How The NHL Looked 15 Years Ago

As the current NHL season rapidly approaches, we’re hearing back to the past and taking a look at what the NHL looked like in years gone by. We’ve already seen what the league was wearing 25 years ago so now we’re jumping forward a decade and checking out what the NHL looked like 15 years ago.

It was the 1996-1997 season and the original Winnipeg Jets had just moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes. They did so wearing some of the strangest uniforms that the league had seen up until that point. Not only did they have a Pablo Picasso-like coyote as the logo, but they also had strange Aztec trim that made the jersey look very odd.

But this wasn’t the strangest jersey in the league that season. It wasn’t even close. The 1996-97 season may have been one of the ugliest periods of NHL history.

Yes, these were the “fish sticks” years. While the Islanders switched back-and-forth between the fisherman logo and the more traditional logo during the 1996-97 season, the fisherman logo was still alive and well for several games.It was just a bad year for jerseys. The Boston Bruins, who usually have relatively classy and traditional uniforms, jumped on the third jersey bandwagon and put together this yellow monstrosity with a bear on the front. Yet this was not the worst jersey to be worn in 1996-97.

That honour goes to this terrible jersey. This photo isn’t from the 1996-97 season, but the Tampa Bay Lightning wore this disgusting thing as their third jersey from 1996 to 1999. To fully appreciate how horrendous this design was, check out this image from NHLUniforms.com:

Someone thought that this looked good.

The mid-to-late-90s were not kind to NHL uniforms. Here’s a graphical representation of all of the jerseys that were worn during the 1996-97 season. While things aren’t perfect today, we’re a million miles better off now than what we had to look at during this time period.