The Great 2013/14 Catchup

In John van der Woude
Oct 21st, 2013

catchup-636I’ve been busy over the last couple weeks with the freshly redesigned Hockey By Design website that you’re reading right now (Better Organized! More Images! Mobile Friendly! Will Randomly Spew Money Out Your Computer’s Orifices!) and I hope that you enjoy it. Feel free to give me any feedback (positive or constructively negative) via the comments below, over email, or over Twitter.

But, all this great visual freshness came at a cost, meaning less time for posting, and there’s been a bunch of updates big and small to jerseys, logos and other such things in the still-young 2013/14 season. So, in one post, I’m going to catch you all up. With the good, the bad and the meh (but in opposite order).


The Meh

These are the small items that don’t hugely affect the overall brand of the team. Sometimes the devil is in the details. Sometimes god. Sometimes, they shouldn’t be sweated. These are the latter. But if you are extremely detail-oriented, these might be interesting to you. Or not.

The Habs have introduced using diacritical marks (like à, è, ü, î, ø, etc) on their nameplates. As the NHL diversifies it’s talent pool of countries, it’s a good move. I like it, and so should you. Unless you’re of the Don Cherry persuasion and/or are generally xenophobic. But, it’s not incredibly brand-defining. Just a nice touch.

NY Islanders
The Islanders wore a patch for their first pre-season game in Brooklyn. I derided the patch on Twitter when they were first seen:



Using the iconic Brooklyn Bridge was a nice touch, but it creates an incredibly busy patch. It’s also geographically incorrect. Brooklyn is actually located at the western tip of Long Island (where they still play) so if they were actually crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, it was only because they took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Manhattan, and then they would have had to cross Brooklyn Bridge again. Looks like the Islanders use Apple Maps, amirite?!

However, they wore it for the Brooklyn game and it hasn’t been seen since. So, meh.

LA Kings
The Kings changed the wordmark decal on their helmet, from the Gretzky-era inspired wordmark to the one that uses the same crappy font as the one on their  logo. I wrote a post about helmet designs a long time ago and they were one of the few teams that actually did something interesting, so we can now cross that off the list. But, to be honest, I’m surprised anyone even noticed it given how low-profile hockey helmet design is, so meh.

Nashville Predators
They switched the colours on their socks. Whatever.


The Bad

These come exactly as advertised: bad. Horribly bad. Not kind of bad. Not cool bad, like Breaking Bad or Michael Jackson’s Bad. More like Gigli bad.

Buffalo Sabres
I’ve already destroyed the new Sabres’ third jerseys in another post, so I won’t do it all over again. But, I have since learned that the new C and A patches that they created for the Captains and Alternates (the one good thing the entire organization did this whole summer) have to moved to the shoulders for these new jerseys, which is technically illegal:


Apparently the Sabres did get special permission and the rule was officially waived for these jerseys. The NHL obviously saw the jerseys and just said, “WTF, whatever.” That makes this awful jersey even worse because it was obviously not well thought out as well.

Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks recently brought back their Mighty-ness and wore their original Disney-inspired logo/jerseys at a recent as part of their 20th anniversary in the league. Am I only one who don’t like these looks? Eggplant and teal colours? A corporate-sellout logo featuring a cartoon of an animal? It screams minor league and makes the whole team look amateur. Yeah, you heard me. I don’t like these logos/jerseys. Oh, and Emilio Estevez is a bad actor.

I almost always like going retro with logos and jerseys, but only if they don’t originate in the ’90s.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Speaking of throwbacks, the Pens have gotten rid of the throwback jerseys that they wore in the 2011 Winter Classic. Too bad, because I like them. But I’m sure they’ll reintroduce another throwback third jersey soon enough when they participate in another Winter Classic within a year or two.

Calgary Flames
The new alternate Flames jerseys have been leaked by EA’s NHL’14. Obviously, being in this category, I’m not crazy about them – or at least some aspects of them – but I’ll dedicate a whole post to it shortly. I’m working on it right now and should be up today or tomorrow.

Olympic Jerseys
This isn’t necessarily NHL-related, but the recent designs of the Olympic jerseys are mostly awful. The Americans, the Canadians, the Russians (to a lesser degree), all awful. Read the linked posts for all the gory details. Nike, you suck.


The Good (to Great)

These are the rest of the changes that have taken place. Some just barely escaped the Meh category, some are fantastic changes.

Boston Bruins
New 90th-anniversary patches (90 years!) are being worn by the Bruins this year. They’re simple, strong and not incredibly flashy, so it’s completely in line with the Bruins brand. It works. Well done.

Anaheim Ducks
More anniversary patches, as the Ducks’ 20th-anniversary patches are being featured on their jerseys and on centre ice at Honda Center. The patches are fine: solid, minimal and not overly busy. But even better news about the Ducks? They’ve obviously read my blog, as I suggested two years ago that they should make their alternate logo their primary logo, and they have. #NAILEDIT

Florida Panthers
Another anniversary patch, celebrating 20 years in the league with their expansion cousins in Anaheim. Again, simple and strong. And it makes me think of beer and interesting people. Always good.

Carolina Hurricanes
I dedicated a different post to their new jerseys, so I won’t go into it here. In short, I like them.

San Jose Sharks
A moderately better jersey design, or at least more minimalist, so that drops it into the good category. Read my whole post about them here.

Dallas Stars
They released a new logo which is definitely better than their previous logo, but still not that great. Read my whole post about it here. They also released new jerseys, which are actually pretty great. I like them more now that I’m watching them in action. And I talked about them in detail here.

Minnesota Wild
Amidst the trainwreck of the Sabres’ third jerseys, little was said of the new Wild road jerseys. They are absolutely fantastic and are a perfect example of blending historic jersey aesthetics with contemporary aesthetics to create something that’s new and exciting. Definitely the jersey redesign winner of the summer. Read more here.


I’m back! More posts about the Czech Olympic jerseys and the Calgary Flames’ new thirds coming soon!

And again, let me know what you think of the new design, and if there’s any kinks that I missed that need to be worked out.

6 Responses to “The Great 2013/14 Catchup”

  1. Mathieu says:

    I am surprised at how many people don’t like the new Sharks jerseys and loved the previous ones. For me it’s an improvement although i miss the bottom stripes.

    I don’t like that new squared yokes trend going on, it looks awkward

  2. Duff says:

    Love the new site with its enhanced use of images. I’m happy that my thirst for the great content you provide, is now showcased in a way that makes previous posts easily accessible by theme and topic. Hockey by Design, your blend of serious design considerations with humourous pop and hockey lore references, is easily one of the most fun blogs I’ve ever encountered.

  3. […] my Great 2103/14 Catchup post, I put these in the Bad column. But, despite the mis-steps, there’s enough good things […]

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