Colorado Throwback Thursday: Evolution of the Avalanche Jersey


Ever since Icethetics leaked the Colorado Avalanche’s new third jersey design a few weeks ago, Avs fans have been stirred up. The team’s jersey has long been a source of contention among a contingency. Specifically, many fans don’t like the “unipron” look created by the piping.

Since the Avalanche jersey is such a hot topic right now, let’s look at how we got to this point.

*A note on “jersey” vs “sweater” — I’m just going to stick with jersey for this post. 🙂

Team Name and Logo

More from Avalanche News

COMSAT Entertainment moved the franchise to Colorado in 1995. The new team needed a name, and “Rocky Mountain Extreme” was floated out as the desired moniker. After the name was leaked — and quashed — by Colorado hockey fans, the team held a forum so fans could indicate what name they would like.

The fans chose the Colorado Cougars. The owners quashed that, and the Colorado Avalanche were born.

Team owners then put it to the design team to create a logo. The logo went through several inceptions, including having a 60s-style swish and a right to left swoop, until the current logo was born. (Don’t forget to look for the “C” made by the swoop — once you see it, you can’t unsee it.)

The Classic Jersey

Remember when teams wore home white? Look at pictures from the Avalanche classic days, and it’s hard to remember which are home and which away games.

Refresher, the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in Florida in 2001:

View image |

The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup at home in 2001:

View image |

The colorful away jersey was designed with a nod to the blue-centric Quebec Nordiques design. However, burgundy replaced a lot of the blue. In fact, not only did the blue get deeper, but it only appeared on the tops of the sleeves and down at the bottom. Black and silver trim separated the colors, even creating peaks reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains at the bottom.

View image |

Likewise, according to The Hockey Writers, the burgundy got progressively darker. However, the team wore the same jerseys from the 2000-01 Stanley Cup season to the 2006-07 season.

The home white jersey featured the same design except the burgundy replaced the blue on the sleeves and hem, and white replaced the burgundy everywhere else. All NHL teams switched to home darks after the 2002-03 season.

View image |

Alternate Avalanche Jersey

During the 2001-02 season, the Colorado Avalanche jersey underwent another change. More specifically, the team introduced its first alternate or third jersey. The practice had started in the NHL during the 1995-96 season, but the Avalanche only took it on following their second Stanley Cup.

The original alternate Avalanche jersey was all-burgundy with the blue coming only in the stripes at sleeve and hem. The design also featured a throwback cross-tie at the neck. This burgundy alternate remained in play until the conclusion of the 2006-07 season.

View image |

The Colorado Avalanche didn’t unveil a new alternate right away. Instead, during the 2009-10 season, Colorado unveiled a mostly-blue third jersey that Avs Nation took to affectionately calling “blueberries.”

The blueberries are very similar to the burgundy thirds in that they feature “Colorado” in diagonal lettering and burgundy in the stripes. However, instead of striping at the hem, the blueberries featured burgundy shoulder patches.

Dec 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) during the game against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

These alternate Avalanche jerseys were retired at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

Reebok Edge Jerseys

Teams across the NHL saw major changes come in their jerseys when Reebok bought out The Hockey Company. Reebok took three years to design jerseys that are tighter-fitting, less water-absorbent and overall more flexible.

With this new technology came new designs.

Formerly the burgundy or blue wrapped all the way around the jersey. Now, a panel of color — burgundy on the whites and blue on the darks — interrupts the color. The colors are still separated by trim, now in the form of piping. The piping is blue and silver on the white jerseys and black and white on the burgundy jerseys.

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The piping extends from the neckline down to the hemline, framing the Avalanche logo in the center. The piping swells from the neckline, creating what some people term an apron effect — the unipron.

New Alternate Avalanche Jersey

And now we get to that controversial new jersey design that Icethetics leaked.

First, let’s note that the Colorado Avalanche had already made some subtle changes which the team unveiled at the 2015 NHL Draft. The changes amounted to adding a 20th anniversary patch on the front and replacing the bigfoot patch on the sleeves with a Colorado state flag-style C.

Turns out that Colorado state flag C was a herald of changes to come. If the Avalanche go with the new alternate Icethetics leaked, the subtle C in the swoosh is being replaced with that C. Also, the peak is no longer an A — it’s just a triangle. The overall look is far less dynamic.

The other big change is that the blue has gotten radically darker — it’s now navy. The piping is gone, but there are stripes and bi-color sleeves.

The navy blue’s pretty good, but the best addition in my eyes is the state flag on the shoulder. Really, I don’t know how critics can state that the Colorado “C” looks like it belongs to the Chicago Cubs when the inspiration for it is right there on the sleeve.

Never mind outsider opinions, Avs Nation. Which Colorado Avalanche jersey have you liked best? Are you a fan of the proposed new jerseys?

Next: TBT: Roy Changes the Face of Hockey

More from Mile High Sticking