WORST TO FIRST: STADIUM SERIES JERSEYS
Last year, we we couldn’t stop talking about the LA Kings Stadium Series Jerseys. This year… meh. So when John van der Woude of Hockey by Design approached us to rank the all-time Coors Light Stadium Series™ jerseys from worst to first… we said “OH THANK GOD, CONTENT!” So before you check out his review of the outdoor Stadium Series sweaters below, make sure you check out some of his awesome poster work too. Take it away, John!
With the Stadium Series officially starting their 2015 series…of one game…tonight, when the San Jose Sharks take on the LA Kings at Levi’s Stadium, it’s high time we do what we love to do here at Hockey By Design: count things down. Overall, the Stadium Series jerseys are pretty underwhelming, and with only two new additions to last year’s seven, we’ve just got to figure out where the Sharks and second Kings jerseys slide in amongst the hot mess of the rest of them. Stuff that are related to the jersey templates themselves (2014’s stupidly slanted sleeve numbers, or 2015’s stupidly large sleeve numbers, for example) won’t be touched on, as they all have them.
Okay, let’s pretend we’re German and start with the wurst.
9. Anaheim Ducks (2014)
You saw this one coming, right? Regular readers who have read our Top/Worst 5 of 2013 post from last year would know how we feel about the Ducks’ orange
pyjamas uniform. There’s too few other elements to counteract the extremeness of the orange that completely dominates the entire uniform. This jersey needed the full sleeve stripes, as well as striping along the bottom of the jerseys, and maybe ever the shoulder yokes. The full orange is just too much. With black gloves and shorts, it’s getting a little Halloween-esque as well. And in case nobody has yet mentioned it, orange and beige don’t really work together. Kudos to Jonas Hiller though, for fully embracing the monstrosity of it all, by adding an orange helmet and pads to compliment these jerseys, if you can use the word ‘compliment’. If I may offer an alternate idea for the Ducks that would have been awesome? How about the jerseys from the movie they’re originally named after?
8. Los Angeles Kings (2015)
“Everybody’s talkin’ ’bout my white pants. I got my white pants, I got my white pants on.” White, tight, close enough. Even the coach is voicing his displeasure. Sure, this is a “jersey” countdown, but the solid colour from nipples to knees is a strange choice, and it makes it even worse when it’s white. Black, okay (see further down the list), but white? Caman! Like the Ducks’ jerseys at the bottom of the list, it’s too minimal, and needs something else to break up that white. The white helmet doesn’t help either. And using this particular jersey template for the Kings doesn’t work as well since they literally have no colours in their team branding, with the grey just looking like a dirty white. On the plus side, having two crowns on the black collar ring is a nice touch, to commemorate the Kings’ two Cup wins. And especially impactful considering the team they’re playing. #itwas3to0
Full Analysis: HbD News: Sharks and Kings Stadium Series Uniforms Announced
7. New Jersey Devils (2014)
Last year, I had these placed slightly higher, but they’re sliding down. Why? Because there’s not much to discuss. The Devils (aka Lou Lamoriello) are extremely adverse to any sort of alternative- or celebratory-anything outside of their brand. They’ve changed their designs once, in 1992, going from green-and-red to black-and-red and slightly simplifying the design of their jerseys. That’s it. So, for the Stadium Series, they’re just brought back their green-and-red jerseys, identical to what they wore pre-1992 and called it a day. It’s not a bad jersey necessarily (although those extra white stripes on the sleeves are weird) but there’s so little creativity or celebration of anything involved, it’s hard to get excited about it at all. A complete missed opportunity. And that pushes it down this list. On the plus side, they didn’t go with a fake-chromed logo like the rest of the 2014 Stadium Series teams. And they ignored the jersey template given by the NHL. Lou Lamoriello doesn’t care what Gary Bettman thinks apparently. #thuglife
6. San Jose Sharks (2015)
Using the same NHL-mandated template as the LA Kings’ jerseys this year, the Sharks at least have some colour to work with in their branding. And the template works better in this format, in the very least because their nipples-to-knees colour is black, and teal looks good on top. But why does San Jose cling to the orange as part of their visual identity? It’s barely used in their current jerseys and here? Well, it’s only used as the colour on the collar, making it look more like a choker necklace. Given their most recent playoff performance (as well as their previous 10 or so), it’s a really strange inclusion, especially since they’re playing the exact same team as last year’s playoffs! I’m sure the Sharks organization loves even the NHL rubbing their faces in it with the jersey template. #trolling
Full Analysis: HbD News: Sharks and Kings Stadium Series Uniforms Announced
5. New York Rangers (2014)
The Rangers reached back to their Gretzky days for inspiration for these jerseys, closely replicating the stripe pattern on the sleeves, collar and base of the jersey. The colours/outlines of the numbers are also the same. But they added in the shoulder yokes from the 2014 Stadium Series jersey template and, of course, switched out quadruple-outlined super-spiky Lady Liberty logo for their classic diagonal text. It’s not a horrible jersey, but the “New York” being forced to be chromed because of the league just makes it look out-of-place. The sleeve stripes are a little too complex given the relative minimalism of the rest of the jersey too and look odd because of that. And there’s the issue of the blue being way too dark compared to their usual colours, which looks flat during the game. There’s good and bad, so the middle-of-the-pack is a good place to put this jersey. And it’s better to just ignore it. But again, kudos to Lundqvist for doing something creative, like having pinstriped pads and gear to pay homage to the Yankees.
4. Los Angeles Kings (2014)
Well, that was a big jump. Last year, they had a second-to-last placement. This year, it’s jumped up all the way to sit right outside the podium. There’s still issues, like how the light grey looks more like dirty white. And there were other possibilities, like bringing back the purple and/or yellow and using them on these updated Stadium Series jersey templates. But sometimes, when you see a jersey in action during the game, it works better than it does seeing it static. There’s enough black and white thrown in with the grey to give it a lot of contrast and movement, and actually worked against a sheet of white ice. The “LA” shoulder patch still looks good and I’m glad they used some shoulder yokes. So, it gets a bump up the list.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (2014)
Yeah, these jerseys are pretty minimalist and cool-looking, but black?! C’mon, what is this, the late-’90s? Aren’t we over this black jersey phenomenon yet? The biggest problem with the black jerseys is that they made the chromed-up logo look incredibly cheap, because of the deep richness of the black. Against the black hair on the logo, it looks more like dark grey. In that sense, these are the worst jerseys in the whole Series in terms of working with the logo. Take the logo out of the equation and they’re pretty nice. Simple but strong red and white stripes along the sleeves and bottoms to barely keep them from looking like black pyjamas (take note, Anaheim). It still might have been nice to have seen red shoulder yokes on these.
2. New York Islanders (2014)
The only team to really introduce a new, or alternate, logo to the Stadium Series was the Islanders, removing everything from their current logo except for the “NY”. It makes for a more iconic, but strange and modern, logo (kind of like this Costa Rica highrise). Again, it just needs to get rid of the chrome though. The rest of the jersey is solid, with just enough orange to compliment the blue, and keeping the super-thick stripe pattern that the Isles have on their current jerseys, a look they’re using well. The white shoulder yokes are unexpected and stand out a little bit too much, but overall, this is a solid jersey design for something like the Stadium Series, given the template their working with in terms of what the NHL gave them and their brand’s colours. This season, it’s even become their third jersey. Which is waaaaaay better than their previous thirds.
Full Analysis: HbD News: NY Islanders’ Stadium Series Uniforms Announced
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (2014)
The reason this jersey gets top spot is that it’s the jersey that best uses the 2014 Stadium Series jersey template/design restrictions that were obviously given to the team by the league. Everything on it just works. The striping along the bottom works well. They knew that these stripes would work just fine if it didn’t wrap around the whole sleeve. Even adding the strip of Vegas gold to the shoulder yokes is a nice touch that compliments the rest of the jersey well. The whole thing looks classic and forward-thinking at the same time, which is what that league appears to have been going for with the Stadium Series as a whole. Easily, this one is the best of the bunch.
Full Analysis: HbD News: Penguins’ Stadium Series Jerseys Announced
What’s your top pick for the best Stadium Series jersey so far? Let us know in the comments below.