Canada’s Proudest Hockey Logos
This post is a day late. For that, we apologize. In fact, we’re very sorry for even putting together this post because, though Canada is often ranked as one of the best places to live on the planet, we’d rather not talk about it. If we can get in a humblebrag once in a while, we might take that, but we’ll probably apologize for it right afterwards. We’re very proud of our accomplishments in hockey, because other than making up making up odd names for our money and really loving terrible coffee, there’s not too much more that Canada’s better than most of the world at.
But oddly, our Canadians hockey teams don’t really express much Canadianism in their designs. Sure, Montreal has the Canadiens (French for ‘Canadians’) and Vancouver has the Canucks (slang for ‘Canadians’, similar to ‘Yankees’ in the States), and Ottawa has the ’67s (commemorating the 100-year anniversary of 1867, when Canada became a nation) but nothing in their logos have Canadian themes to them, either recently or historically (past 1912 anyway). Our patriotism in these matters only goes so far, otherwise we’ll have to constantly apologize for being too patriotic. It makes you wonder who has/had the most Canadian of hockey logos?
So this (day after (sorry)) Canada day, we’re looking at the logos in hockey (all hockey, not just NHL) that have the best amount of Canadiana in them. As is HbD fashion, we’ll pick the Top 5, worst to first.
This alternate logo used by the Ottawa Senators from 2000–07 is probably the most “Canadian” logo on this list, with a big ole red maple leaf behind an illustration of the Peace Tower from the Canadian Parliament Buildings (Canada’s closest equivalent to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC), but holy Mounties, is it ever slapped together from a design perspective.
The maple leaf is fine and basically uses an extremely similar design to the leaf on the Canadian flag (minus the stem), but that Peace Tower looks like something thrown together in MS Paint, or found online for free in a last-ditch effort to put an alternate logo together in 5 minutes before the deadline. The structure of it below the clock (that big black circle) is technically incorrect, there’s four tall window, not two, and they’re not oval-shaped at all. The outline separating the roof from the rest of the structure is way thicker than the outline around the whole building for some reason. Then there’s the triple outline, yeesh!
Back to the leaf, it’s obvious that the other side of it would extend to the other side of the Peace Tower. Like most good things, it ends when it gets to Parliament.
How typically unpatriotic are Canadians? This mess places as the 5th-best proudest Canadian logo. I’d rather have this gem from the Canadian version of Cards Against Humanity, or listen to Céline Dion albums (give me Mitsou instead, amirite?), than have this logo placed on a professional hockey jersey.
Another Ottawa there, but this was in the days of the World Hockey Association, with the Ottawa Nationals using this logo when they played for a single year (1972–73) before becoming the Toronto Toros.
Not much to dislike here, with a simple “ON” standing for both Ottawa Nationals and the common acronym for the province on Ontario (which is harder for some Americans to place on a map than you might think). The maple leaf replaces the hole in the O and is stylized enough to have its own distinct flavour.
But holy beavers, there’s not much to like here either. It’s got a super thick (and unnecessary) blue outline, just for the sake of throwing another colour into the mix because, hey, don’t want to seem too patriotic, right? If it’s red, white and blue, then maybe they won’t be throwing Canadian pride in the faces of the American teams. In fact, it’s Canadian colours!
I’m assuming the thickness of the letters are mean to create a space that looks like a hockey rink (similar to the Vancouver Canucks’ original logo), but then they italicize it so that it no longer can be thought of as that. A strange decision.
Like Monty Python doing Canadiana, it just seems a little odd. And that’s okay. Because we’re a polite people.
The Maple Leafs were an obvious inclusion in this list. The Canadian name (actually named after a regiment in the Canadian army from WWI – which is why it’s the ‘Leafs’ and not the ‘Leaves’, since it’s a proper noun) with the traditional symbol of Canada…in blue? To be fair, Canada’s red maple leaf flag wasn’t introduced until 1965, before which Canada just used Britain’s Union Jack as the national flag. So the Maple Leafs have had this as they’re symbol long before it was ever a symbol of Canada, so it became very convenient that Canada’s largest city was using a quintessentially Canadian icon on a sport identified as Canadian.
But holy chesterfields, blue? I’ve seen green maples leaves, red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, and combinations of all of those colours on the same leaf, but I’ve never seen a blue one. Like hearing non-Canadians pronounce Nanaimo, it’s always a little bit strange.
But this version of the Maple Leafs logo placed at third is what they wore from 1966–70, and is currently on their third jerseys. Compared to their current logo, the maple leaf is a little less blocky, the typeface is a little more charismatic and the curved “Toronto” just completes the whole thing better. It’s hard to say exactly why that is, but you know what I’m talking a-boot.
The Victoria Royals are a very new team, playing in the Western Hockey League (major junior) since 2011. If you don’t know of Victoria, BC, where the Royals play, it’s a very ‘British’ city, using the love of all things colonial to build up the tourism industry.
But holy Gordon Downie, for the most part, it works, with tourists coming in droves to ride British double-decker busses, see old English architecture and mistake Union Jacks as the Canadian flag. So, it’s no surprise the local hockey team is called the Royals. For all our constant desire to be seem as a strong, independent nation in the most politest way, the truth is, Canada’s not completely independent and is still part of the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth is our queen, and her face graces our money. Prince Charles will one day be our king (probably). This logo celebrates our connection to the our mother country with the name and the lion logo, but with a maple leaf tattoo on its arm.
Little known fact, about 75% of Canadians have a maple leaf tattooed on their body somewhere. About 2% have it tattooed in a normally visible place. Quietly proud, us Canadians.
It’s not the best logo out there, being overly complex and with typeface choices sloppier than a gravy-saturated poutine, but the logo icon is pretty sweet and it’s the epitome of Canadiana.
Before getting to #1, here’s a few Honourable Mentions
- Montreal Canadiens (NHA, 1911/12)
- Ottawa Senators (NHL, 1991–92, never worn)
- Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL, 1969–82)
- Toronto Marlies (AHL, 2005–present)
The Jets. The little team that exists because of pride and love. It’s the smallest market in the NHL with the smallest rink in the NHL with the most passionate fans. Why? Because it’s –40 (Fahrenheit and Celsius are the same at –40) there in the winter and +40 (104 Fahrenheit) in the summer with giant mosquitoes eating you. The hockey rink is the most inviting and normalized environment there is for a Winnipeger. They love their hockey, they love their Jets, and they love Canada.
And, holy Sandra Schmirler, their logo loves Canada right back. The one featured here is their alternate logo, worn as patches on their shoulders and, in terms of proud Canadian logos, is better than their primary logo which turns the maple leaf into something that be construed as a jet being destroyed in flames.
But the alternate logo makes mistake as to the Canadian-ness of the logo. Here, the red maple leaf is like Ann Murray at a folk festival, the obvious headliner.
Winnipeg is also home to the Royal Canadian Air Force base, so the name and the wings in this logo represent the proud history of the Air Force, which include the world-famous Snowbirds. Or at least I think it’s world-famous. We Canadians like to think that everything uniquely Canadian is world-famous. Is it world-famous?
And although it’s got too many elements to be a really successful primary logo, it’s a sweet alternate logo that is unapologetically Canadian, show the leaf, our history and our sport.
Did I miss anyone? What’s the proudest Canadian hockey logo you’ve come across? Let me know in the comments below.
Want something really cool? Check out the ‘Golden Goal’ poster design especially by Hockey by Design for Hockey by Design readers. You pick up this patriotic masterpiece (and other awesome posters) right here.