In light of the Reverse Retro series dropping this week week, let’s take a look at some of the other jerseys in Devils history, and what jerseys we feel should be in our future.
Warning: I am going to commit utter blasphemy against some of our older jersey decisions in this article. Read at your own risk.
First Things First, Lets Get Back to Our Roots:
Way, way back in ancient times (AKA 1974) the Devils began as the royal blue Kansas City Scouts.
Notable aspects of this jersey that have climbed through our history as a team are the bottom stripe and the simple collar, which was unique in the league at the time as most teams wore jerseys with a two-toned collar.
Within two years though the Scouts moved and became the Colorado Rockies:
The organization may have changed locations and names but they didn’t feel the need to change much about the jersey design—which, after only two years of existence, is understandable. The color scheme remained the same, while the Rockies jersey essentially flipped the style of the accents— the more detailed, multilayered bottom and arm stripes changed into a simpler, three layer bottom stripe that looks more like a modern Devils jersey, while the simple collar that was different from much of the league gained some more detailing.
The Rockies remained in Colorado for 6 years, another short tenure in our history, before moving again and finding their permanent home in New Jersey.
The Beginning of an Era
The bottom stripe expanded even further into a wide, tricolor-blocked design showcasing a color scheme that I will, for the life of me, never understand: red, white, and green. I could get a Ph.D. in NJ Devils history and I will still not understand the aesthetic choice of a red and green Devil. I have to imagine the green was supposed to be reminiscent of the Pine Barrens, home to the good ole New Jersey Devil himself, but come on guys. Red and green is already a pretty well known color combo. And then you go and give us green pants?
We had to be aiming for the Christmas Tree nickname. Its a wonder Gretzky called us a Mickey Mouse organization and not Santa’s Elves.
Rating: 2/10, zero stars, F-
Righting Wrongs with a Slick Update to the Color Palette
Besides the obvious reasons red and green was a terrible choice, the organization also had another problem with the green—consistency. The jersey green tended to not match the pants which also tended to not match the green on the socks (per Bleacher Report—I was actually not alive yet when we wore these jerseys). So after our ten year anniversary as the New Jersey Devils, the team got a new look and a new color scheme: the modern day Black and Red.
The new colors came with an update to the jersey stripes, making them smaller and less colorful, with only one stripe with an outline on top and bottom instead of two. The multicolored shoulders were also toned down to a simple black across the top and a clean white line through the collar. The pants lost the stripes down the sides and switched to a simple, plain black.
This fit was clean, sleek, and all business. Just as important, the new color palette actually makes sense, and we didn’t look like The Grinch on Ice anymore.
In 2007 the Reebok edge jersey was introduced, and the Devils changed PRACTICALLY NOTHING. We didn’t even have a release party like most other teams because, according to the team’s press release, there were no changes to celebrate. They weren’t wrong.
The collar’s a little fancier, the shoulder yoke is just a bit more proportional, and the silver NHL logos appeared. A few nice updates, but nothing major. Why mess with perfection anyway, right?
Rating: 8/10, -2 for there not actually being any changes to really rate.
In 2017, Adidas took over the NHL’s jersey contract, and the Devils again decided if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
They made a few modifications to pay homage to our history including getting rid of the Reebok edge striped collar in favor of a simple Scouts-esque red one and evening out the size of the stripes on the arms to look more like the Rockies stripes. Most notably, they got rid of the colorblocked stripes on the bottom that had been a part of the team’s look since their origin in Kansas City to add the single stripe from the uniform of NJs first hockey team, the Newark Bulldogs.
Rating: 9/10, not a lot of changes but I like the subtle appeals to history.
The Devils are one of only three teams in the NHL that do not have a third jersey, for reasons I do not know. However we do have a special/alternate jersey that are basically complementary home/away designs of the same jersey, so we’ll cover those as one set: the 2010-17 Heritage alternate, and the 2018-current Heritage alternate.
We see you, NJ Devils organization, y’all ain’t slick. We didn’t get a new alternate jersey in 2018, you just gave us the away jersey version. And we didn’t even get a new jersey when we got the away-colored alternates in 2010: those were just replicas of our original jersey from 1982! We even wore those jerseys to the 2014 Stadium series, where other teams were wearing cool new designs. Sigh. Getting tired of these jerseys, guys.
Rating: 0/10, I didn’t like these jerseys the first time around, I don’t want them now. Also, we can’t win in them to save our lives. Thank you next
The entire NHL is marching out a set of jerseys for this coming season titled the Reverse Retro series. The Devils jersey is… you guessed it. Red and green
It looks like this jersey will be fully embracing the Christmas tree look with a green jersey and red stripes, shoulders, and collar.
Hey, we asked for something different, and we got it. Sort of. Alright its not what I asked for, and I can’t get past the ho-ho-horrible color scheme, but it’d make a nice festive outfit for one month out of the year right?
I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed in the jersey options our organization has rolled out. Its been 40 years and we have had basically two jerseys, and the only reason we even changed from the first one is because green is an awful color to try to put in jerseys. So, naturally, any time we shake things up we keep going back to the same old green jerseys. Makes total sense. I get that there are a lot of fans who still love the red and green, and I respect that. But I think they have enough options by now! There’s a whole section of the fanbase that wants to see something different, and I don’t see why we can’t finally cater to that side of the fanbase as well. Again, I realize this was a ‘retro’ jersey, and we literally only have one other jersey, but if Carolina could do a Whalers design and Vegas, which has existed for all of 3 years, can manage a retro jersey despite the oldest thing about their team being Marc-Andre Fleury, I think we could’ve managed to do something. No excuses, New Jersey. We have a rich history as a team, and as a state. I expect better next time.
There’s plenty of people who feel differently about this though so I’ll let you guys make your opinions heard and rate this one: How do you feel about the Reverse Retro jersey?
Jerseys We Don’t Have, but Really Really Should.
In addition to a third jersey we don’t have, the Devils also do not have a black jersey. Many teams in the NHL have unveiled an alternate ‘blackout’ jersey, the most recent of which was the Dallas Stars with their stunningly neon and black jersey that honestly looks like it might glow in the dark if the lights in the arena ever went out and you know what? That’s AWESOME. Its 2020, do something different, come up with something cool, listen to what your fans are asking for, break tradition! Do you hear me, New Jersey Devils? For Gods sake, please break tradition. We’re not even an original six team, we have no reason to cling so tightly to our heritage we lose the feeling in our hands as a collective fanbase. We literally have black in our color scheme. When teams like the Islanders whose colors are blue and orange, or Tampa Bay who are blue and white, have a black jersey before a team whose main colors are black and red, we are definitely behind the curve. The league has a simple black jersey concept that many teams have copied. Fans have been coming up with killer black jersey concepts for years now.
Twitter user @eDunkelDesigns put out this black jersey as a part of his Color Rush design series:
EliteSportsNY.com proposed these two concepts back in 2018, in an article including the now laughable line “I can’t imagine that Jersey would stray and introduce an alternate that would have a primary color as green, right?
And for fans that don’t feel right straying from the original color scheme, a blackout concept with a bit of green:
In February of this year, the Devils on MSG Twitter page posted this blackout jersey concept, with the caption “you like?”:
— Devils on MSG (@DevilsMSGN) February 14, 2020
Yes, MSG, I think we do. Now, GIMME IT.
I’ll present my own blackout idea here as well, because why not. We have a lot of focus on our heritage as a team in so far as that we literally cannot escape our original jersey. I would like to see us pay homage to our state’s history, our city’s history, and the original New Jersey hockey team, which just so happened to have a slick black and white jersey: The Newark Bulldogs of the CHL.
(It reminds me a bit of the 2020 All Star jersey that had similar striping, although that was a musical staff based on the Blues)
Before you leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments, a couple exit polls to get an organized feel of the fanbase’s opinions:
(I left out the 2007 update since there really wasn’t any change from the previous version)
Is there a different type of jersey you think we should have? Do you have a favorite concept jersey, or have you made one yourself? Leave it all in the comments, and thanks for reading!