5 best Colorado Avalanche uniforms of all-time

A look back at some of the sharpest looks in Colorado Avalanche history.
Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights
Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Colorado Avalanche franchise has graced the National Hockey League for 28 seasons. The re-location of the Quebec Nordiques prior to the 1995-1996 campaign came with a complete name and logo overhaul. For the sake of this article I will not be reaching back into the annuls of Nordiques history aside from one notable exception.

One semi-recent story that caught my eye in 2022, and seems to resurface every few months in Avalanche fan circles, revolves around the color scheme that never-was. According to this legend, the Avalanche were initially working toward a design that would have been forest green and burgundy. But fate and a printer low on ink intervened when a print-out was sent to and approved of by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

I feel comfortable saying that Avalanche fandom got lucky if that rumor is true. The Colorado Avalanche have some of the best uniforms in sports, period. Even though this ranking is deeply personal and subjective I believe it reflects well on the organization's commitment to looking good, and playing even better.

As a kid growing up just one state over in Nebraska, and with family in Colorado, it felt like fate that I would root for the Avalanche. I was already a Broncos fan, and my favorite sports video game back then was NHL 94 on the Super Nintendo. On top of that, my dad's pro paintball team was also called the Avalanche. (I'm sure my dad would like everyone to know that he had the name first, and because I'm jotting these notes just after Father's Day, I feel duty bound to include that detail).

I have been a Colorado Avalanche fan since the team's inception and wear the bias that comes with that proudly. The vast majority of Avalanche uniforms have been immediately appealing to my eye. Still, there are some threads that did not make the cut for this list.

The honorable mention category is relatively short and might surprise some fans. It consists of two entries: the 2016 Stadium Series uniforms - which the team wore only once, in a loss to Detroit on February 27th at Coors Field. The design is clean looking and featured the C from the Colorado state flag on the chest. In 2015, the club had started featuring the alternate logo on their shoulders rather than the Yeti foot.

Here is Matt Duchene sporting the look. These were pretty slick, and would definitely have grown on me, if they were worn outside of the one L to the hated Red Wings. My sister was actually at the game with her best friend.

The second and final honorable mention nod goes to the current alternate uniform — 2021-present navy alternates Although the first version of the Avs navy alternates with the mountain logo on the chest and the state flag on the shoulders debuted in 2015, it took time to get used to for me as a fan. I think the organization agreed because it was dropped from the lineup for a season, before making a return in 2018.

Here we have the Captain Gabe Landeskog in the re-vamped alternate, with a more sharp “C” than the original design. This Alternate honors the Colorado Rockies. No, not those Colorado Rockies - but I'll add more context for that later on down the list. The mountain C logo looks good, as does the full state flag featured on the shoulder.

The issue I have always had with this uniform is a bit strange. It has always looked clean, and they were the standout creation of the Reebok period aesthetically. The best reasoning I can come up with concerning my hesitancy to embrace them, is that it is tied in brain to a similar but more upsetting shift in my sports life - when the Denver Broncos also went navy.

5. 2001-2007 Alternate

Check out Joe Sakic rocking these big burly burgundy alternates. Stylistically they evoke something old-school that never quite fit Colorado enough to rank higher on the list. To be completely frank, I didn't like them at first. With Colorado running diagonal down the chest and the upper laces it was a big change from previous sweaters.

In fact I'm sure that some of my first words upon seeing them were "It looks too much like a Rangers jersey". While I still hold that opinion to an extent and believe the Avalanche do not need to pine for vintage era look they were never part of, I have come around on these uniforms enough to appreciate them.

They have a classic look, while still maintaining some sharpness to the text that contributes to a certain undefinable aura. If the burgundy shade had not been darkened somewhat from the original color scheme in 2000 I maintain these would have been an eyesore.

4. 2021- Present

This is admittedly a bit of a loaded spot on the list. Mainly because I chose not to single-out a specific kit. In my defense however, this is where it became hard, because I legitimately love all of the current setups, and the rest of the contenders for best all-time uniform.

Cale Makar and big Valeri Nichushkin rocking the current fit home dark fits. This design is pretty classic with full view of the clean lines and bold colors. Also, notice the introduction of the light blue helmet. I remember this being a welcome shift from always donning the black or white caps. The Avalanche have always understood that changes don't need to be massive to be memorable.

Some previous iterations of uniforms worn in 2017-2020 brought back the sharper 'mountain trim' edges to sleeves and bottoms of the jerseys. Ironically, the more defined edges to the cuts occurred only when the Reebok Edge era ended, and Adidas became the official NHL partner.

Cale Makar again, this time showing off the current white sweater. Note the particularly crisp looking Assistant A on these. The extra letters for team leaders have never looked sharper in my opinion than they do on these whites. Another point in their favor is that they were worn during the Avs last cup clinching game on June, 26th, 2022. That was also my brother's birthday, and so it holds extra significance in my heart.

My feelings toward these beauties really make me wonder if it is possible to have recency bias and nostalgia working on my brain at the same time. Maybe that's more to do with the human inclination to love a winner or the power of missing a Captain whose playing future is still up in the air.

3. 2022-23 Reverse Retro

The 2022-23 Reverse Retro look is the biggest departure from the Colorado Avalanche color scheme to-date. It borrowed even more inspiration from the Colorado state flag than fans had seen previously but also harkened back to the Colorado Rockies.

I'm speaking of the short-lived Colorado Rockies hockey club that existed for only five seasons (1976-82). They later became the New Jersey Devils, who still hold their history statistically within the NHL. That team was before my time, and as the record books show, weren't very good. In five seasons they never once qualified for the playoffs. Still, my mom remembers going to those games with my grandpa fondly.

The current navy alternate uniforms, which made my honorable mentions, also honor the Rockies with their mountain C logo. A future throwback that uses that logo and the below color scheme might be too Rockies-centric to ever be done, but I think it would be worth trying at some point.

Various angles of the fellas showing off the totally sweet, but seldom seen uniform on Retro night vs The Blues. This is a variation on the Stadium Series duds that earned an honorable mention earlier in my list. The bright red and yellow undoubtedly make it less traditional, but man do those things pop! Just seeing them beside the Blues uniforms they appear even more vibrant by comparison.

The jersey was a real favorite among Avs fans as well. A look in the crowd at any game at Ball Arena last season was proof enough of that truth. Unfortunately the NHL deal with Fanatics meant the early demise of these unique threads.

A single season was all we got to appreciate them on the ice, but sometimes good things aren't meant to last. Beginning next season Fanatics will be the official partner for NHL uniforms. For now, we as fans can only guess what that will mean, but they are already bumming me out.

Fanatics has a rather dubious reputation online with fans for shipping out jerseys with sometimes hilarious errors. This ranges from misspellings on names, to entirely incorrect patches sewn on or upside down. The cynic in me says that in our now meme-crazy culture maybe the league or the brand will try to spin any mishaps into viral marketing.

2. 2021 Reverse Retro

A second Retro Reverse look in a row? Yes, indeed. The Avalanche wore these Nordiques inspired uniforms for one matchup only at an outdoor game against the Vegas Golden Knights on February, 20th 2021.

The event itself was remembered by most casual fans and league officials as a fiasco because of what should have been predictable issues with the the ice not staying frozen enough for play. The game was delayed for hours after the first period.

I honestly thought the game would be postponed, but after more than 8 hours of waiting the game resumed. The Avalanche were eventually victorious, winning 3-2. The Tahoe experience may have been a planning disaster, but the Avs uniforms were arguably even better looking set against the night sky.

Sam Girard can be seen skating by the bench for some high-fives just after scoring in the first. Although, maybe he was just waving goodbye to the television audience, many of whom likely fell asleep awaiting the second frame puck drop.

In another photo Devon Toews, who notched the GWG in the third, celebrates with P.E. Bellemare and Philipp Grubauer following the endurance test. These uniforms were a perfect throwback in my opinion. The classic Nordiques logo on the front in modern Avalanche color scheme meshed beautifully. The fleur-de-lis lining the bottom stand out, but don't dominate the look.

Also, can we take an extra moment to appreciate the burgundy pants? Somewhat surprisingly this was their first and only appearance in Avalanche history. If the team never brings back this specific retro design, I hope they at least consider more usage of the pants.

1. 1997-2000 — The Foot

The top spot in my all-time rankings goes to the thrid ever Colorado Avalanche uniform set, and includes both home and away designs. The inaugural season of 1995-96 was almost identical, but differs in two ways to the second try. The 96-97 iteration increased the size of the logo on front and tilts it just so slightly counterclockwise.

One year later they settled on my favorite look. The numbers were shrunk just a bit and the design thickened up. the outlines. I really appreciate that the team cared enough to make these small changes. It may have taken some goldilocks finesse, but I think they got it right.

A best all-time list about the Colorado Avalanche in any context has to include a Patrick Roy photo. As tempted as I might be to pick that first year's duds because they won the Cup wearing them, the subtle changes mattered.

Full transparency to Avs fans out there, my preference is likely influenced by the fact that these were the first jerseys I had growing up. I had a Joe Sakic and my brother had a Peter Forsberg. The sweaters were Christmas presents as I recall, and we later added a Patrick Roy to the collection, which we shared.

I may be sentimental, but these uniforms are still perfect in my mind. The bold colors, the thick but sharp cut lines. It all just works. The yeti foot will forever be iconic to me as an Avalanche die-hard. The picture on the right gives a great look at the emblem on Peter Forsberg's shoulders.

Maybe it would be seen as sneaky and under-handed by the Avalanche, but it seems that it is now or never for reclaiming the yeti foot as part of the team branding. The as-yet officially named Utah Hockey Club look to be zeroing in on Yeti as a major contender for their nickname. The name remains on their reported short-list, and the color scheme they announced fits too. For whatever reason they have punted on the choice for their introductory season.

Utah have presumably left the window open for Colorado who could use the upcoming year to bring the alternate logo back. Captain Gabriel Landeskog recently wore a hat featuring the foot to his non-retirement announcement. In the press conference the Captain made it clear he still wants to play. Was he also sending a subtle message to the team about the now throwback logo and a potential resurrection?

Throughout their history the Colorado Avalanche have sported an number of different uniforms. In my view they have always managed to hold on to a distinct identity through their various designs. The burgundy and blue have consistently had some of the NHL's sharpest sweaters.

So far details about any upcoming changes as the official uniform partner shifts to Fanatics have been few and far between. We here at Mile High Sticking will keep an eye on any developments and and have plenty to say on this or any Colorado Avalanche news.