2016 NHL All Star Game Jerseys
Let's just get this out of the way: I LOVE sports uniforms. Everything. Hats, helmets, jerseys, pants, patches, etc. The whole thing intrigues me 'til no end. So when the NHL released their jerseys for the 2016 All Star Game, I thought, why not take a look back at the history of the NHL ASG jersey.
Thanks to , you can look back at all the classic and, well, not so classic sweaters that have been worn over the years. This is more of an opinion piece, so it's based on my tastes. You may think differently and that's fine! Feel free to comment below and tell me that I have no fashion sense whatsoever. I won't break down every sweater ever worn. If you want that, feel free to check out the link I provided and you can do that for yourself. I just plan on highlighting some of the hits and some of the misses over the years.
Let's start with a little history. The first, actual NHL All Star Game took place on October 13, 1947 in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens. In years prior most "all star games" were benefit games, but the 1947 contest was the first real All Star Game by today's standards. It pitted the defending Stanley Cup Champions against a team of All Stars from the remaining 5 teams. The NHL kept this format until 1967-68 when it changed to a format of true "all star" teams. Anyhoo, here's what the first NHL ASG jerseys looked like and they stayed this way from 1947-59.
Not bad at all and if you're a fan of this stuff you know these jerseys were replicated for the 1992 ASG which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the league. The thing I like most about this look is it's fairly clean and simple. It doesn't need anything special, it just lets the colors and logo do the talking.
Now let's get to what I deem to be the best sweaters the players have worn at the ASG over the years. My all time favorites are the 1989-91 orange, white and black uniform sets. They're very easy on the eyes and they don't contain anything that they don't need. Part of these being my favorites may have something to do with this being my formative years and a time where I couldn't get enough hockey in my system. Whatever the reason, these uniforms are my favorite of all time and I wish the NHL would bring them back.
These are absolute classics. If I were the NHL, I'd somehow find a way to combine this look and the 1989-91 look. Again, this could be me just looking through history with the ole nostalgia goggles on, but there's something about Gretzky and Lemieux flying up and down the ice in these colors. And the conference names descending diagonally on the front of the jersey is a thing of beauty.
For the ASG in Minnesota, the NHL threw it back to off white colors and laced up tops. I love this look. It feels throwback, but modern enough to appeal to today's fan. This style jersey has found it's way into the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic games as well. It's a simple design based on a simpler time in the world of hockey. As much as I like some of the more modern looks, these really stand out for how they take hockey back to it's roots.
And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum are the 2015 NHL ASG jerseys. Black. Silver. White. Neon Green? As simple and effective as the '04 jerseys are, these are everything those aren't......and it works! The color contrast is striking and even the white jerseys manage to pop with the accent colors. I really think the NHL nailed it with these uniform sets. They went completely modern (almost borrowing a page from the NFL's Seattle Seahawks) and didn't do more than they needed to do. I love 'em. It's a shame they only used them for one season.
This. I don't even have words to describe how horribly bad this is. Yuck. The mid 90's weren't exactly kind to some teams uni's, but I'd love to have been in the pitch meeting when this idea was presented. And then I think "this was the GOOD idea?" Ugh. The colors, the pattern, the whole thing is wrong. The NHL dumps last year's set after 1 game, but kept these for 3 seasons? I know, I know. It's an All Star Game. Relax. Who cares about the jerseys? ME! That's who. This is just a terrible look and thankfully it's buried in the past to hopefully never be resurrected. Hear that NHL? NEVER bring these back.
These aren't as bad as the 94-97 duds, but there's a reason they lasted one season. Maybe it's the offset logo or the in your face color scheme, but whatever it is, it's not working. The sleeves are definitely too cluttered with 4 different sets of vertical stripes that are 3 different colors. I think it's the way the pattern flows down. I don't know. What I do know is these are ugly and they should be moth balled forever in the NHL's attic. The only time they should be brought out is to show the league what not to do.
This was the first time the NHL installed the North America vs The World ASG format, which was a great idea. The jerseys.......not so much. The one saving grace on these are the country flag patches on the upper chest. That's a fantastic look. The rest looks like a geometry book threw up on some clothing. The NHL did redeem themselves with the 2000-01 uni's which righted everything that was wrong with these, but the rigid geometric patterns with rounded sleeve numbers just looks weird. And they're too busy. It's like the jersey is screaming at you "LOOK AT ME. I'M A HOCKEY JERSEY! LOOK!"
I'm sure you've seen and read enough of my nonsense opinion on what you probably think is one of the least important aspects of the game. I beg to differ. A good, clean, tight uniform design makes a team look great and you know the franchises agree or they wouldn't have 75 different uniform sets to try and sell to you. I think over the years the NHL has really done a fantastic job with not only their ASG jerseys, but with each franchises uniform set (save you expansion Anaheim Mighty Ducks and expansion Phoenix Coyotes). This year's ASG jerseys are very solid as well. 4 colors, nothing over the top, but I think you could look back at them in 10-15 years and still think they are a good looking jersey. But no matter what happens over the course of time, the NHL can claim to never have done this to the league:
Nice work NBA. Vote below in the poll and tell me what you think are the best NHL All Star Game jerseys!