The most underrated and under appreciated element of a hockey uniform.
So let’s give them their moment in the spotlight, it’s the 100th anniversary of the NHL, let’s go back and look at the sock designs for the two Stanley Cup finalists for every season since the NHL’s first way back in 1918 right up to the series starting tonight between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators.
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Silly things I notice…
While 2017 is certainly the most yellow final we’ve ever seen it’s isn’t the first to feature two yellow teams. The 1970 final between Boston and St. Louis and the 1991 final between Pittsburgh and Minnesota each saw yellow on both sides of the puck.
From 1941 through 1969 at least one team wore red socks in the Stanley Cup Final, a span of 29 championships. This run lasts through the entire “Original Six” era, includes seven all-red sock finals, and can largely be attributed to the Montreal Canadiens who made the final 18 times during this period.
“Everyone wears blue or red!”, yeah well since 1979, which is nearly 40 years ago there’s only been three blue sock vs red sock finals – 1998 (Detroit/Washington), 2006 (Carolina/Edmonton), and 2015 (Chicago/Tampa Bay).
Before you “Well, actually…”:
I’m using the sock design for the dark colour uniform (where applicable) of each team’s set. In many cases this means the pairings you see above were never actually worn on the ice together.
Pre ~1940 most teams only had one jersey colour so a lot of the early designs actually did match up in a single game. There’s a few exceptions during this era, the multiple Leafs/Rangers finals had the Leafs wearing white throughout since the Rangers did not have a white uniform at the time. The 1920 would-be barberpole convention between Ottawa and Seattle had to be stopped due to, well common sense, Ottawa switched to plain white for the series.
Yes I know the 1919 Cup Final was eventually cancelled, but there was still a matchup and games were played. I also know the Stanley Cup has been awarded prior to 1918, I’m just focusing on the NHL era here.
I used the alternate sock designs for the 1999 Dallas Stars and 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins as that was what each team had worn as their “dark” uniform throughout the playoffs those years.
A hat tip to NHLUniforms.com which proved invaluable for the sock research.
UPDATE (May 31/17): The graphic in this post has been edited since it was originally published to fix an error with the 1934 sock matchup. The image you see in the post now is the correct graphic.