Perhaps more than any other sport in North America, hockey gives its franchises more of a palette to create a unique uniform. The uniforms consist of large sweaters that allow for a lot of room to use, and there are only a handful of teams that are really handcuffed to one design that won’t be changed (Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, etc.).
Some of the newer teams in the National Hockey League have toyed around with a lot of different designs in hopes of finding something different and cool that will catch on with fans. Sometimes it works, and other times it misses badly enough that they get worn once or twice. Here are five of those uniforms that really stood out, with some being beloved while others were panned.
Vegas Reverse Retro
When the NHL launched the Reverse Retro uniform program, many were left wondering what the newer teams like the Seattle Kraken and Vegas Golden Knights were going to do. The Knights answered that question by not using any throwback uniforms, but instead creating one from scratch. They paid tribute to the resorts of early Las Vegas, with font taken straight from the signs of the Excalibur and Stardust casinos.
That wasn’t the part that made the Vegas uniforms really stand out, though. The numbers were given special stitching, allowing them to glow in the dark. Anyone that has been to a Knights game knows that it’s a spectacle, and seeing the lights go out and the team entering with their lit-up uniforms while “John Wick Mode” plays gets the blood pumping.
Tampa Bay Alternate (Late-1990s)
During the later part of the 2000s, the Tampa Bay Lightning switched to a very simplistic format that many graphic designers absolutely loved. The colors combined well and the minimalist logo really stuck out. However, that wasn’t the case in the late 1990s when the Lightning revealed an alternate uniform.
The alternate took the basic layout of the standard home uniform but added a lot of new bells and whistles. The unis were supposed to show lightning striking down the sleeves while it rained into an ocean that was starting to get a bit choppy. Many said the uniform was much too busy, and it was scrapped for the 21st century, only to return during the Reverse Retro era.
Dallas Stars Alternate (Mid-2000s)
The Dallas Stars had a pretty memorable uniform during the late 1990s and early 2000s when they were one of the premier franchises in the NHL. When they wore their alternate uniforms, however, it was sort of hard to take them seriously. On the black alternate, the star pattern was ditched and instead the only reference to stars was in the form of a constellation on the chest.
The constellation was supposed to represent Taurus, but not many saw it that way. Instead, it looked like a cow and many people referred to the logo as “Mooterus” due to its shape. Was it unique? Absolutely, but they were almost immediately panned by fans around the league. After the 2005-06 season, Mooterus was left behind as the Stars went years without another alternate.
Los Angeles Kings Alternate (1995-96)
While the Los Angeles Kings had the best player in hockey history (Wayne Gretzky), they had one of the most bizarre uniforms. For the 1995-96 season, the team used an alternate uniform that featured two oddly placed grey stripes, but the icing on the unique cake was the logo of a king’s head that hadn’t been used before.
Many came to know this uniform as the “Burger King” jersey due to its resemblance to the fast food mascot. They left almost as quickly as they arrived as the uniforms were only worn a handful of times before disappearing after the season.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1995-96)
The Kings weren’t the only Southern California team that has a really unique jersey for the 1995-96 NHL season. Back when they were known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and were heavily involved with the Walt Disney Company, the Ducks featured their mascot Wild Wing prominently on their uniform. It looked incredibly busy as they didn’t just use the mascot’s mask, but rather his whole body.
Wild Wing can be shown bursting through a frozen pond on the jersey, carrying a large goalie stick and padded up with the exception of his feet. The logo was simply too large to look natural for their uniform, which is why it was scrapped after just one season. However, nostalgia has put the Wild Wing unis in a better light, and the Ducks chose to use it for their Reverse Retro nights.