Blues Honour Pronger With Retro 90s Threads

The St. Louis Blues brought back their suddenly much-loved 1990s uniforms for their home game last night against the Nashville Predators.

St Louis wore the throwback threads in honour of the jersey retirement of former Blues captain Chris Pronger. The Hockey Hall of Fame forward spent 9 of his 18 seasons in the NHL with the Blues; Pronger wore those bright red stripes in 3 of those years from 1995-96 to 1997-98.

St Louis wore 1990s throwback uniforms for Chris Pronger on January 17, 2022

For the occasion, the Blues added a commemorative “44” patch, Pronger’s number, while with St. Louis, to the front of the jerseys.

Pre-game, all Blues players wore their modern day road white uniform design which Pronger’s name and number on the back of the sweaters; these jerseys also featured the “44” patch on the front and will be auctioned off by the club.

Chris Pronger warm-up jerseys were worn before the game, January 17, 2022

The St. Louis Blues initially unveiled these uniforms during the NHL’s lockout in 1994. The Sean Michael Edwards firm designed them out of New York who had just wrapped up developing the logo and uniform package for the expansion Florida Panthers.

SHOP: St. Louis Blues retro ’90s jerseys available now

“We were impressed, first, that [Blues president] Jack Quinn gave us a lot of time and, second, that we were open to all ideas, no matter how big a departure from the past,” SME designer Ed O’Hara told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time, adding “we just went nuts for a while.”

Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph model the new Blues uniforms in 1994

Original ideas included jerseys without the team’s famous Bluenote logo — replaced with a horn, a saxophone, a “cool cat playing the blues,” and, of course, the eventual large musical staff across the jersey. Realizing that the Bluenote was important, O’Hara’s team moved in a different direction, but the horn idea survived through to the end via a shoulder patch.

Red wasn’t a new colour for the Blues, previously used as a trim colour for about a decade before introducing the new set in 1994. However, the amount of red was significantly dialled up to the tune of roughly one-third of the entire road blue jersey design. The reason for the sudden prominance was that the gold colouring used on previous designs had a tendency to fade over time, giving the uniforms a “tired” look and “turning blah through repeated washings.” The club needed a new secondary colour.

Blues captain Chris Pronger in the St. Louis Blues old ’90s blue uniforms

Fans loved the new home white jerseys, which saw a predominantly white and blue colour scheme with minimal gold and red; those road blues, however, took some getting used to.

“I liked the home jersey right away and thought the secondary [horn] logos were neat,” recalled Blues merchandise manager George Pavlik to the Post-Dispatch. “Then the road uniform didn’t look that bad; then it looked ‘OK.’ Now it looks great [to me], I think the fans will go through the same stages.”

Designer O’Hara insisted fans would come to love the road blues, “The road uniform is going to grow on you. Trust me.”

Red became the star of the design for the Blues Reverse Retro set in 2021

In the end, the Blues would only wear the set for four seasons from the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season through to the end of the 1997-98 season before being replaced with a design very similar to what the club wears now and absolutely no trace of red anywhere to be found.

Recently, the Blues have brought back the design, wearing it a handful of times as their officially designated “heritage uniform” since 2019; during the 2020-21 season, the Blues cranked up the red on this look for their Reverse Retro design, which saw red become the prominent colour, flipped with the blue.

LINK: St Louis Blues complete logo and uniform history