NHL Goalie) in any of the major North American pro-sports leagues, in 1992. Why they continue to steal the Leafs’ thunder by going back to the blue and white jersey well, I don’t know.

2.2/5

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

The crest just screams, “Early seasons of The Simpsons” to me. I will never get that out of my head. Again, not a fan of the grey, though I like that it extends down the sleeve. The stripe at the bottom is too thick for my liking. The numbers on the back might be the best part, though I prefer numbers that are a different colour than the jersey.

2/5 because I can’t bring myself to go any lower.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Don’t ask me why, but I kinda like this Sprite bottle of a jersey. Key word: “kinda”. I’m not sure the blend on the front was necessary. It feels a bit like someone just learned the gradient tool in photoshop, so they overuse it immediately. Keep the green on the shoulders and sleeves, take it out of the body.

2.9/5

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

The Knights don’t have much of a history to draw upon, so they “paid homage to pro hockey franchises that preceded them and paved the way for their existence.” One such inspiration was Manon Rheaume. ARE YOU LISTENING, TAMPA BAY? I’m not wild about the crest. Everything else is alright.

2.7/5

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

I’m just imaging a text exchange between the Sabres and Capitals where they discuss their aspirations to add text to the bottom stripe of their jerseys. Despite that, this jersey does a great job of capturing the past and drenching it in the team’s current colours. It’s almost as if they read the rubric for this assignment. I’ve always liked that logo.

4/5

WINNIPEG JETS

Any colour but overcast grey and this jersey would be cooking with jet fuel. You know how you can use a fire blanket to smother flames? That’s what the colour grey does to the excitement of this jersey. This logo should be their full-time logo, as their current one has never grown on me. I’ve always found it to be a bit awkward and forced. The white stripes down the sleeve don’t get paid enough.

2.4/5

Final Thoughts

I can’t help but feel like some teams held back and are saving their best ideas for future occasions. We’re in a pandemic, so teams don’t have upwards of 18,000 fans funnelling through their team store 41 times a year. Sales are going to be down. Keep the A+ designs in your back pocket and submit a “throwaway design” for a Reverse Retro concept that is meant to be eccentric. At least I hope it was meant to be eccentric.

Which jerseys were your favourite? Which were your least favourite? Let me know below.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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3 Responses to Rating the NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys

  1. Soooo when I started this post I thought that the jerseys were going to be wildly different from the ones I have now…I’m upset….

    Also my phone didnt load the tweets right away and I DID yell at my screen a little bit, but inside my head cos its early and people are still sleeping LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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