Hockey Jerseys Have Endured Many Changes
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HOCKEY JERSEYS HAVE ENDURED MANY CHANGES OVER THE YEARS
The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in November 1917. When the league resembled more of a club sport in the beginning, players would wear actual sweaters that their teams bought in bulk from retail stores. The teams would buy a bunch of the same sweater and just put a players number on the back of it and the teams logo on the front. Hockey jerseys like we see today were introduced much later.
Second Jerseys are Introduced to the MixThe Toronto Maple Leafs were the first team to create a second jersey in the season beginning 1927. The Maple Leafs jerseys were dark blue for home games and white for away games. All of the teams except the New York Rangers had second jerseys by the year 1940.
For the season beginning 1951, the NHL ruled that all of their hockey teams would wear the white jerseys for home games and would wear colored NHL jerseys for away games. To be in compliance with the new ruling, the New York Rangers finally created a second jersey.
In 1955, however, the NHL changed the ruling so teams would wear their colored jerseys at home games and their white jerseys at games away from home.
In 1970, the NHL rule switched to teams wearing white or yellow jerseys at home games and colored jerseys at away games.
In 2003, the current ruling by the NHL was created. Teams now wear dark colored NHL jerseys to their home games, and they wear white NHL jerseys to their games that are away.
Six teams joined the NHL in the season that began 1967. More teams were added in the years that followed. With so many new teams playing, lots of colors and styles have been added to the earliest jerseys. The teams have always hoped that the new styles that get introduced would create excitement and increased revenue by way of NHL jersey sales.
Player Names are Added to Jerseys Amidst Some ProtestThe National Hockey League required all of their players to wear their last names on the backs of their jerseys during the season beginning 1977.
The Toronto Maple Leafs objected to this ruling and made their objections known by making the letters of the names the same color as the jersey itself.
The names were there on the jerseys as per the National Hockey League ruling, but the names blended into the fabric. The Maple Leafs were fined for their disobedience.
The team got their jerseys changed so that the names would be in white in order to be in compliance with the ruling of the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings were the first team to arch the names over the player numbers. It is common among teams now.
NHL Jerseys are Adorned with Commemorative PatchesThe NHL teams have worn three league patches on their jerseys over the years.
In 1991, all of the teams wore a patch celebrating the 75th anniversary of the National Hockey League.
In 1992, the teams wore one celebrating 100 years since the introduction of the Stanley Cup.
The third patch was worn in the season that ended in 2000. It was a celebratory "NHL 2000" patch.
The Third JerseyAlthough there had been third jerseys prior to the 1995 season, the NHL began their official program regarding the use of third jerseys that year. The hope was that these jerseys would mean more money for the teams.
During the 2008 season, third jerseys were reintroduced after a year off. All but two of the designs for the third jerseys were new that year. The Canadians went all out and used five jerseys to honor their 100 year history.
A Single Manufacturer Is SelectedBeginning with the 2005 season, the NHL selected a single manufacturer to be the official company for their jerseys.
They were to produce a comfortable wicking fabric that kept the players comfortable.
The newly developed uniforms were first worn during the 2007 All-Star Game. The next season all of the teams were wearing the new uniform system. Some of the jerseys were redesigned as part of the switch.
After a bit of use and players complaints about the new hockey jerseys not wicking away moisture but letting it slide into their gloves, the manufacturer sent out improved jerseys to the teams.
The manufacturer was allowed to put their logo on the back neck of the jersey. They changed the logo they used later. The item still remains in the same area of the jersey.In order to make money, NHL teams sell jerseys to fans. Each time a new jersey is introduced, the team can add that item to their memorabilia fans purchase. eriodically, new versions of team jerseys are produced for this purpose. Vintage jerseys were created in 2003, as well as for the Winter Classic. Sometimes the teams are allowed to wear the jerseys for select games or even as a replacement uniform for an entire season.
Jersey sales are big business for NHL teams. Fans buy jerseys of their favorite players to show their support. Which jerseys are the most popular changes from year to year. Players get traded between teams. Some players retire from the game or go on injured lists. Fans are always looking for the next greatest jersey to wear in support of their beloved team.
Over the years, many contests have been created to choose the best and worst hockey jerseys of all time. In recent years, the Minnesota Wild seem to have the most popular jersey. The worst jersey goes to the Montreal Canadiens with their multiple thin stripes that seemed to put fans in a trance when looking at them. Also, who can forget the Vancouver Canucks "V" jersey that was created by a marketing firm and received much hate from fans and competitors alike. The V was supposed to stand for victory but was an eyesore to everyone who viewed it.
Despite the changes over the years, NHL jerseys are a great introduction for both the players and the fans.