Monday, June 15, 2009
It was on this date in 1993 that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim officially received their NHL franchise membership. Originally owned by the Walt Disney Company, the Mighty Ducks name was chosen from the Disney move "The Mighty Ducks". Hockey purists hated the name and disliked the colors, logo and jerseys of the controversial franchise.
University of Maine star Paul Kariya would be their first ever draft pick and would lead the team for nine years. The addition of Teemu Selanne in 1996 gave them a potent duo for their five seasons together in Anaheim.
The Mighty Ducks would take four seasons to reach the playoffs, losing in round 2 in 1996-97 and would only make the playoffs once more in the next five seasons. It was not until the 2002-03 season that the Mighty Ducks would put together a serious playoff run, reaching the Stanley Cup finals and taking the New Jersey Devils to a seventh game behind the goaltending of Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy despite being on the losing side.
The following season the Mighty Ducks would miss the playoffs, but would return in 2005-06 after the lockout year, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games in the Conference Finals.
For the 2006-07 season, the club would be rebranded as a result in a change of ownership, having been sold by Disney to Henry Samueli. With that, one of the most controversial team names in league history would be dropped, as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim name would be simplified to the Anaheim Ducks. The other casualties of the rebranding were the cartoonish "duck mask" logo and trendy early 90's colors of "jade" and "eggplant", or teal and dark purple to the rest of us.
Today's featured jersey is a 2002-03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Paul Kariya jersey. This jersey features both Kariya's captain's "C" and the 2003 Stanley Cup finals patch from the team's first visit to the finals. The diagonal orientation of the waist stripe on the jersey was a clear break from the staus quo of the time and became an instantly recognizable design element associated with the Mighty Ducks and has been copied many times over since it's introduction in 1993-94 season.
The rebranding would bring an end to one of the most varied an controversial, but certainly unique, jersey histories of any team ever in the NHL. While the home and road jerseys remained unchanged, a variety of alternate jerseys saw action, giving them a total of six different jerseys over their 12 year run as the Mighty Ducks, sometimes with as many as four worn in a single season.