By now, you’ve likely seen the new Buffalo third jersey. After a summer full of hype and hiding, the Sabres unveiled their new jerseys today and well, they’re bad. Like historically bad. It’s almost like the lead designer had three separate concepts for a jersey on one of those see-through projector slides from school, and just before he was about to pack up for the day he filed them together, looked down and said, “Oh my God, it’s perfect”. Everyone in the Sabres organization naturally thought it was a joke and kept playing on to see how far the joke would go. Unfortunately the joke went all the way to Terry Pegula who signed off on the new thirds.
It’s pretty evident that the Sabres were going for Nashville style vibrancy but simplicity but failed at both. The yellow has two separate shades, which I’m waiting for anyone in the world to explain to me, sleeves that have three separate color schemes, and BUFFALO spelled out above their logo, as if we’d mistake this atrocity for another team somehow.
After digesting the jersey a little bit more I wondered, yes, this is clearly the worst jersey currently BUT is it the worst jersey in NHL history? This led me to the wonderful world of nhluniforms.com. There were too many bad jerseys from pre-WWII when colors were barely invented for me to judge so I kept the search to the last 30 years or so.
The first jersey that came to mind was the early 80′s Vancouver jerseys, quite possibly the worst jerseys in professional sports history, and almost a consensus for worst uniforms in NHL history. They’re almost beyond ugly.
The team that was relieved the most was the Islanders. Giving the Sabres a run for their money with ugliest current jersey is this compilation of ugly. From the colors to the awkward striping and the scrawled text with front numbers are all pushing the envelope. It looks too much like a bad basketball jersey to be taken seriously, although that is kind of the Islanders thing this last decade.
And let’s not forget these beauties…
The Senators third jerseys are so bad their Captain of the past 14 seasons had to leave.
The Thrashers maroon jerseys were so bad that they disbanded the team and sent them to Winnipeg and Ilya Kovalchuk scurried back to Russia to be as far away from them as possible.
The 90′s were a terrible time for fashion in general, despite what you snapback wearing kids who were born in 1994 try to tell me. It was even a worse time for sports fashion. After all, this was the decade that gave us the MLB Futuristic uniforms. Some of the NHL jerseys have an ironic cult following and/or are genuinely awesome jerseys despite being dated as hell.
The decade had some failures though too.
The Lightning jerseys from 1996 were probably designed when they asked an 8-year-old to design a hockey jersey. It would have big waves, and rain, and lightning bolts on the arms. Your mom would pat you on the head and put it on the fridge and then throw it away a day later. Unfortunately, and amazingly, the Lightning used this jersey as their third for three seasons.
The Mighty Ducks were the rare 90′s team to have a great jersey as a new franchise, and progressively get worse. Even during the Eggplant era (which is returning this year!) they had a horrid third jersey. It’s no surprise that a team literally spawned from a children’s movie would try to market itself to younger fans but in all honesty what grown man could have looked at this jersey and said, “I need this jersey!” Bonus points for having the worst nameplate and numbering in NHL history.
Last, but certainly not least, is the infamous Burger King jersey. This jersey has reached a near legendary status for all the wrong reasons. Shortly after the Kings got the best player in NHL history they decided they needed to make a new jersey to up sales. Certainly understandable, but the Kings opted for a uniform so against the norms it was immediately the most ridiculed jersey in history. The jersey is so rare it has actually become a collectible.