Saturday, August 15, 2009
Curious, Weird and Ugly™ makes it's second trip down to Phoenix, this time to examine the Coyotes primary home and away jerseys.
When the Winnipeg Jets relocated to the desert the team acquired a new nickname in a "name the team" contest, and as a result of "Coyotes" being selected the winner, a complete overhaul of the team's identity was undertaken. Gone were the familiar blue, white and red colors of the Jets and we now had jerseys that were black, brick red, hunter green, sand with sienna and purple appearing in the new geometric coyote logo, one of the oddest primary logos in NHL history with it's blank stare which did not inspire either intimidation or attraction.
The jerseys featured a southwestern inspired ornate trim pattern used on the striping of the jerseys, appearing on the sleeves, waist and even the collar. I can see where they were going with this idea, but it just seems too busy and too much of it, especially when you consider the angled sleeve stripes only serve to make the length of the stripes on the arms longer, and thus busier still. Then factor in squeezing the pattern onto the collar and you have one of the most complex jerseys in the league at the time.
I rather liked the sand color names and numbers trimmed in brick red used in conjunction with the black jerseys, but never embraced the font itself. The numbers were narrow overall, had some oddly proportioned digits, the 2 and 5 in particular. Also consider the inside corner of the 7 is pointed, while the outside is rounded. The names also had the occasional unexpected curved letters, such as the rounded E's to keep the viewer off balance.
These jerseys were used from 1996-97 until 2002-03 when the team underwent a branding overhaul which included a new, much more realistic logo and a much needed streamlining of the team's color palette, with the hunter green being dropped from the jerseys and sienna and purple disappearing from the new logo, which went from six colors to three when compared to the previous logo.
The black NHL 2000 patch was the only season-long patch ever worn on these jerseys.
I don't believe the general public, outside of the Phoenix area, ever embraced the Coyotes unconventional look, particularly in long established hockey markets in the north. Without any Stanley Cup victories to relate the jersey to, it also fails to benefit from being associated with any particularly successful or memorable era in Coyotes hockey history.
I rate this jersey to be "Weird" due to the somber color combination, overly complex and busy striping pattern, unusual font for the numbers and letters and odd and overly complicated primary logo. I won't go so far as to call it ugly though, as the black jersey with it's brick red trim and sand colored stripes and numbers is an attractive combination and the team must be given credit for breaking out of the standard use of primary colors employed by nearly every other team, especially when you take into account the Coyotes used colors inspired by the desert southwest, and not trendy colors of the day, like eggplant and jade or teal (yes, Anaheim and San Jose, I'm looking at you), that would become dated as soon as the next color trends arrived.
Here are some playoff highlights versus the Detroit Red Wings wearing both their home whites and road black jerseys.