Hockey is America’s biggest little sport. In the post-lockout era, hockey games are harder to find on TV and the average American probably couldn’t name five current players without the aid of ESPN. But for true hockey fans, the sport is as enthralling as ever and it still is far and away the best professional sport to watch live. Though, most professional leagues are now as polished as a freshly minted trophy, but hockey still feels endearingly ragtag in a way, though much of that is disappearing by the season. Yes, part of this stems from the sport’s lack of true mainstream superstars (in comparison to the NBA or NFL), and the aggressive, often manic gameplay, and of course the fights. But, a large part of it has to do with the jerseys. Tune into a hockey game today and you’ll see many of the same (or close enough to the same) jerseys that players have worn for decades.
Hockey jerseys maintain a certain old school eccentricity that other sports shed years ago. They aren’t bogged down by sleek graphics, or glitzy technologies, they’re just these boxy, brash pullovers that are closer to a sweater than a high-tech uniform. It all stems from the Original Six, the legendary first set of teams that made up the NHL back in the 1920’s. The Boston Bruins, the Chicago Black Hawks, the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. These six teams shaped hockey, not just in gameplay, but in style as well. It’s with good reason that these teams have largely kept the same jerseys since their inception – they remain the best set of uniforms in all of professional sports.