Archives, Avalanche History, NHL Jerseys, Quebec Nordiques

Colorado Avalanche Franchise Jersey History

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Since beginning play in the 1917-18 season, the NHL and it’s teams have seen drastic changes as well as improvements regarding team uniforms. Not only have jersey designs changed throughout history, but so too has technology, with development constantly adapting to bring players ultimate benefits without inhibiting their skill or style of play.

Typically, NHL team uniforms and their designs change from time to time, while select organizations such as original six teams stick to their historical, iconic designs. The Colorado Avalanche are a team whose design has seen considerable change throughout their history, largely in part due to relocation, but also resulting from improvements in uniform technology.

Colorado Avalanche Jerseys: 1979-1995

In 1979-80, the Quebec Nordiques made their arrival in the National Hockey League. Following seven seasons of play in the World Hockey Association, which was dismantled in June of 1979, the Nordiques carried over their WHA jersey design into the franchise’s first NHL season.

Adam Foote, Colorado Avalanche Jerseys
Adam Foote of the Quebec Nordiques.

These baby blue beauties were donned by the Nordiques throughout the teams entire sixteen year tenure in the NHL. Naturally, the jersey design was not the “exact” same throughout the years. Small changes were made to striping on the pants, moving from one stripe to two, while sizing alterations to the fleurs-de-lis which bordered the base of the jersey, as well the main logo were also made.

The “Nordiques”, meaning “People of the North”, and this jersey are iconic in both Canadian and Quebec hockey history. The team logo, whose true design is commonly unknown, is that of an igloo, with a hockey stick alongside it, illustrating the relation to the north, as the Nordiques were the most northern team in the NHL during their existence. The cool, blue colors of the jersey represent both the NHL team that Quebec lost, as well as the hope that the team will return in the near future.

Colorado Avalanche Jerseys: 1995-2001

In 1995-96, the Quebec Nordiques were relocated to Colorado. Since Colorado didn’t fit the bill as a “northern” city, the team was forced to adopt a new nickname, and with it, new jerseys. Known for its mountainous regions and rugged terrain, the Avalanche were born, and so too were new uniforms.

patrick roy, Colorado Avalanche Jerseys
Patrick Roy with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Logo: The new Colorado logo was designed to represent the surrounding environment. In the middle, an “A” was placed to represent the Avalanche, while a puck flows down from its peak similar to an avalanche from a mountain.  

The new jerseys were definitively different, with the previous blue largely removed, replaced with an attractive dark burgundy color. Throughout this six year time period, similar to with the Nordiques, small changes were constantly being made.

The burgundy became increasingly darker, as seen in the above picture. This jersey design instilled the basis for Avalanche uniforms in the future, as virtually the same burgundy, blue and trim colors have remained the same. It is these jersey which the Avalanche wore when they hoisted their most recent Stanley Cup in the 2000-2001 season.

Colorado Avalanche Jerseys: 2001-2007

In the first season following their Stanley Cup victory, the Avalanche introduced their first alternate jersey.  The jersey inspired the current Avalanche alternate uniform, featuring “Colorado” diagonally, yet was based completely in the well-known shade of burgundy.

Colorado’s alternate jersey designed in 2001 was no longer used by the team following the 2006-07 season. Otherwise, Colorado’s jersey did not change, at all, from the 2001 season to the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. After such a long period of time, the design had become dry, and fortunately for the Avalanche, a revolutionary shift in jersey design was right around the corner.

Colorado Avalanche Jerseys: 2007-2017

The beginning of the 2007-08 season saw major changes made to NHL jerseys across the entire league. The NHL introduced the Edge jersey system, designed by Reebok over a three year time period. New uniforms would be created to be tighter fitting, more flexible and less water absorbent, allowing for greater player maneuverability. Stemming from a newly made uniform, most teams made substantial changes to their uniforms, and the Avalanche were no exception.

The new look Avalanche jersey’s suited the Edge jersey system extremely well. Conforming to the new style, the Avalanche kept their original colors, yet made a bevy of subtle changes. Unlike in years prior when the burgundy color wrapped 360 degrees around the jersey, blue was placed under the arms, while on the white road jerseys, burgundy. Sharp, white and blue piping was the used to separate the two colors on each jersey, creating a crisp, edgy looking new uniform for the Avalanche.

The modern look for both the home and road jerseys have become one of the most popular looking jerseys in the NHL. Alongside these creations was the previously mentioned third jersey, whose heavy use of blue brings back memories of the franchise’s Nordiques days, while the use of burgundy and sharp piping compliments their current home and road designs.

Colorado Avalanche Jerseys
Ryan O’Reilly in the Avalanche Home Jersey. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Clearly, the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise has witnessed a large number of changes in uniform design over the past 35 years. While some jersey designs weren’t necessarily popular, such as the full burgundy third jersey, others, such as the current Avalanche design, have been well received by the hockey world. There will no doubt be uniform design changes in the future, as jersey technology and hockey culture are ever changing, bringing about frequent alterations to uniform designs throughout the NHL.

Which of the Colorado Avalanche jerseys is your favorite?

This article was originally published in October, 2014.

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