The 2021-22 National Hockey League season is here! Two games start the regular season schedule with the Tampa Bay Lightning unfurling their 2021 Stanley Cup championship banner as the Pittsburgh Penguins watch followed by the first-ever game in the history of the Seattle Kraken as they hit the road to face the previous “new guy in town”, the Vegas Golden Knights.
As always there have been several changes when it comes to logos and uniforms in the NHL since last season, today I will be going through each and every one of the new logos, uniforms, and other bits of worthwhile information for the new year.
Let’s dive right in, starting with those new guys from Seattle…
A NEW THREAT AT SEA
The seas of the National Hockey League got slightly more terrifying this season, we’ve seen stick-wielding seals, stick chomping sharks, killer orca whales, creepy fishermen, but now there’s a kraken lurking in those deep, dark waters.
Yes, this is the year the expansion Seattle Kraken finally join the league. Their first-ever regular season game is tonight (Oct 12) on the road in Las Vegas, they’ll play five away from Seattle before they take the ice at their home rink, the Climate Pledge Arena, on October 23 versus Vancouver.
So, what exactly is a Kraken and why is the new Seattle NHL team named for it?
A kraken is a mythological sea creature, with its origins in Scandinavia folklore. According to the legends, the kraken lives in the Northern Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Norway and Greenland, terrorizing any seafaring vessel which may have had the misfortune to pass by. In modern fiction, it’s been featured in many films involving sea journeys including the 2010 film Clash of the Titans during which Liam Neeson summons the beast with his memorable line, “Release the Kraken!”. How it ended up as the name of a hockey team in Seattle is likely connected to Jerry Bruckheimer, the co-founder and co-owner of the team. In the early 2000s, Bruckheimer produced each installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, the second installment of which featured the mysterious kraken as an antagonist destroying ships.
The logo is a letter “S” for Seattle, as well as a nod to the logo of the old Seattle Metropolitans from the 1910s, the first U.S.-based team to win the Stanley Cup. Within the S we see a tentacle, giving us a hint of the beast lurking below the waters, as well as the eye of the monster in red. The logo was designed in close partnership with Adidas. There’s also a secondary logo in there developed between Adidas and designer Brian Gundell which mashes up the Seattle Space Needle with an anchor, tying in some local imagery to the overall brand of the team.
The home jerseys features navy blue colour as the base colour. The “S” logo on the chest and the secondary Space Needle logo on the shoulders, two lighter shades of teal serve as thick sleeve and waist stripes with a single thin red stripe added in. Collar matches the base colour of both the home blue and road white jerseys.
Overall there are *four* different shades of blue across the Kraken set (plus a single shade of red), the team refers to their colours as Deep Sea Blue, Ice Blue, Boundless Blue, Shadow Blue, and Red Alert.
Seattle will also be celebrating their inaugural seaon with a commemorative patch which will be worn on both their home and road jerseys.
The patch shows a navy blue shield with a depiction of Puget Sound at the bottom, Washington’s Mount Rainier can be seen rising up in the distance behind the waves in the middle-range shade of blue used by the team. The Kraken’s primary logo is placed on the water with INAUGURAL SEASON 2021-22 above in navy blue.
It was one of the worst kept secrets amongst NHL logo and uniform news this off-season, the Arizona Coyotes are going back to the “Kachina” logo full-time in 2021-22. They’re carrying over what they’d already been doing at home but now also on the road with a “new” road white sweater.
The “new” Coyotes logo is a straight-up clone of what the team used between 1999-2000 and 2002-03 (the original 1996-97 to 1998-99 version of the logo had used a slightly brighter shade of “Brick Red”). The team switched to the more modern “Howling Coyotes” logo for the 2003-04 and had been using it for the past 17 seasons (the “Howling Coyote” will live on for one more season as the team’s home alternate brick red uniform).
One difference from the original run of the Kachina set is that the moon logo worn on the shoulders previously read “PHOENIX” above “COYOTES”, of course the team has since changed their name to the Arizona Coyotes. Instead of simply swapping out Phoenix for Arizona they have omitted the location name altogether, the club did the same thing while the Kachina set was being worn as a throwback and alternate uniform over the past half decade.
THEY’RE BLUE, DA-BA-DEE
The Colorado Avalanche are continuing their gradual transition away from black to blue in 2021-22.
Following a switch from black to “Steel Blue” pants and helmets last season, the Avs are going one step further this year with the elimination of black altogether from the name and numbers on the back of their road white sweaters.
Looking at the graphic above in photos taken from the Avs recent training camp sessions you’ll note the road white sweaters now have burgundy lettering for player names (previously black) and blue numbers trimed in burgundy below (previously black trimmed in silver). The numbers on the sleeves (white trimmed in blue) remain the same as they were last season, as do the home burgundy uniforms.
At this point the only black left on the Avs road whites are in the puck on their jersey crest and the “O” in their “CO” shoulder patch.
In addition to the Arizona Coyotes full-on embrace of their past, both the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets brought back old looks as new alternate uniforms for 2021-22.
Starting with the Kings, who just unveiled their “new” look yesterday (Oct 11). Their new alternate uniform comes with a heavy nod to the uniforms of the late ’80s and early-to-mid ’90s, the uniforms are white with the Kings’ 1988-98 logo on the chest.
Metallic silver is now present throughout this reincarnated design (the originals used a flat grey). Gloves are now white instead of black, and the striping is considerably different here in 2021 versus 1988-98 as the arms and around the waist on the jersey, and the sock striping are all seeing significant changes. Player numbers have also been bumped up from within the sleeve stripe to above it.
The biggest change is to the helmet as the Kings will pair this set with a metallic chrome silver bucket, similar to what the team wore during the 2020 Stadium Series game in Colorado.
Los Angeles will début the new set at home against the Washington Capitals on November 17th, they’ll be worn a total of fifteen times throughout the 2021-22 season. The new set will replace the grey alternate uniforms the Kings had been wearing off-and-on since 2016.
As for the Winnipeg Jets, they’ve announced they’ll be promoting their blue throwback-inspired uniforms to full-on third jersey status. This design was originally worn for their outdoor Heritage Classic tilt against the Calgary Flames in 2019 and then for two more (indoor) games during that 2019-20 season.
Based off of the look of the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets franchise of the late 1970s, the jersey is blue and features a red collar with white/red/white striping on each sleeve and around the waist. The chest crest uses era-authentic chain stitching (awesome) and is the same logo of the WHA Jets (later used by the NHL’s first Winnipeg Jets team up until 1990).
The Jets will début their new third jerseys at home on November 9th against the St. Louis Blues. They’ll be worn a total of 14 times during the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season.
INTRODUCING “DIMENSIONAL EMBROIDERY”
As part of the NHL’s switch to the Adidas Adizero Primegreen jersey system, which are made with a minimum of 50% recycled content while still retaining their high-performance materials, every team added new “dimensional embroidery” to their logo crests breathing some new life into their uniforms.
Some teams made very subtle changes to their crest to incorporate this relatively new technique (which had been used by the Golden Knights and Sabres in recent seasons), a handful of teams really took the opportunity to have some fun with this new opportunity.
The Calgary Flames added a little embroidered embellishment to their logo by way of new markings within the flames of their jersey crest, both on the inside of the flames themselves and around the outside of each.
The Edmonton Oilers tweak may be my favourite of the group, the dimensional embroidery technique has been used here inside the orange oil drop as well as at the bottom of each of the letters in “OILERS”, as the name suggests, adding dimension to an otherwise flat (not a criticism) jersey crest.
Another highlight is the Minnesota Wild who have used this technique similar to Calgary and Edmonton. The dimensional embroidery has been added to the right sides of each of the evergreen trees on their crest as well as outlining the entire animal head/forest scene.
There were several more teams who made slight changes with the dimensional embroidery, I went through a few more in this post here.
Another change we noticed was applied league-wide and that was the UPGRADE of shoulder patches from that flat almost print-like style we saw on teams like Columbus and Tampa Bay to an actual embroidery-style across the board.
THE STARS AT NIGHT ARE BIG AND BRIGHT
The Dallas Stars made a very subtle change to all of their logos for the 2021-22 NHL season.
Filed directly under “Probably Wouldn’t Notice, Most”, the Stars have adjusted the shade of green used on all of their logos to a considerably brighter shade in an attempt to better match them to their uniforms.
“Didn’t they already match their uniforms?” you may be asking.
Not really. And it really had to do with how colour is presented digitally (such as a logo on an amazing website) versus on a textile (such as a physical jersey or hockey socks or gloves). The Stars are simply adjusting the green on their logo so the digitals match the physicals.
It’s important to note that the uniforms themselves will stay the same, this colour change applies only to the logos used on print and digital media.
“The colour change was made specifically for our digital assets to better match the fabric colour of the jerseys,” Dallas Stars Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Matt Bowman said to SportsLogos.Net back in August. “We found that the previous version of our green appeared darker on digital assets, where our unique Victory Green on the jersey really pops and appears brighter. It’s a small change that most fans won’t notice, but we think it better captures the vibrancy of Victory Green.”
SPEAKING OF STARS…
The 2022 NHL All-Star Game will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada (yes, even though there is an Olympic break we will still get our All-Star Game… first time since 2004 we’ve had both in one year). The game will be played on February 5 and following the game the league will immediately begin its two-week Olympic Break.
The logo for this year’s edition of the All-Star tournament, it takes inspiration from the “glitz and glamour of the neon lights and marquee signs on the historic Las Vegas Strip”, the logo carries over the host Golden Knights’ black, gold, and red colour scheme. The main shape of the logo is that of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign, positioned in a way to suggest the viewer is looking up at the sign.
Also from the sign is the red glint that soars above it, this glint is also used as the basis of the Golden Knights’ secondary/shoulder patch logo.
The typeface used for the “ALL STAR” and “LAS VEGAS 2022” bits is inspired by the mid-century modern style typography used by many of the casinos located throughout the Las Vegas Strip while the trim around the logo is a nod to the neon tubing commonly seen on those same signs. A pair of crossed, gold hockey sticks at the bottom completes the design.
The Golden Knights will wear a patch celebrating their hosting of the (sometimes?) annual mid-season mini-tournament, their version of the patch will be without the Honda logo as clubs are not permitted to wear advertisements on their uniforms… because that would just be silly!
LET’S TAKE THIS OUTSIDE
There will be three outdoor games played in the NHL in 2022, as always the traditionally-themed Winter Classic will be held on New Year’s Day, the future-focused Stadium Series will follow up a month later on February 26, and finally the Canadian-themed Heritage Classic will take place on March 13th.
This year the Winter Classic will be held at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of baseball’s Minnesota Twins, and will feature the hometown Minnesota Wild taking on the St. Louis Blues.
The logo for the event features the usual “Winter Classic” typeface on a shield which focuses on a Minnesota winter in the forest, pine trees line the skyline with snowbanks and a frozen pond.
As for uniforms, the Minnesota Wild will be celebrating “the state’s rich hockey pedigree, the rivalry of the Twin Cities, and its legacy as the State of Hockey”.
The green jersey combines elements from amateur and semi-pro hockey clubs of yesteryear including the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints. Across the chest and up each arm are several horizontal red stripes trimmed in vintage white, these striping patterns from both club uniforms of the 1930s. The collar is vintage white and contains no laces, shoulders are red and much more thin than usual, the 2022 Winter Classic patch on the right shoulder. A “leather” coloured patch is added to the elbows of each arm.
On the crest are two stars, a nod to the constellation Gemini (you know, the “twins”), another nod to the Twin Cities theme throughout this set (and the origin of the name of the ballclub that calls this stadium home). The state map of Minnesota is placed in between these stars in red with its MN abbreviation placed on it. Arched above and below this design is the names of both cities, “MPLS” (shortened from Minneapolis) and “ST. PAUL”.
Their opponents from St. Louis are sticking with a tried-and-true design, the Blues 2022 Winter Classic uniform is essentially a reboot of their original 1967-68 expansion season road white uniform, just with the white tinted to appear a little more aged.
And just like that original jersey (which lasted just the ’67-68 season), the jersey has blue shoulders with thin white, blue, and yellow stripes which flank an all-blue collar. The classic “Bluenote” logo is, of course, front and centre on the chest, and a thick yellow stripe centres two thin blue ones around the waist as well as on each arm. This exact style was adjusted after their Blues inaugural season with the yellow and blue striping reversed for 1968-69.
This uniform design also completes the expansion season/Winter Classic set the Blues had started with the 2017 Winter Classic uniform, that game played at Busch Stadium against Chicago, saw the Blues wear the home blue version of their 1967 uniform.
A look at the 2022 Winter Classic uniform matchup:
The 2022 Stadium Series, held at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (home of the NFL’s Titans) will see the Nashville Predators in their first turn at hosting an outdoor game, taking on the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning who are only just now playing in their first outdoor match.
No uniforms for the game have been released as of the time of me writing this post, but we have recently seen the logo…
The NHL says the logo is “inspired by the vibrant neon signs that adorn the legendary Honky Tonk bars of Nashville’s historic Broadway district”, other Nashville-inspired features include the guitar neck as well as three white stars as a nod to the Tennessee state flag.
“Tennessee is home to the best sports fans in the world, and we’re honoured that Nashville has been chosen to host the 2022 NHL Stadium Series game this February,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said when Nashville was awarded the game back in June. “Smashville is ready to welcome thousands to Nissan Stadium and show hockey fans all that Music City has to offer.”
Finally there’s the 2022 Heritage Classic which will be held between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs at Hamilton’s Tim Horton’s Field on March 13th. The Sabres will become the first U.S.-based team to take part in a Heritage Classic game.
No uniforms, no logo have been unveiled for this game yet but we’re hoping for both teams to wear their 1970s uniforms as a tribute to Tim Horton’s final game, which was played between these two at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in 1974.
REMEMBERING FALLEN FRIENDS
The Chicago Blackhawks will wear a memorial patch in honour of Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito who died in August at the age of 78.
Esposito, the younger brother of fellow Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, manned the crease for the Black Hawks for fifteen seasons between 1969 and 1984. He won the Vezina Trophy three times, the Calder Trophy in 1970, set the NHL’s record for shutouts in a season, and played in six NHL All-Star Games. Esposito was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and his number 35 was retired by the team later that same month.
The Chicago Blackhawks Tony Esposito memorial patch shows Esposito’s number 35 in white block lettering on a black circle with white and black trim. It will be worn on the upper right corner of the Blackhawks home and road jerseys throughout the 2021-22 season.
As far as we can tell, Esposito’s #35 will be the only memorial patch worn to start off the 2021-22 season though we’d be surprised if the New York Rangers didn’t honour Rod Gilbert in some way, similarly I’d imagine the Buffalo Sabres will do something for Rene Robert of their famed French Connection line in the ’70s.
THOSE BUCKETS PAY THE BILLS
Yeah, helmet ads are back, even though the NHL promised us this was just a one-year thing to help with the loss of revenue and corporate sponsorship opportunities during the pandemic.
Most teams are sticking with what they wore on their lids last year, but a few have made changes. Above you’ll see the Chicago Blackhawks with a new Belle Tire logo on their helmet. Somehow they won’t be the only team with a giant smile on their helmets as the Seattle Kraken will be using the smile from the Amazon logo on theirs for home games.
I’m not going to get into every new helmet deal in this post, you can follow along in our 2021-22 NHL Helmet Ad Tracker which is being updated as new deals are announced.
STILL TO COME?
Rumours are floating around about third uniforms from the New Jersey Devils (it’ll be their first ever third uniform!) and Pittsburgh Penguins. We’re also still waiting for outdoor game uniforms from Buffalo, Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. As well as the uniforms for the Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan, and Pacific Divisions for the 2022 All-Star Game.
Lots more to come! The sun never sets on new NHL uniform season. Anyways, drop the puck already, let’s play that hockey! Last season without ads on the jerseys, enjoy every second of it!