Inspiration: Canadian Hockey logos

Canadian NHL logos

Canadian NHL logos

It’s no secret that us Canadians love our hockey. Above is a selection of Canadian NHL logos from the past and present, which I wanted to write about after reading Jakub’s (ISO50) post entitled Logo Upgrade Design fail Vol. 1 where he analyzes the unfortunate redesign of our coveted Toronto Blue Jays logo.

It seems most sports teams have fallen to the same design motifs over the past 15 years, a snarling cartoon mascot with thick lines busting through a wall. Nothing can hold a candle to the simplistic, smart designs teams wore, and in some cases continue to wear amid the constantly upgraded logos of today. These logos have become so ingrained in Canadian culture, specifically Montreal and Toronto, that a redesign is almost unfathomable. Listed above are:

1. Montreal Canadiens: 1917 – present
2. Edmonton Oilers: 1979 – 1996
3. Quebec Nordiques: 1979 – 1995
4. Toronto Maple Leafs: 1970 – present
5. Vancouver Canucks: 1970 – 1980
6. Ottawa Senators: 1997 – 2007
7. Winnipeg Jets: 1990 – 1996
8. Calgary Flames: 1980 – present

And to anyone reading from Montreal, go Habs!

11 Comments

  1. Reading from Montreal: “Go Habs, Go!”

    I agree, the Montreal Canadiens logo is part of our culture and I can hardly imagine it changing.

    Would be interesting to see your style applied to those logos hehe.

    I didn’t know you were a Canadiens fan, or was that just for your blog to gain popularity with Montrealers? ;)

  2. james (Author)

    Haha! No Jerome, I have been a Habs fan since I was in elementary school. I lost track of hockey for a few years but I’m back to following things regularly thanks to a hockey-driven friend of mine.

  3. Agreed, it is unfortunate that these sports logo redesigns result in the same homogeneous aesthetic, which say nothing of their geographic location or whatever else composes a team.

    One of my favourites is the Hartford Whalers logo…and one of the worst is the Toronto Raptors’ “dribbling dinosaur.”

  4. Reading from Montreal : “Go Habs, Go!”

  5. The blog post you mention is by Jakub btw, a co-writer on Scott Hansen’s blog.

  6. james (Author)

    Chris, I totally agree. Hartford had one of the most solid logo designs in hockey history. I’m also fond of the designs for St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia.

    Ralph, fixed. Thanks very much for the heads-up.

  7. Janine

    I would just like to point out the Oilers’ return to retro with their third jersey’s this season…worn for all Original Six and Canadian team games. Have you seen them?They may have tried to update the colors in the past few seasons, but that orange and blue oil drop logo will never be able to change without causing a serious up-rising in Oil Country!

  8. P Kayne

    I gave up on hoping that these organizations would retain some sense of distinctive Canadian identity last year when CBC announced the doing away with the Hockey Night in Canada song.

  9. Andrew

    James, excellent post. As both a Canadian and a huge hockey fan this post really made my morning. I love the blast from the past feeling I get when I see these amazing logo designs all together again. Personally, I think you could add the old Leafs and current Boston logo to mix as they are both very well done.

    As for the person that mentioned the Raptors logo, you are so very right. The good news is they are using the claw more these days and getting away from the dribbling dino.

  10. So true. I agree that the sports team logos these days are created with far too much emphasis on merchandising (not a bad thing, but the design is a fad and therefore fleeting). You’ll notice that the ones that stand the test of time and remain iconic are those that are simplistic and well thought out – Toronto, Calgary, Montreal. It’s not just sports logos that have fallen to this style either. Being a logo designer in Toronto myself, I see FAR too many logo designers using this cartoon like quality to their logos. WHY? I think they look terribly unprofessional (unless you’re a sports bar or team that is!) and vastly out of context most times.

  11. LOL

    Reading this from Boston: “Go Habs, Go!”

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