In preparation for tomorrow's Hockey Day in Canada, Icethetics has been conducting a series of polls with the goal of ranking the uniforms of the NHL's six Canadian teams. It's the very definition of a popularity contest. And with 18 sweaters and more than 75,000 votes cast, the results are in.
Coming in at No. 1 with an 8.6 rating, the Oilers' alternate sweater, a throwback to the days when things were brighter in Edmonton — both in hue and on-ice talent. Wayne Gretzky lifted the Cup four times in those colors. Now Taylor Hall hopes to lead a new crew to glory.
The Montreal Canadiens' red home uniform was a surprising and relatively distant second place with an 8.2. But it had some stiff competition. It's a look that's existed for as long as the NHL itself has. Its place among the best in well-deserved.
Rounding out the Top 3 is another blast-from-the-past retro jersey, this one belonging to the Calgary Flames. Rated by fans an 8.1, it was initially a hold-over from the Atlanta Flames after they relocated in 1980. And though the logo changed, the sweater remained the same for 15 years until the team's look evolved with black trim.
The first white jersey to show up in the rankings appears at No. 4 and it's another throwback! Something tells me we like our Canadian teams in retro sweaters. The Vancouver Canucks are wearing their inaugural season uniform to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
Fittingly, the Canucks also take 5th place with their alternate sweater. Toronto's alternate sweater follows close behind with a 7.4 rating. (Of course we won't be seeing Beauchemin in that jersey anymore.)
The next group includes the Maple Leafs' home and road sweaters and the Habs' road threads, making these the only two teams with all of their sweaters ranked in the Top 10. Of course it also leaves one team out of the Top 10 entirely. But we'll get to the Senators shortly.
But the most noteworthy bit is that even though the Ottawa Senators have three sweaters to choose from, their most popular is 14th out of 18 in all of Canada. Perhaps a change is needed in the capital city, because Icethetics readers really do not like what they have to offer.
The final group is not a huge surprise. Many have bemoaned the "practice jersey" look of the Oilers original Reebok Edge home/road set. When the throwback won fans over, it became the home sweater. Now, rumor has it, it's getting a partner in white next fall.
And readers always suspected the Senators had a terrible alternate uniform. Now we have the data to back that up. That 2.2/10 rating is an abomination. But it's also supposedly getting replaced for 2011-12.
I found there were a few more numbers to crunch. For instance, what if you average each team's jerseys? How does each team rank overall?
Unsurprisingly, the Habs averaged out at a 7.6, a decisive top finish. The Leafs were second-best with a 6.9 average uniform rating while the Canucks trailed behind with a 6.3.
The Flames' three sweaters work out to a 5.7 overall rating forcing the Oilers to second-worst in Canada with a 4.5, despite having the best individual jersey. Those other two really hurt them. Obviously the Sens sit at the bottom of the group with a meager 3.4 average.
Alternate and specialty jerseys averaged out at 5.9/10. Home sweaters were clearly the most popular with a 6.3 average compared to those road whites with just a 4.8. And the good news is that overall, fans like more than half of all Canadian NHL uniforms.
By the way, for as much as some readers complain about all the blue in the league, these results speak for themselves. Ten of the top 11 Canadian NHL sweaters have blue in them. What's your take on the results?
Just added a new detail to the sweater stats above. In the caption of each photo you'll find the year the jersey was introduced into the NHL (followed by the year it was revived, if applicable). When you look at it that way, all of the bottom 9 uniforms are from the Reebok Edge era (2007). The Canucks' alternate is among the top group but even though it's relatively new, it's inspired by the look of the 1970s. Coincidence?