Yesterday, the Anaheim Ducks revealed their 25th Anniversary alternate jersey to the public, which featured their best attempt to combine every single uniform they’ve ever worn into tone design. They were extremely successful in doing that, but the actual final look, to me, left a lot to be desired.

First reactions around the hockey world were initially extremely positive, but as people realized how different the uniform was from the 1993 Eggplant-and-Jade Mighty Ducks jerseys that so many fell in love with over the years, that began to taper. The current crest shoulder patches, the silver piping, the shoulder yoke, the slightly off-colour crest, and especially the initially-unnoticed move from eggplant to black has the primary colour have made this a bit of a polarizing design. It’s not horrific, but the more you look at it, the more it lands towards “could’ve been better”, in a way that could have been solved by, well, not overthinking the uniform and just putting out the original sweater.

But that’s what’s fun about alternate sweaters in a sense, right? It’s a place to do something different, that still has nods to the team brand. This led me to an idea: I went through the vast history of NHL sweaters and picked out my favourite alternate jerseys for each team.

Here are the rules that we’ll be following:

  • Throwback jerseys are off the table. Admitting that your design from 20-30 years ago was better than the one you have now is noble and honest, but we’re looking for the best leaps of faith, the best deviations from the norm.
  • Jerseys that became home/away jerseys are also off the table. One could argue that this eliminates sweaters that were so good that they got called up, which has happened but it also eliminates attempts the vast majority of that group that were test-run as alternates before a planned promotion. I want pure alternates – sweaters made for a set purpose, which was accomplished in beautiful fashion.
  • Outdoor game jerseys are allowed, so long as they follow the rules. For some teams, alternate sweaters are a no-go, or they’ve already got a long-standing group of sweaters, and the Stadium Series or the Winter / Heritage / Centennial / We Want To Face The Penguins or Blackhawks Classic are their only opportunities to stick their neck out there and do something new. As long as its different, it qualifies.

Now that we have that settled, let’s dive in.

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