When did the NHL’s first-ever all-electric uniforms start?
In the 1950s, the NHL was a small and tight-knit league, and fans were still mostly from outside of North America.
A lot of players were American, and the league had no shortage of uniforms.
For many, however, the uniforms they had to wear weren’t exactly cutting edge.
“I remember the first time we had a uniform that looked like a traditional NHL uniform, it was a lot of orange, white, blue, and gold,” recalls former NHL goaltender Brian Gionta, who played with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1960s.
“It was the first year the NHL had uniforms that were not just bright and shiny.
It was just a simple, classic uniform with white trim.
And I remember thinking, Wow, that’s pretty neat.”
That simple uniform quickly became the standard for all-encompassing uniforms, and today, most NHL teams sport an all-white look that goes beyond just color.
The first all-black NHL uniform ever wore by a team was worn by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1963.
The colors of the uniforms that come to mind most often are white, gold, and red, and some teams have even gone so far as to include white stripes on their uniforms.
“When I was growing up in North America, we were not accustomed to the fact that we were playing in a black league,” says former NHL goalie Steve Santini, who is now an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina.
“So we had to learn to live with it.
We had to work with it.”
The uniforms that came before it had been a very black league.
In 1954, the league introduced its all-gold uniforms.
By the 1960, that had expanded to include orange and white, as well as gold, yellow, and black.
By 1967, the teams were finally introducing a new all-red uniform.
The changes that came after were drastic.
The NHL’s modern era uniforms feature a black-and-white striped design.
The jerseys have an alligator print, which is often worn as a neutral, no-nonsense look.
“The jerseys were really black-on-black, with alligator stripes, black trim, black stripes,” Santini says.
“And that’s the last time a black uniform ever made it to the NHL.”
The team that first adopted all-nighter uniforms was the Detroit Red Wings, who were the only team to wear all-grey jerseys in their first-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues in 1967.
That year, the Red Wings wore black jerseys, but they went on to lose that series.
(The team changed their name to the Minnesota North Stars in 1973.)
“I don’t think you could have a better all-orange uniform than the Red Wing,” Santis says.
The uniforms were simple, yet they quickly became a staple of the NHL, and now, they’re worn by almost every NHL team.
“All-nighters were a thing because they had that great white trim, which was kind of like a little black star,” Santucci says.
When it came to making a uniform, there was a bit of a catch: the league didn’t allow teams to change uniforms for playoff games.
But the players loved them, and in 1968, the Detroit Pistons debuted their first all white uniforms, which they wore in their final game of the season.
“That was a big step in the right direction for the players and the fans, and we had no problem with it,” Santi says.
Since then, the number of teams wearing all-all-white uniforms has grown, with the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals each adding all-green uniforms in 2015.
The league also began requiring players to wear a uniform on the field in order to get noticed by other players, and it’s also a little ironic that the first all black jerseys came out before the all-blue uniforms.
In addition to the uniforms, there’s also the fact the uniforms were created to keep the players warm.
“You can’t have a uniform with that many stripes,” says Mike Babcock, who coached the Red Raiders from 1974 to 1984.
“With a black stripe, it doesn’t really help you, because it can kind of go to your back, so it’s hard to really see the numbers, and that’s something that was very important to the players.
And you couldn. “
But you had a rule that you couldn’t wear them while you were on the ice.
And you couldn.
So if you were going to go into the dressing room and go into a locker room, you had got to wear the same uniform that you were in the locker room.”
“I love all-snow white,” says Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
“My wife is a huge fan of it.”
And then there’s this: the most iconic