Atrocious. The New York Islanders franchise is no stranger to questionable uniform decisions. The infamous “Fisherman” jerseys were introduced in the mid-90’s, replacing the traditional royal blue and orange with a goofy seaman logo, the addition of teal and silver, and a strange, wavy striping design with heavily distorted numbers. After experiencing harsh fan backlash, ownership of the team reverted back to a much more traditional scheme. Fast forward to this season, and once again the Islanders are on the NHL blacklist, literally, as they introduced black alternate jerseys mid-season.
Lets break down this look a little bit. First of all, the Isles bring in the colors black and grey here. Why? The team has been orange and blue since its inception (despite the brief foray in to the fisherman look). There has never been any black either, prompting me to consider this a very strange branding decision. Grey is also featured heavily in the striping design, although there is no grey in any other Islanders logos or uniforms. Both of these colors are prominent in the modern striping design; I am not a fan of the striping either, the Islanders should stay with their traditional feel. It gets worse. Possibly the biggest eyesore of the design is the “Islanders” wordmark arching across the front. I don’t understand why Reebok thinks it’s a good idea to put large wordmarks on hockey jerseys (this isn’t basketball), but it comes across as an amateurish and very collegiate aspect to bad alternate jersey. Throw in the blue helmet with this all-black design and we have ourselves arguably the worst uniform in the league.
Ranting aside, let’s take a look at some other notable wacky (or just plain bad) alternate jerseys in the NHL.
Vancouver Canucks (2001-06)—Although I don’t mind this very strange uniform, the fade from red to blue right smack dab in the middle of the jersey was…. memorable, to say the least.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1995-96)—Known as the Wild Wing jersey, this wild teal uniform featured the Ducks mascot shattering a sheet of ice and an impossible to read number font.
Atlanta Thrashers (2008-11)—Probably the worst alternate before the Islanders new ones came along. Another bad arched wordmark, oversized Thrasher heads on the shoulders, and a terrible, inconsistent striping design. Yuck.
Tampa Bay Lightning (1996-99)—The Lightning channeled all of the weather-related themes they could think of. Crashing waves, yellow lightning bolts, and a torrent of sideways rain. A little overwhelming.
Nashville Predators (2001-07)—What happens when you experiment with unsightly shades of yellow. These mustard colored jerseys resembled vomit more than anything else; thankfully the Preds got it right with their latest rebrand as they switched to a true yellow jersey at home.