Top 5: Fictional Jerseys
Hockey fans, along with the rest of the world, are living in weird and uncertain times right now. We’re in the midst of a pandemic with our lives changing drastically and unexpectedly on a daily basis, and the one distraction many of us usually turn to is on an indefinite pause.
As a blog that covers hockey, this left us – like many – asking the question, “what now?” Well, in a time when sports networks are airing old games and Twitter feeds are playing out simulated championship games, what better time to take a closer look at the most beloved fake hockey teams?
Last fall, my colleague Kris ranked the top ten appearances of real hockey jerseys in pop culture, but movies and television are also full of fake hockey jerseys, some of which are just as (if not more) nostalgic and aesthetically pleasing. Let’s take a look at five of the best.
Ok, so maybe we’re testing the boundaries of “fictional” here, but hear me out. A significant upgrade from the green District 5 jerseys worn in the first Mighty Ducks film, the eggplant and teal sweaters were so nice they even made their way from the NHL to the silver screen. One of the few hockey games to feature a wardrobe change at intermission, after being told that “new ducks and old ducks must unite under a new banner,” the team puts on the new threads and is able to defeat Iceland.
It’s still crazy to think that a logo and brand created by Disney was actually used by an NHL team, but the Mighty Ducks crest is still widely beloved in both the league and pop culture today. A playful and unique take on the traditionally horror-adjacent Jason mask, the duck bill goalie mask framed by cartoonish hockey sticks is the perfect logo for a Disney-backed club, real or fictional.
Perhaps the most beloved hockey flick in history, Slapshot’s Charlstown Chiefs jerseys are one of the most recognizable and widely-worn fictional jerseys of all time. While the film didn’t see instant success upon release back in 1977, it gained full cult status over time, including being named the “Best Guy Movie of All Time” by Maxim in 1998 and the best sports film of the past 50 years by GQ in 2007.
The Chiefs’ sweaters have become as classic as the film itself, with the bold and timeless word mark across the front, and yellow, blue and white stripes. The v-neck and yoke-free shoulders are very 70s-esque, yet embody a style that could work in any era of hockey.
As seen in one of my favorite hockey movies, the Halifax Highlander sweater probably trails only the Chiefs in terms of the number of sightings still in the wild. The pugilistic flick and its sequel chronicle the embattled Highlanders and unlikely hero Doug Glatt, a true old-time enforcer who will do whatever it takes by whatever means necessary to protect his team.
Between the two films, there are a few different variations of the sweaters worn, but the blue and orange color palette and winged H remain consistent. Somewhere in between the Islanders and Flyers branding, the Highlanders logo and jerseys are nice enough to pass for that of a real AHL or NHL team. I personally prefer the original style, as the H can really stand on its own, and I like the contrast between the full-sleeve yokes and the body, but the full set is really nice and has a bold look to it.
Switching gears a bit to a less modern looking sweater, the simplicity of the Mystery team’s jerseys in Mystery, Alaska are something worth noting in this list. Almost reminiscent of the Vancouver Millionaires sweaters, the solid dark brown and old timey typography are really elegant and fitting for an outdoor game.
It’s interesting that for a film shot in the 90s (five years after D2, to be exact), that the costume designers went with such a vintage aesthetic, but it really is stellar. The fictional town of Mystery looks like it could be a snapshot tagged #ODRHeaven on Instagram (the film was actually shot in Alberta’s Banff National Park), and the small town aesthetic matches perfectly with the vintage look of the uniforms, particularly in contrast with the big city Rangers’ unis.
As we’ve seen with Winter Classic jerseys year after year, outdoor hockey and classic aesthetics pair beautifully together, and fortunately the costume designers of Mystery, Alaska agreed and gave us these chocolate brown beauties.
Reminiscent of the ever iconic Blackhawks sweaters, the fictional Ontario town’s senior-A whale shit hockey team, the Letterkenny Irish, have far more style than they do actual hockey talent. Lead by chripers extraordinaire Reilly and Jonesy, the Irish team ultimately folds, but at least they looked good in the meantime.
Their jerseys have the same triple black and white stripes as the Blackhawks classic template, one that’s been mimicked by many amateur and minor league teams since, but with a clean v-neck and round crest including a shamrock and maple leaf.