November 21, 2020

New York Rangers Liberty jersey is back but how much did it change?

Rangers sport 1996 Liberty jersey vs 2020 version

Earlier this week, the NHL and Adidas announced Reverse Retro jerseys for every team. With that, the New York Rangers finally brought back the Liberty jersey.

The jersey has a more simple look compared to its predecessor, with the Rangers getting rid of the red on the sleeves from the elbow down. Both Rangers and hockey fans in general have given the new Liberty jersey mixed reviews as some think the design is too “safe” and bland. 

Mixed reactions to the Rangers Liberty jersey

From social media, the fans who are not as enthusiastic about the design feel the Rangers could have added more color to it. Whether that be more red and silver on the sleeves like the classic Liberty jersey or to add a red stripe across the bottom of the jersey. 

Rangers liberty jersey
New York Rangers third jersey (NHL.COM)

Another “complaint” is that while the jersey is retro it is not a reverse of the previous Liberty jersey. Some fans thought the Rangers should have had the jersey red instead of blue and the sleeves blue from the elbow down. 

Something that Rangers fans can be happy about is that it is not considered the “worst” jersey out of the reverse retro reveals from Monday. The few jerseys like the Red Wings, which is essentially a practice jersey and the Jets grey jersey are just some examples. Then there is the Islanders jersey which is basically the same jerseys from the early 2000s just slightly altered if at all. These jerseys were generally unliked according to the fans.

Yet, there was still positive feedback from the fans on the jersey and many are still glad to see the Rangers once again wear the Liberty in the upcoming season.

History of the Liberty

Mike Richter Liberty mask

The original Liberty jersey was first worn in the 1996-1997 season with Mark Messier unveiling the jersey. The jersey was a hit with fans and to this day is still considered one of the best Rangers jerseys of all time.

The jersey featured the new Lady Liberty logo that GM, Neil Smith, used from Mike Richter’s helmet as inspiration. The Lady Liberty logo featured the Statue of Liberty’s head on a shield with the NYR acronym below. 

The jersey itself had a navy blue color base with white and silver stripes on the sleeves at the elbow and red from the elbow down. The collar featured a red and silver stripe combination and the shoulders had a modernized New York Rangers logo which appears on the 2020 version as well.

In the 1998-1999 season, which was also Gretzky’s last season, the Rangers changed the Liberty jersey colors. During this season the Liberty jersey had a white base with a blue stripe across the bottom. The sleeves still featured the stripes at the elbow but were red and silver instead of silver and white, and from the elbow down was blue instead of red. 

The Rangers switched back to the blue color jersey the following season and continued with it as their third jersey. It was retired, much to fans dismay, when the NHL switched to Reebok as the jersey manufacturer in 2007. 

Rangers liberty jersey
Gretzky in the white Liberty Wayne Gretzky celebrate a goal in his white liberty jersey. (Image provided by sportslogos.net)

The New Liberty is Here!

There is ton of excitement surrounding the new Reverse Retro jersey, even though it is not a reverse, and fans are looking forward to seeing the new jersey in action this next season. While it does have fans (myself included) desiring a bit more, it is still a clean look that gives Lady Liberty justice. The numbers and name on the back on the new Liberty jersey have a modern look to it that comes off crisp, especially with the silver outlining. 

On Tuesday, the Rangers tweeted out the full look of the Liberty jersey with complete gear shown on Mika Zibanejad. The whole attire is amazing, the bright red pants to match with the red on the jersey. While the blue and red gloves in my opinion help settle the fact the sleeves aren’t red, and the blue socks with the red and silver stripes are the finishing touch.

Overall, the jersey is a great way to answer fans requests from the past decade to bring the Liberty back. It may not be exactly what fans have expected, but regardless they should be excited to add it to their jersey collection. Get ready to watch the team take the ice next season with Lady Liberty being back at Madison Square Garden. 

Random New York Rangers Fact for the Day

The first ever New York Rangers captain was Bill Cook who wore the ‘C’ from 1926-1937.

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