A new segment here at Ice Hockey Sweaters. I will be looking at the history of the teams in the NHL through their sweaters. It is nice to see illustrations of what the team wore, but I think visual evidence can give us what the uniforms looked like a little better. Much thanks goes out to NHLUniforms.com for help with the research end of this project. First up the Might Ducks, or should I say the Ducks.
A little history to begin with. Not many teams can trace their origins back to District 5 in Minnesota made up of a bunch of misfit Minnesotans coached by the one and only Gordon Bombay. In fact no other team in the NHL can trace its origins back to a movie. But the Mighty Ducks were dreamed up by Disney and started play in the league in 1993-94. Of course they couldn’t ware the jersey of Charlie Conway, so they had to come up with a new logo and look.
Logo(s) – The original logo, an old school goalie mask in the shape of a ducks face in front of an upside down teal triangle with two crossing sticks behind, was used from 1993-2006. Within the same time period, 93-06, the Mighty Ducks also used two different logos on what would be their alternate sweaters. The first came in 1995-96, known as the ‘Break Through Duck‘. I will return to this in the sweater section below. The second logo was a slightly slanted script with ‘Anaheim’ in white and ‘Mighty Ducks’ in small script above.
In 2006-07 the Mighty Ducks completely changed their image. No longer owned by Disney, they dropped the ‘Mighty’ and just became the plain ol’ Ducks. Gone was the stylized hockey mask and the purple and teal, thank Buddha. Which is somewhat fortunate, because I think Lord Stanley of Preston, Conn Smyth, Frank and Lester Patrick, and all the other individuals entwined in the early history of the game, would have been spinning in their graves if ‘The Might Ducks of Anaheim’ were to be engraved on the cup.
Sweaters – The team started out simple enough in 1993 with a traditional home whites and away purple/eggplant color things. The one strange aspect was the slanted hem lines on the bottom of the sweaters, which also extended to the back causing some number overlap. The shoulder patches were first introduced in the 1996-97 season. See the patches section below. These sweaters were the main home and away set used by the team from 1993 to 2006.
The first alternate sweater the Mighty Ducks used is perhaps the most unusual and unsightly sweater to ever be donned during an NHL game. The ‘Break Through Duck‘ did not translate well onto the ice. Inspired by their mascot, Wild Wing, who is still around, the Mighty Ducks tried something different and failed, for it only lasted that one season.
Starting in 1997, the team went with two alternates, using the same primary logo as they did on the home and away sweaters. One was white, which lasted from 1997 to 2000. The other was teal which lasted from 1997-1999. The next alternate was used from 2003 to 2006. Using the slanted logo mentioned above, the Mighty Ducks wore these dark purple, some will argue black, sweaters.
That brings us up to the current sweaters unveiled in 2006-07. Black and Gold, which a hint of reddish-orange are the new colors for the Ducks, severing all identity ties to the Mighty Ducks of old. The home darks are black, while the away whites are the same as the homes just with a white field. Again the hem line is a little different, but one can be led to believe that with the coming of the Reebok Edge, the team knew it would translate well into the new system, which it has.
Patches – The Mighty Ducks wore a patch for their first game in the league in 1993, and a patch for their inaugural season, which they may or may not have wore according to two differing sources. The team wore a memorial patch late in the 1993-94 season to commemorate Frank G. Wells, President of Disney, who died during the season. The Mighty Ducks opened the season in Japan in 1997 and wore this patch during both games. In 1999-2000, along with every other team in the league, the Mighty Ducks wore the NHL Millennium patch in the team’s purple. Reaching the Stanley Cup Final twice, the team has wore two patches, in 2003 as the Mighty Ducks and 2007 as the Ducks.
Special thanks to Hockey Blog in Canada and NHLPATCHES.INFO for the patch images and logos.