Sunday, April 15, 2012

What if the Original Ottawa Senators Never Folded?

We don't make a habit of posting NHL jersey concepts here at Third String Goalie since there are several websites that specialize in being the home for jersey concepts, and do a fine job of it, but recently while researching an upcoming story we came across a set of concepts unlike any we had ever seen before that really caught our eye for their creativity and sense of history.

The idea behind this set of concepts was "What if the original Ottawa Senators never folded?", which was proposed by John Baranowski, a member of the Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Community who goes by "hockey week". John was also the play by play announcer for the Mercyhurst University hockey team and is looking for a new team to work for.

Here is John's look at the history of the Ottawa Senators and would could have been - had they survived past 1934.
What if the original Ottawa Senators never moved to St. Louis and then folded? This is the sequel to my study of the Montreal Maroons, and I have to say that this one was much tougher. The biggest question i faced was "Would they drop the Barber Pole stripes?" In my research of the non-NHL teams Ottawa has had since the Senators folded, the barber pole has been everywhere. The city is proud of it, they embrace it, I once heard from a Senators fan discussing new jerseys "If it isn't a barber pole, it sucks." I think the franchise would think much the same, considering they twice wore patches saying how awesome they are.

Their alternate history is a struggle with "is the barber pole ok?" I also figure that this team has won 11 Stanley Cups, and is older than the trophy itself, coming to be in 1883. They were the first powerhouse, and would have a pretty good sway over the league. So without further adieu, the history of the Senators.

The following images are from NHLuniforms.com, the Hockey Uniform Database, to give you a full picture of where I was working from.
1917-21
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1921-22
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1922-23
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1923-24
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1924-27
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1927-28
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1928-29
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1929-30
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1930-31
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History
1932-34
Ottawa Senators Sweater History, Ottawa Senators Sweater History

At this point, John's imagination and creativity takes over and he documents his version of the Senators jersey history from 1934-35 through to the present day. Come along for a ride through the very striped history of the Ottawa Senators.
1934-37
The Senators take a slight change to their sweaters, bringing the white shoulders back from 1931.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1937-39
Black pants are added.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1939-41
With the Black Hawks copying their barber pole, the Senators are forced to adopt a white sweater for certain games, essentially removing a whole bunch of stripes. The number box also gets bigger.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1941-45
The striping on the white sweater changes slightly.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1945-51
The full barber pole is dropped as a black version of the white sweater (and a white logo) are introduced as part of trying to modernize.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1951-56
The barber pole is brought back...sorta. TV cameras couldn't handle the many stripes, and it looked like a big mess on the CBC, so the Senators enlarge all the stripes.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
The Senators introduce a new logo around the same time as the Black Hawks were redesigning their look. It incorporates the O they had for decades, the Peace Tower from Parliament flying the Red Ensign flag, surrounded by the red and white maple leaves from the National Seal, finished with the three-branched leaves from the symbol on the flag. (I'm no logo designer, I just wanted to add something to the big 0).
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators 1950's Logo
1956-68
The jerseys get simpler, feature the new logo, and look classy on Hockey Night in Canada. this is their "Original Seven" sweater.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1968-73
With all the crazy new sweater designs of the Class of 1967, the Senators bring back the barber pole on the sleeves.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1965
The logo updates to the modern Canadian flag.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators 1970's Logo
1973-79
The Senators add names, as per NHL regulation.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1979-83
Just like the Bruins, the Senators decide to simplify their sweaters, removing a good number of sleeve stripes.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1983-84
The Senators celebrate their 100th Anniversary, setting the stage for Montreal's a few decades later, by bringing back sweaters from the past, notably the first actual sweater pictured (though with a larger logo and numbers) for use in certain games. Notice on the 1921 sweater, instead of saying "1921-22" for the championship patch, it gives tally marks, implying that there will be more cups in their future. Considering they won 11 prior to 1934, I don't think it's that much of a stretch to think that the original powerhouse would get 6 more by this point.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
They wear this patch for the season, using their original logo from their Sporting Club days.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators 100th Anniversary Logo
1984-91
Back to the classic sweaters.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1991-92
For the NHL's 75th Anniversary, a throwback is introduced. The Senators treat it nonchalantly, they've been there, done that.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1992-98
Back to the classic sweaters.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
1998-2007
The Senators get in on the 3rd jersey craze by adding a red alternate. It will remain until the Edge switchover.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
2007-2009
The RBK Edge switchover did not work well for Ottawa. RBK insists that the barber pole cannot be done with the system (as they recently told the Ottawa 67's in our history), so the Sens do what they can.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
2009-present
The Senators insist that RBK fix their barber pole sleeves, threatening to sue out of the uniform contract. They get their way. Also, coming full circle, a third jersey is introduced, taking their Edge jerseys and barber-poling the whole thing, making the team come full circle: the Barber Pole is cool again.
Ottawa Senators Jersey History, Ottawa Senators Jersey History
And that's the history of the Senators, if they managed to stick around. I tried for a 20s-ish looking font, and really, number fonts weren't a big focus for me. Honestly, I wish I had more sports-looking fonts.
Now that was a fun ride! We really like how John explains the changes in styles with an awareness of what other teams were actually doing as time passes.

We agree with his self assessment on the number fonts, as we would have liked to have seen more traditional block fonts for the numbers and names through the mid-90's, as off the wall, unusual fonts were not used in the NHL until the arrival of the Tampa Bay Lightning's paintbrush numbers in 1994-95.

Highlights for us are how he introduces a second sweater in 1939 and then takes the Senators out of the barberpole era in 1945 before evolving their logo into something beyond the simple 1920's "O", perhaps suggesting even introducing it earlier on the new white sweater in 1939 or 1945.

He then hits the mark by bringing back the 1956-57 jersey as their Turn Back the Clock jersey for 1991-92 rather than creating something new, as all the Original 6 clubs revived an old sweater for the NHL's 75th Anniversary and did not create anything brand new. He also gets points for not creating a red sweater until the arrival of the third jersey craze of the late 1990's.

He's also spot on with his thoughts on the transition to the Edge jerseys of 2007, as horizontal stripes were on the outs with Reebok, only some teams stood their ground and demanded they remain.

Also, for those of you unfamiliar with the pre-NHL history of the original Senators franchise, the odd looking logo for the 1891 sweater he proposes for the 1983-84 centennial of the franchise and the 100 seasons logo comes from these sweaters worn when the club was simply known as the Ottawa Hockey Club and nicknamed the Generals, which we would describe as a "winged athlete's leg", repeated three times in a circle. Even being aware of the pre-NHL (founded in 1917) Senators gets major points for John in our book!


Big thanks to John for letting us reprint his work and we hope you liked the trip through time with John's creativity as our guide.

1 comment:

  1. That's an awesome work! Kudos to the author!

    ReplyDelete

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