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Jerseys are the ultimate way for hockey fans to show their team pride while making an aggressive fashion statement. The Jersey Spotlight brings to light the tarps of yesterday and today, dedicated to the sweaters worn by the 31 NHL. Sweaters that have made a significant on the history and culture of the teams as we know them today. Jerseys that have been there for franchise defining moments, and those that you may find in the five dollar bin at your local thrift store,

The debut spotlight belongs to the Los Angeles Kings alternate from the 1995-96 season, one of the first, one of the worst.

Prior to the start of the 1995 season, third jerseys, or alternates, were rarely if ever used in the NHL. The Los Angeles Kings were one of the pioneers of widely used alternate home jerseys, along with the Boston Bruins, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Vancouver Canucks. There were for sure some less than aesthetically pleasing alternates this year, and we WILL get to those. But for now, lets take a look at the “King” of all bad jerseys.

A King For A King
Los Angeles Kings 1995-96 Alt jersey. By hockeybydesign.com

The Jersey

The L.A. Kings in 1995, became one of the first teams to prominently insert a third jersey into their wardrobe, and the end result was less than beautiful to say the very least.

What we got was a white jersey with a gray gradient running from the right shoulder and looping around the torso, accompanied by the same gray along the sleeves and bottom of the torso. The crest of the jersey sat in the left pectoral of the jerseys front, she logo bearing absolutely no resemblance to the previously established identity of the Kings, aside from the use of the color purple and a golden crown sitting atop the face of a Picasso painting. The “C” and “A” positioned in the opposite side of the crest, deviating from the traditional placement. The lettering and numbering of the jersey is probably the best part of this whole piece; An elegant font in the Kings’ traditional purple and gold making up the fill and outline respectively.

General consensus calls this piece one of the worst NHL jerseys ever featured on the ice. it seems little thought was placed into its conception, as it was most likely solely created to produce revenue as one of the few “special” jerseys featured in the league at that time. The color scheme means well, but the execution and placement of everything is what makes this jersey so bad. The gradient stripe along the torso is hopelessly out of place. The most unfortunate part is the crest. The King’s Head seems like it was only placed on the jersey as a means to connect the sweater to the team that wore it. It seems a very odd coincidence the year this jersey debuted, Wayne Gretzky was traded to St. Louis, and Marty McSorely to The New York Rangers.

Thoughts

Personal takeaways I can pull from this jersey is that its both hard to look at, and hard to take seriously. it feels more like a beer leaguer creation than an actual NHL jersey. A loud design and poor arrangement take away from any likability. I can say that it’s different, it’s unique, and it’s bold. To give credit where credit is due, this jersey was made in a time where the concept of a third jersey was relatively unheard of. The idea was to be creative and do what nobody has done before. This jersey stands out, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. While having a few pros, it boasts significantly more cons, which is why i cant give it a positive score.

Color: 5/10

Style: 1/10

Crest: 1/10

Wearability: 1/10

Final Verdict: 2/10. This jersey wasn’t very nice to begin with, and age certainly didn’t do it any favors. But like I said, for the time, it was unique and creative. It made The Great One flee and made McSorely sore. Aside from L.A. loyalists, hardcore jersey collectors, and NHL nostalgics, this jersey wont be making its way into anybody’s closet anytime soon.

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