Vintage Hockey Jerseys – MY Collection

RE-POST: FROM JANUARY 2012

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Jan. 21) – The proliferation of “throw-back” jerseys in the National Hockey League began in 1991-92, when the six pre-expansion teams (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York Rangers, Toronto) celebrated the NHL’s 75th anniversary season. All six clubs manufactured vintage jerseys from the 1940s and ’50s which they wore in games against one another. These items became very popular and sold exceptionally well. It sparked the idea for hockey merchandisers to re-create uniforms of existing and defunct NHL teams – several of which are displayed here in my collection of vintage jerseys. 

This trend is currently highlighted on New Year’s Day – at the NHL outdoor Winter Classic – where the competing teams design and introduce jerseys from the past; or with elements from the past. The most attractive of these items, in my opinion, appears below.

 

VINTAGE NHL JERSEYS

PRE-EXPANSION:

A VARIATION OF THIS JERSEY (ABOVE, LOGO CLOSE-UP BELOW) WAS WORN BY THE MAPLE LEAFS THROUGH MUCH OF THE 1950s AND ’60s, ENDING WITH THE PLAYOFFS OF 1967 WHEN THE TEAM ALTERED ITS LOGO AND STRIPE PATTERN. THE LEAFS FEATURED THIS DESIGN WITH THEIR THROW-BACK JERSEY IN 1991-92; I HAVE THE ITEM AS A SWEATER.

LEAFS WORE THE ABOVE JERSEY DURING ROAD GAMES FROM PLAYOFFS OF 1963-64 TO THE END OF THE 1966-67 REGULAR SEASON. A REPLICA OF THIS DESIGN SERVED AS THE CLUB’S ALTERNATE (OR THIRD) FROM 1998-99 TO THE END OF 2010-11.

LEAFS TURNED TO THE ABOVE JERSEY FOR THE PLAYOFFS OF 1967: CANADA’S CENTENNIAL YEAR. THE 12-POINT LOGO WAS IDENTICAL IN DESIGN TO THE ONE ON OUR COUNTRY’S NATIONAL FLAG AND STRIPE-PATTERNS ON THE SLEEVE AND JERSEY-BOTTOM WERE ALTERED TO MATCH THAT WHICH THE CLUB WORE ON ITS STOCKING THROUGHOUT THE ’60s. MAPLE LEAFS WERE ADORNED IN THIS JERSEY ON MAY 2, 1967 – THE NIGHT THEY LAST HOISTED THE STANLEY CUP. IT HAS RETURNED AS THE CLUB’S ALTERNATE JERSEY.

BOSTON WORE THE ABOVE JERSEY IN THE 1940s, WHEN LED BY THE FAMED KRAUT LINE OF MILT SCHMIDT, BOBBY BAUER AND WOODY DUMART. IT SERVED AS BRUINS’ THROW-BACK JERSEY IN THE NHL’s 75th ANNIVERSARY SEASON OF 1991-92.

THE ABOVE ITEM COULD BE THE MOST-TREASURED IN MY COLLECTION: A REPLICA OF THE BRUINS’ JERSEY WORN BY BOBBY ORR IN HIS ROOKIE NHL SEASON (1966-67). THE MANUFACTURER DID A SUPERB JOB WITH THE TRI-COLORED NUMBERS ON THE SLEEVES AND BACK OF THIS SWEATER.

IN 1967-68, THE BRUINS SWITCHED TO THESE JERSEYS (HOME ABOVE; ROAD BELOW) AND WORE THEM THROUGH THE 1973-74 SEASON. BRUINS WON THE STANLEY CUP IN 1970 AND 1972 WHILE DRESSED IN THE BLACK JERSEY: THE FORMER ON BOBBY ORR’S LEGENDARY OVERTIME GOAL AGAINST ST. LOUIS AT BOSTON GARDEN; THE LATTER AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN IN NEW YORK, WITH AN ORR GOAL IN REGULATION OF GAME 6 THE WINNER.

BRUINS DEBUTED THE ABOVE JERSEY – REPLICA OF A MID-’60s DESIGN – DURING THE OUTDOOR WINTER CLASSIC OF JAN. 1, 2010 AGAINST PHILADELPHIA AT FENWAY PARK (EVENT-PATCH CLOSE-UP, BELOW). I RANK IT TOPS AMONG ANY OF THE THROW-BACK HOCKEY JERSEYS TO DATE.

CHICAGO WORE THIS UNIFORM FROM 1937 TO 1955 BEFORE SWITCHING TO ITS CURRENT DESIGN: PREDOMINANTLY RED WITH AN INDIAN-HEAD LOGO ON THE FRONT. THE ENCIRCLED INDIAN-HEAD ON THIS JERSEY (CLOSE-UP BELOW) APPEARS TO BE WEARING LIPSTICK.

THE BLACKHAWKS CLASSIC RED JERSEY (ABOVE) HAS UNDERGONE ONLY SLIGHT MODIFICATION SINCE THE EARLY-’60s. IT HAS BEEN WORN BY SUCH LEGENDS AS BOBBY HULL, STAN MIKITA, PHIL ESPOSITO, TONY ESPOSITO, BOBBY ORR AND DENIS SAVARD.

DETROIT HAS WORN THE WINGED-WHEEL ON ITS JERSEY (ABOVE) SINCE 1932-33, WHEN THE TEAM NICKNAME CHANGED FROM FALCONS TO RED WINGS. GORDIE HOWE AND STEVE YZERMAN IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND WHEN LOOKING AT THIS JERSEY, AS DOES NICKLAS LIDSTROM: THE BEST OF MANY GREAT EUROPEAN-BORN PLAYERS TO SKATE IN THE NHL.

THE RANGERS HAVE WORN THE ABOVE JERSEY ESSENTIALLY FROM THEIR FIRST NHL SEASON OF 1926-27 – WITH ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION. DURING THE 1976-77 AND 1977-78 SEASONS, THE CLUB SWITCHED TO A JERSEY WITH ITS PRIMARY LOGO ON THE FRONT (AS BELOW, COURTESY OF NHLUNIFORMS.COM). IT PROVED TO BE TERRIBLY UNPOPULAR AND RANGERS RETURNED TO THEIR CLASSIC DESIGN IN 1978-79.

 

 

EXPANSION TEAMS:

EXPANSION OF THE NHL FROM SIX TO 12 TEAMS IN 1967-68 ALLOWED MANY NEW JERSEY COLORS TO BE INTRODUCED. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS HAVE RARELY MAINTAINED A UNIFORM DESIGN FOR MORE THAN TWO OR THREE SEASONS AND WERE, PREDICTABLY, THE LONE 1967 EXPANSION CLUB TO WEAR ITS INAUGURAL JERSEY FOR ONLY ONE SEASON. THE LIGHT-BLUE/DARK-BLUE HOME DESIGN IS ABOVE; THE ROAD UNIFORM BELOW. NHL LEGEND ANDY BATHGATE WORE THIS JERSEY AND PLAYED ALL 74 GAMES WITH PITTSBURGH IN 1967-68.

IN 1999, I ORDERED THIS SWEATER VERSION (ABOVE) OF THE PENGUINS INITIAL UNIFORM ON-LINE AT EBBETS FIELD FLANNELS. IT REMAINS AMONG MY FAVORITES FOR ITS INTRICATE DESIGN (BELOW).

FOR 1968-69, PITTSBURGH CHANGED TO A JERSEY WITH ITS PRIMARY LOGO ON THE FRONT; MODIFIED ITS STRIPE-PATTERN, AND ADDED A SHOULDER YOKE (ABOVE). THIS DESIGN REMAINED IN PLACE FOR THREE SEASONS, THROUGH 1970-71. FOR THE INITIAL OUTDOOR WINTER CLASSIC (JAN. 1, 2008, PITTSBURGH AT BUFFALO – RALPH WILSON STADIUM), THE PENGUINS RE-INTRODUCED THE DESIGN (BELOW), THOUGH THE PREDOMINANT COLOR WASN’T AS TRUE AS THE LIGHT-BLUE WORN BY THE CLUB IN ITS EARLY YEARS. STILL, IT SOLD TREMENDOUSLY WELL AND BECAME THE PENGUINS ALTERNATE JERSEY THROUGH LAST SEASON.

PITTSBURGH’S “ANGRY-PENGUIN-ON-SKATES” LOGO HAS BEEN SLIGHTLY MODIFIED THROUGH THE YEARS BUT REMAINS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME. THE INITIAL LOGO IN 1967-68 HAD A TRAILING SCARF, AS BELOW (COURTESY WIKIPEDIA.COM).

MINNESOTA NORTH STARS WORE THE ABOVE JERSEY ON THE ROAD IN THEIR FIRST THREE SEASONS (1967-70); THEN AT HOME THROUGH THE 1974-75 CAMPAIGN. THOUGH THE AWAY JERSEY HAD A SHOULDER YOKE FROM THE OUTSET IN 1967-68, THE PREDOMINANTLY GREEN HOME VERSION DID NOT (AS BELOW). THE NORTH STARS WORE A SOLID-GREEN JERSEY AT HOME IN YEAR ONE.

 

ANOTHER CREATION OF EBBET’S FIELD FLANNELS (ABOVE) IS THE JERSEY THE NORTH STARS BEGAN WEARING AT HOME IN THEIR SECOND SEASON, 1968-69 (WITH WHITE SHOULDER YOKE). NO. 21 ON MINNESOTA WAS FORWARD DANNY GRANT, WHO EDGED NORM FERGUSON OF OAKLAND FOR THE CALDER TROPHY AS NHL ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR IN ’68-69.

THE ABOVE ITEM WAS MINNESOTA’S ROAD JERSEY FOR THREE SEASONS, BEGINNING IN 1975-76.

MINNESOTA’S CURRENT TEAM IN THE NHL – AN EXPANSION OUTFIT IN 2000 – INTRODUCED THE ABOVE JERSEY AS ITS ALTERNATE DESIGN FOR THE 2003-04 SEASON AND KEPT IT FOR FOUR YEARS. IT RANKS AMONG THE SHARPEST THIRD JERSEYS MANUFACTURED TO DATE, AND WAS ADORNED WITH AN EQUALLY-IMPRESSIVE LOGO (BELOW).

LOS ANGELES WAS THE LONE EXPANSION TEAM OF 1967 NOT TO INCORPORATE WHITE AS A PRIMARY COLOR. INSTEAD, THE KINGS WORE A GOLD JERSEY ON THE ROAD (ABOVE) AND A PURPLE OUTFIT TRIMMED IN GOLD AT HOME (BELOW). ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE CLUB REFERRING TO THE COLOR AS “PURPLE” MIGHT HAVE BEEN FIRED ON THE SPOT. KINGS’ OWNER JACK KENT COOKE – THE TORONTO COMMUNICATIONS MAGNATE – FELT PURPLE WAS TOO FEMININE; HE INSISTED THE COLOR BE NAMED “FORUM BLUE”, IN HONOR OF THE NEW ARENA HE BUILT FOR THE TEAM IN SUBURBAN INGLEWOOD.

I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A BIG FAN OF THE KINGS’ RATHER BUSY ORIGINAL LOGO (ABOVE).

BEGINNING IN 1980-81 – AND FOR EIGHT CONSECUTIVE SEASONS – THE ABOVE JERSEY WAS THE KINGS’ ROAD VERSION… WORN, MOST MEMORABLY, BY THE FAMED TRIPLE CROWN LINE OF MARCEL DIONNE, DAVE TAYLOR AND CHARLIE SIMMER. LOS ANGELES COMPLETELY RE-DESIGNED ITS UNIFORM AFTER ACQUIRING WAYNE GRETZKY FROM EDMONTON IN AUGUST 1988, ADOPTING BLACK, SILVER AND WHITE AS ITS COLOR SCHEME.

MY CHOICE FOR BEST HOCKEY DESIGN BY EBBET’S FIELD FLANNELS IS THE REPLICA (ABOVE) OF THE HOME JERSEY WORN BY THE OAKLAND SEALS IN THEIR FIRST TWO NHL SEASONS (1967-69). I HAD NO. 21 ADDED TO THIS JERSEY IN HONOR OF DEFENSEMAN BOB BAUN – A STALWART DURING THE MAPLE LEAFS STANLEY CUP DYNASTY OF THE 1960s WHO WENT TO OAKLAND IN THE 1967 EXPANSION DRAFT.

WHEN THE DOWNTRODDEN SEALS WERE PURCHASED BY CHARLES O. FINLEY IN THE SUMMER OF 1970, THE CLUB RE-DESIGNED ITS UNIFORM TO REFLECT THE COLORS OF FINLEY’S BASEBALL TEAM, THE OAKLAND A’s. THE PREDOMINANTLY GOLD JERSEY (ABOVE) WAS WORN ON HOME-ICE FOR FOUR SEASONS, BEGINNING IN 1970-71; THE DARK-GREEN VERSION (BELOW) ON THE ROAD. THE CLUB’S NAME WAS CHANGED TO CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS.

IN THEIR FINAL TWO NHL SEASONS – AFTER BEING PURCHASED BY MUNSON CAMPBELL – THE GOLDEN SEALS SWITCHED TO AQUA AND “CALIFORNIA GOLD” AS THEIR PRIMARY COLORS, WEARING THE AQUA VERSION (ABOVE) ON THE ROAD AND A WHITE JERSEY AT HOME. STRUGGLING FROM THE OUTSET TO DRAW CROWDS IN OAKLAND, THE FRANCHISE MOVED TO SUBURBAN RICHFIELD, OHIO FOR THE 1976-77 SEASON AND BECAME KNOWN AS THE CLEVELAND BARONS.

PHILADELPHIA INTRODUCED ORANGE AS A PRIMARY COLOR AMONG NHL TEAMS IN THE GREAT EXPANSION OF 1967 – THE ORIGINAL HUE (AS IN THE CURRENT DESIGN, BELOW) BEING LIGHTER THAN THE SHARP-ORANGE (ABOVE) WORN BY THE TEAMS OF THE MID-’70s, INCLUDING THE BACK-TO-BACK STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS OF ’74 AND ’75. PHILADELPHIA’S LOGO HAS NEVER BEEN TINKERED WITH.

FROM 1967 TO 1995, THE ST. LOUIS BLUES MAINTAINED A TRI-COLOR SCHEME: BLUE, GOLD AND WHITE. FOR THE 1995-96 SEASON, THE BLUES INCORPORATED RED INTO THEIR DESIGN RATHER EMPHATICALLY, AS INDICATED BY THE CLUB’S ROAD JERSEY (ABOVE). THE WIDE, DIAGONAL STRIPE AT THE BOTTOM WAS INTRODUCED BY ANAHEIM IN ITS INAUGURAL SEASON OF 1993-94 AND REPLICATED BY THE BLUES. ST. LOUIS WORE A RED STRIPE ON THE ABOVE UNIFORM AND A BLUE ONE ON THE WHITE HOME VERSION. WHEN I LOOK AT THIS UNIFORM, I THINK OF BRETT HULL, WHO HAD SOME BIG SCORING SEASONS WITH ST. LOUIS IN THE MIDDLE-’90s. WAYNE GRETZKY ALSO WORE IT DURING HIS TWO-MONTH TERM WITH THE BLUES LATE IN THE 1995-96 SEASON. WHILE COVERING A BLUES GAME IN SAN JOSE DURING THAT TIME, COLUMNIST RAY RATTO OF THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE REMARKED “IT LOOKED AS IF THE BLUES PLAYERS HAD BEEN STABBED IN THE KIDNEY.”

THE CLASSIC HOME JERSEY (ABOVE) WORN BY THE BUFFALO SABRES FROM THEIR INCEPTION IN 1970-71 THROUGH THE 1995-96 SEASON… NO. 11 BELONGING TO GILBERT PERREAULT, THE GREATEST SABRE OF ALL TIME. BUFFALO COMPLETELY REVAMPED ITS UNIFORM AND LOGO – SWITCHING TO RED, BLACK AND WHITE IN 1996 TO COINCIDE WITH THE OPENING OF ITS NEW ARENA (NOW CALLED FIRST NIAGARA CENTER).

VANCOUVER WORE THE ABOVE JERSEY ON THE ROAD BEGINNING IN ITS SECOND NHL SEASON (1971-72) AND THEN SWITCHED TO THE MOST UNORTHODOX UNIFORM IN LEAGUE HISTORY (BELOW) FOR 1978-79. A SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST SUGGESTED THIS ABERRATION WOULD HAVE SOME SORT OF DEBILITATING EFFECT ON RIVAL TEAMS, NEGLECTING HOW IT WOULD DO THE SAME TO PAYING CUSTOMERS. THE CANUCKS DID ADVANCE TWICE TO THE STANLEY CUP FINAL (1982, 1994) WHILE WEARING BLACK, ORANGE AND YELLOW BUT HAS SINCE RETURNED TO ITS ORIGINAL COLORS.

SWEATER VERSION OF THE JERSEY VANCOUVER WORE AT HOME IN ITS EARLY YEARS.

ATLANTA FLAMES JOINED THE NHL IN THE THIRD WAVE OF EXPANSION – ALONG WITH THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS – IN 1972-73 AND WORE THE ABOVE JERSEY ON THE ROAD BEGINNING IN THEIR SECOND SEASON. ONLY CHANGE BETWEEN YEARS ONE AND TWO WAS THE STRIPE PATTERN ON THE JERSEY BOTTOM AND SLEEVES (THE ORIGINAL UNIFORM BELOW). WHEN THE FRANCHISE RE-LOCATED IN CALGARY FOR THE 1980-81 SEASON, IT MAINTAINED ITS RED, GOLD AND WHITE COLOR SCHEME.

HOME JERSEY (ABOVE) WORN BY THE FLAMES AT THE OMNI IN ATLANTA, 1973-80.

IF NOT FOR THE SILLY-LOOKING BEARDED FIGURE IN THE LOGO (ABOVE AND BELOW), THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS MAY HAVE SCORED HIGHER MARKS FOR THIS UNUSUAL JERSEY – WORN ONLY IN THE 1996-97 SEASON. SO UNPOPULAR WAS THE LOGO THAT THE CLUB REVERTED TO ITS ORIGINAL EMBLEM (TWO IMAGES BELOW) FOR 1997-98 BEFORE SCRAPPING THE JERSEY ALTOGETHER. 

KANSAS CITY HAD A SHORT-LIVED NHL EXISTENCE – ONLY TWO SEASONS (1974-75 AND 1975-76) – BUT THE SCOUTS WORE A FAIRLY SHARP JERSEY (HOME ABOVE; ROAD BELOW), WITH A LOGO THAT FEATURED THE FAMOUS KANSAS CITY SCOUT STATUE IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE OF THE MISSOURI CITY. THE CLUB WON ONLY 27 OF 160 REGULAR-SEASON GAMES BEFORE RELOCATING IN DENVER.

THE COLORADO ROCKIES (1976-82) MAINTAINED KANSAS CITY’S COLOR SCHEME AND DESIGNED AN ALPINE LOGO THAT FEATURED THE STATE-FLAG INSIGNIA (HOME JERSEY ABOVE; ROAD BELOW). THE ROCKIES ARE BEST-REMEMBERED FOR ACQUIRING LANNY McDONALD FROM THE MAPLE LEAFS IN DECEMBER 1979, DURING THE CLUB’S LONE SEASON WITH DONALD S. CHERRY BEHIND THE BENCH. THE FRANCHISE MOVED EAST AND BECAME THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS IN 1982-83.

HARTFORD WHALERS WERE ONE OF FOUR SURVIVING TEAMS FROM THE OLD WORLD HOCKEY ASSOCIATION (1972-79) TO BE ABSORBED INTO THE NHL FOR THE 1979-80 SEASON. ABOVE, IS A SWEATER VERSION OF THE WHALERS’ GREEN ROAD JERSEY, WORN BY HOCKEY LEGENDS GORDIE HOWE, DAVE KEON AND BOBBY HULL IN THAT INAUGURAL NHL CAMPAIGN. I BOUGHT IT IN VANCOUVER WHILE COVERING THE 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS.

ANAHEIM BECAME THE FIRST NHL TEAM TO WEAR CONCORD-GRAPE AS ITS PRIMARY COLOR UPON JOINING THE LEAGUE AS AN EXPANSION OUTFIT IN 1993-94 (ROAD JERSEY ABOVE). ITS LOGO AND NICKNAME (MIGHTY DUCKS) CROSS-PROMOTED THE HIT MOVIE PRODUCED BY CLUB OWNERSHIP – THE DISNEY CORPORATION. RON WILSON COACHED ANAHEIM IN ITS FIRST THREE NHL CAMPAIGNS.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE ORIGINAL JERSEY OF THE PHOENIX COYOTES (ROAD VERSION ABOVE) BUT HAVE OFTEN WONDERED ABOUT THE HALLUCINOGENIC AGENT COURSING THROUGH THE VEINS OF THE PERSON THAT DESIGNED THE CLUB’S LOGO (BELOW).

CURRENT HOME JERSEY (ABOVE) WORN BY THE COYOTES IN GLENDALE, ARIZ. WAS INTRODUCED FOR THE 2003-04 NHL SEASON. IT IS EQUALLY SHARP.

ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE LOGOS IS THE BOTTLE-CAP DESIGN WORN BY THE BUFFALO BISONS OF THE AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE IN THE 1960s. I BOUGHT THIS JERSEY SEVERAL YEARS AGO AT THE SABRES TEAM STORE IN FIRST NIAGARA CENTER.

 

 

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