Timeless Classic: 50 Shades of Blue
The New York Rangers are an original six team and have therefore seen some changes to their jersey since 1926. Below I will describe the transition of the jersey throughout history, and how it kept pace with a rapidly evolving NHL. Much of the information that I was able to gather came from nhluniforms.com
The Rangers first season they sported a navy blue jersey with the team name “Rangers” displayed diagonally from the shoulder to the hip. On the arm, were three bands, which were white on either side of red.
This pattern was repeated at the bottom of the jersey.
The Rangers changed the letters on the uniform from white to red.
The following season the Rangers add a white outline around the red letters. This made the team name and jersey number jump out.
Red Rangers Pants with white stripe. (Image provided by ebaystatic.com)
The Rangers change the color of the pants to red with a white stripe.
The white stripe seen on the side of the pant leg is removed.
The Pants begin to feature a blue stripe down the sides of the legs as well as a blue stripe around the edge of the pant legs.
The pants undergo yet another change as now the blue stripe added just the season before is outlined in white.
The font of the word Rangers is changed slightly. Instead of long letters the word Rangers is printed out in smaller more defined letters. These letters begin to resemble the Rangers more modern jerseys.
In 42 the Rangers put a white drop in behind the letters and numbers. This added some depth and dimension to the jersey and helped it jump out on TV (still black and white) and to fans in the stands.
The Rangers remove the white drop shadow behind the letters and numbers.
The Rangers begin to televise home games and change their jerseys to feature the word “Rangers” arched across the chest with the player number under it. This style died after one season.
The Ranger jersey changes back to it’s iconic style including the white shadow behind the letters and numbers.
The Rangers make another change to the letters on the front of the jersey letting the letters stand upright rather than tilted.
The Rangers add an away jersey that is similar to the home version aside from white being the base color of the jersey. This meant that the letters of the jersey were blue with a red shadow behind them. One of the new features on the jersey was a neck yoke striping pattern.
Rangers Gloves (Image provided by Ty-Co Memorabilia)
The Rangers become the first team in NHL history to wear colored gloves. The red, white, and blue mitts matched the team attire and gave birth to a new style in the NHL. Shortly after the Rangers transition the Maple Leafs were right behind them in 1958-1959.
Andy Bathgate taping his stick and showing off his number 9 (Image provided by blog.thecanadianencyclopedia.com)
The team adds numbers to the sleeves of the jerseys. This is part of making the players easier to spot on the ice.
1970 Rangers jersey with a newly added name plate. (Images provided by classicauctions.net)
The Rangers add the players last names to the jerseys. This was used to make the players more recognizable to the fans. This was key as hockey is a fast paced game and it could be hard to see a players face. The Rangers were among the first teams to incorporate this style.
The Rangers change their jersey to include a New York Rangers shield rather than the word “Rangers” spelled out across the front of the jersey. The jerseys were a darker shade of blue and the pants even changed from red to the same dark blue. This jersey was not accepted by the Rangers community and was changed shortly after.
The Rangers put “New York” where it once said Rangers, the red pants return.
The NHL makes helmets mandatory in the NHL recognizing that the game is becoming more dangerous. Players were shooting higher and harder and getting faster on their feet as well.
The names on the back of the jersey are arched.
Brian Leetch sporting the Rangers third jersey. (Image provided by nhlalumniproam.com)
The Rangers add a third jersey to their inventory. This jersey is a darker shade of blue and portrays the Statue of Liberty in the Rangers crest with the letters NYR just under her head.
This jersey is used only occasionally and is somewhat popular.
The Rangers blue jerseys begin to feature a tie able collar. This is a shout out to old time hockey jerseys when the sweater used to have to be tied.
The Rangers change the third liberty jersey to white and use it for the season. The arms have a dark blue diagonal stripe and a white based around the same logo.
The white liberty jersey is changed back to its original dark blue. The white jerseys now have a tie able collar as well.
The Reebok Edge Jerseys become the new template in the NHL. The jerseys were a different fabric and fit more snugly. The changes make the jerseys lighter, and don’t have the fight strap to keep jerseys from coming up while fighting. It was thought that this may reduce fighting as it became harder to grapple.
The Rangers present a new heritage jersey. The jersey features a darker blue, a toned down red and reads “New York” across the front where it would typically read Rangers.
These jerseys say “established 1926” inside the collar and have the numbers of all players retired by the Rangers on the bottom of the inside of the jersey.
The Winter Classic jersey was a cream colored jersey that followed the theme of the heritage jerseys. they kept the dark blue and faded red look. The Rangers only wore the jerseys once. The jerseys were in this “old time hockey” style to maintain the theme of the game returning outdoors.
The Stadium Series Jerseys had a more modern look. All the teams involved incorporated a chrome look for the event. They had a Hartford Wolf Pack style but used “New York” instead of a shield or the word “Rangers”.
We have seen jerseys evolve throughout the years, even though some of the changes were slight they all contributed to building the brand that the Rangers know today. It is unlikely that the Rangers will make any changes to their jerseys in the foreseeable future, and that is because trial and error led them to this iconic look.
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