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The current Ottawa entrant in the National Hockey League is named after the first team from that city to play in the NHL.
Of course, the original Senators weren’t originally the Senators. The Ottawa Hockey Club, founded in 1883, was alternatively referred to as the Generals and the Silver Seven before “Senators” was settled on long enough for the team to win seven of the 11 Stanley Cups it collected from 1903-27.
It probably shouldn’t have taken that long. Ottawa being Canada’s capital, “Senators” made as much sense as anything — unless you favor something funkadelic like the Ottawa Parliament.
Regardless, the team was belly-up by 1935, though it did seem to pass down a certain indecisiveness when reborn in 1992. But, where the original Sens struggled to find a name, the newer model has had a hard time settling on a look.
Of Senators and Centurions
Never mind that their logo is essentially a mistake. That guy in the plumed war helmet is a centurion. If the Roman senate motif was what they were going for, they might have chosen a guy with a Caesar haircut and a laurel wreath.
For a team that has been consistent on the ice — making the playoffs 16 times in the last 20 seasons — in their 25 seasons, the Senators have had more than their share of wardrobe changes.
Here’s a glimpse at their notable looks:
1992: The Senators debut with a pair of jerseys that might have passed for mockups of prospective Blackhawks alternates. Home whites with red and black accents, road black with red accents, both adorned with a befeathered profile of a vaguely historical caricature.
1997: After switching the road numbers from red to white in 1993, and adding a couple of white accent stripes in ’95, an alternate jersey arrives. It is red, with a front-facing centurion logo and a swoopy white-trimmed black stripe across the torso that has the unfortunate effect of diminishing a pretty solid logo upgrade.
1999: The alternate becomes the official road jersey.
2000: A new alternate manages to stick around for seven seasons despite a striping pattern — white and red bordering a wide, mustard swath dotted with what look to be black arrowheads — that might look more at home on a Phoenix Coyotes minor league affiliate.
2007: Reebok takes over as the league’s jersey supplier, and streamlines the look. The alternate goes, the front-facing logo stays, and red home and white road jerseys lose any waist stripes in favor of underarm color blocks and sleeve stripes that maintain a vague swoopiness.
2008: A black alternate ditches the logo for “SENS,” just one of the bad choices on a busy little number with contrasting hemline trim, horizontal and vertical stripes on the sleeves and weird raglan sleeve-style piping.
2011: SENS gets shelved in favor of a gorgeous alternate based on the original Senators’ barber-pole look. A simple, black “O” dominates the front of the jersey, which is essentially black with wide red and white stripes across the chest, shirttail hem and elbow.
2014: A white-based barber pole is introduced at the Winter Classic.
2017: Adidas, the new jersey supplier, (like Reebok before it) dumps the alternate — stealing its number font and applying it to what are otherwise essentially unchanged versions of the home red and road white sweaters. However, the December 2017 NHL 100 Classic sees the debut of a simpler take on the wide horizontal stripes. Red with wide black and white stripes at the chest and elbow separated by a thin slash of silver, sporting a black-trimmed silver “O” as the crest. Gorgeous.
Adidas will no doubt add alternate jerseys, and the NHL 100 Classic iteration of the “O” look should be it. The Silver Seven would no doubt be pleased, as should anyone who likes design that nods to history while breaking new ground.
Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet.