Beyond the Centurion: Adopting the Heritage Designs as Ottawa's Primary Jerseys

Last month the Senators released new uniforms for the Heritage Classic in March. The heritage white jerseys are an inversion of the successful black heritage jerseys first unveiled in 2011. The two jerseys represent a significant departure from the team's tradition iconography - the centurion. Now that the organization has a set of 'O' jerseys many fans would like to the heritage designs become the permanent home and away jerseys.

But NHL teams aren't known for creativity. Generally, teams don't move away from established iconography without an important external factor such as relocation or a name change.

So what changes have teams made?

Original Six

Boston Bruins

1924-1932: logo consists of team name and bruin

1932-1948: 'B' logo

1948-present: 'B' in spoked-wheel

1955-1995: 'B' in spoked-wheel; colours inverse of primary logo

1976-2007: Bruin head

2007-present: team name and bruin

Chicago Blackhawks

1926-1937: warrior head encircled by word mark, primarily black and white

1937-1964: warrior head encircled by work mark, multi-coloured

1964-present: warrior head, multi-coloured

1956-1964: warrior head, multi-coloured

1964-present: 'C' an crossed tomahawks

Detroit Red Wings 1932-preset: winged-wheel (slight size modifications 1934 & 1948)

1948-present: winged-wheel, inverted colours and outlined

2008-2009: stylized 'D' for Winter Classic

Montreal Canadiens

1909-1910: blue 'C'

1910-1911: Old English 'C' on blue maple leaf

1911-1912: blue 'CAC' on white maple leaf outlined in red

1912-1917: 'CA' logo

1917-present: 'CH' logo (slight size and colour modifications 1919, 1922, 1925, 1935, 1947, 1955)

1912-1917: 'CA'

1924-1925: globe

1935-1947: 'CH' logo

2008-2010: three heritage logos, part of team's centennial celebrations

New York Rangers 1926-present: shield with team name (slight size modifications 1935, 1947, 1953, 1968, 1978)

1996-2007: stylized shield, silver outline

1996-2007: shield with 'NYR' and Statue of Liberty head

2011-2012: stylized 'vintage' shield for Winter Classic

Toronto Maple Leafs

1926-1927: multi-point green maple leaf with team name

1927-1938: same as above, but leaf is blue

1938-1963: 34-point maple leaf, team name

1963-1967:34-point maple leaf, outline, with team name

1967-1970: 11-point maple leaf, team name

1970-present: modern 11-point maple leaf, team name (slight modifications in 1982)

1927-present: inverted primary maple leaf logo (following style changes of primary logo)

1982-1992: modern 11-point maple leaf, no team name

1992-2000: stylized maple leaf, based on 34-point logo from 1960s, no team name

2000-2007: 'TLM', white, blue, and silver

2010-present: 34-point logo, no team name

So basically nothing's changed. Slight logo and uniform tweaks, slight colour changes for the Blackhawks and Bruins. These teams got it right a long time ago and stuck with their designs.

1967 Expansion Teams


California Seals (1967)

(became Oakland Seals 1967-1970; California Golden Seals 1970-1976; Cleveland Barons 1976-1978)

1967-1968: 'C' and stylized seal

1967-1970:stylized seal on circle

1970-1974: 'C' and stylized seal

1974-1976: "Seals" wordmark

1976-1978: 'C' with team name; state of Ohio icon with Old English 'B' in the middle of 'C'

1967-1968: Seals logo in black and green

1969-1970: Seals logo (black, gold, green) inside a second circle (white, with team name)

1967-1970: royal blue, kelly green, and white

1970-1974: kelly green, gold, an white

1974-1976: teal, gold, and white

1976-1978: red, black, and white

Los Angeles Kings

1967-1975: purple and gold crown on white shield, with team name, "KINGS" clearly visible

1975-1988: small purple and gold crown on small white shield, with team name, italicized "KINGS" most prominent

1988-1998:9-point silver shield, small crown, team name, italicized "KINGS" most prominent

1998-2002: purple, silver, black shield, with "LA Kings", and small silver lion, silver crown, and silver sticks

2002-2011: large crown, silver, purple, and white, with black outline

2011-present: shield, primarily black, with "LA" and small silver crown

1967-1975: same as primary logo, except "Los Angeles" has moved outside shield

1967-1988: white crown, gold background, purple outline

1967-1988: white crown, purple background, gold outline

1967-1975: same as primary, minus "Los Angeles"

2002-2011: primary logo from 1998-2002

2011-present: crown, silver, white, black

1967-1988: purple and gold

1988-1998: black, silver, white

1998-present: black, white, purple, silver, (gold in alternates only)

Minnesota North Stars (1967-1993)

(became Dallas Stars, 1993-present)

1967-1974: green 'N' with star, on white circle with green border

1974-1981: green 'N' with star, team name

1981-1991: green 'N' with star, black outline

1991-1993: green, black, gold star incorporating word "Stars"

1993-2013: green, black, gold star incorporating word "Stars" (slight modifications in 1994 and 1999)

2013-2014: silver 'D' on silver star, black and green outline

1988-1991: white 'N' with star,

1990-1991: yellow, white, green star, incorporating word "stars"

1993-2007: white Texas map, with star and 'D', outlined in black and green

1999-2013: green Texas map, with star and 'D', outlined in white and black

2003-2006: green and black bull head, also resembles uterus and constellation

2013-2014: green and black Texas map, outlined in silver with silver 'D' and silver star

1967-1981: green, yellow, white

1981-1991: green, white, yellow, black

1991-1993: white, black, green, gold

1993-2013: black, gold, green, white

2013-2014: emerald green, white, black, silver

Philadelphia Flyers 1967-present
1967-present: winged 'P', black, with orange and white highlights

1982-present: same as primary, with thicker outline and slightly darker orange

2002-2007: based on primary, chrome outline

2011-2012: based on primary, vintage look

1967-present: orange, white, black

Pittsburgh Penguins 1967-present

1967-1968: chubby, hockey-playing penguin with scarf on yellow triangle, encircled by team name (blue text)

1968-1971: muscular, hockey playing penguin on yellow triangle, blue circle with team name

1971-1992: muscular, hockey playing penguin on yellow triangle

1992-2002: streamline penguin incorporated into yellow triangle

2002-present: same as 1971-1992, except penguin on gold triangle

2002-2007: same as 1992-2002 primary, except with gold instead of yellow

2002-2008: same as 2002-present, but with team name

2008-2011: the 1968-1971 logo

2010-present: the 1967-1968 logo, but with heritage white

1967-1968: baby blue, navy blue, white

1968-1980: baby blue, navy blue, white; logo contains yellow and black

1980-2002: black, yellow, white (silver introduced on alternate jerseys in 1995, added to road jerseys in 1997)

2002-present: black, gold, white (baby blue, navy, and white on alternates 2008-present)

St. Louis Blues 1967-present

1967-1978: yellow and blue winged musical note

1978-1984: more rounded winged musical note, yellow circle with team name

1984-1987: winged musical note, blue, outlined gold and red, with "St. Louis" on wing and "Blues" above

1987-1998: winged musical note, blue, outlined in gold and red, "St. Louis" on wing

1998-present: winged musical note, more angular and blue, outlined in yellow, white, and navy

1994-1998: blue trumpet on gold, red, and blue circle with team name

1998-present: the primary logo from same period with team name

2008-present: winged musical note, on top of Gateway Arch, encircled by team name

1967-1984: blue, yellow, white

1984-1998: blue, gold, red, white

1998-present: blue, yellow, white, navy

With the exception of the California/Oakland Seals/Golden Seals which changed iconography and colours after a move to Cleveland, the 1967 expansion teams are fairly consistent. Even a team like Los Angeles, which underwent a drastic colour change in the 1980s, has been thematically consistent. There have been many Kings logos over the years, but the majority consist of a crown, shield, and name.

1970s Expansion and 1979 WHA Merger

Buffalo Sabres 1970-present

1970-1996: white buffalo, two crossed sabres, on blue circle with yellow outline

1996-2006: white and silver buffalo head, black and red outline

2006-2010: yellow, blue, white, and silver buffalo slug

2010-present: original logo, with additional silver outline

1996-2006: red 'S' with sabre

1996-2006: red 'B' with sabre

2000-2006: black circle with crossed sabres, white, red, and black outline

2006-present: blue 'B' with sabre, yellow outline

2008-2010: original logo with additional silver outline

2010-2011: buffalo slug from 2006-2010

1970-1996: blue, yellow, white

1996-2006: black, white, red, silver

2006-present: blue, white, grey, yellow

Vancouver Canucks


1970-1978: blue 'C'/rink, with white hockey stick (to make the 'C') white and green border

1978-1997: orange, yellow, white, black skate logo, with "Canucks" (slight colour adjust in 1992)

1997-2007: 'C' logo with orca, light blue, navy blue, white, silver, and red/maroon

2007-present: 'C' orca logo, colours modified to blue, silver, white, and navy

1970-1978: same as primary logo, but stick blue on white rink/'C'

2003-2007: same as 1970-1978 primary, colours changed to blue rink/'C', stick/outline silver, red/maroon outline

2007-present: Johnny Canuck logo; blue 'V' outlined in white, green, silver, with white and blue Johnny Canuck head

2012-present: blue 'V' with "Vancouver" on the letter in white

2012-present: white 'V' with "Vancouver" on it in maroon

1970-1978: blue, green, white

1978-1997: black, yellow, orange, white

1997-2007: white, navy, blue, silver, red/maroon

2007-present: white, blue, green (maroon and white alternates 2012-present)

Calgary Flames 1980-present (Atlanta Flames 1972-1980

1972-1980: stylized white 'A' with flames, outlined in red and yellow

1980-1994: red, flaming 'C', outlined in yellow

1994-present: same as 1980-1994 with additional black outline

1972-1980: same as primary, but without yellow outline

1980-1994: same as primary, 'C; is white

1994-2000: same as primary, 'C; white

1998-2007: yellow and black horse head, with red eyes and flaming nostrils. Amazingly terrible.

2003-present: same as primary, 'C' black

2013-present: "Calgary" script in black, with white and yellow outline, and black alternate 'C' logo

2013-present: sun, mountain, a wheat logo, 'CF' initials, :"Flames" written on red sky; circular

1972-1980: red, white, yellow

1980-1994: white, red, yellow

1994-present: white, red, yellow, black

New York Islanders 1972-present

1972-1995: 'NY' white ('Y' is hockey stick) orange outline of Long Island, "Islanders" at bottom in orange, on blue circular background with orange outline

1995-1997: angry, orange fisherman in light blue rain gear holding hockey stick in front of hockey net; white "Islanders" 3D, orange and blue waves. The infamous "Captain High Liner" logo

1997-2010: same as original except blue is darker, additional blue outline

2010-present: same as original

1995-1998: lighthouse logo, teal, grey, orange, white navy

2008-2010: original logo

1998-2010: white, blue, orange diagonal lines

1972-1995: white, blue, orange

1995-1998: white, navy, teal, orange, blue, grey

1998-2010: navy, orange, white

2010-present: white, blue, orange (alternates add grey, black 2011-present)

New Jersey Devils 1982-present (Kansas City Scouts 1974-1976, Colorado Rockies 1976-1982)

1974-1976: circular logo, blue and white scout on horse, 'KC' in yellow, white background and red outline

1976-1982: triangular mountain logo(blue and white), with red 'C' and yellow sun (modeled on state flag)

1982-1992: stylized red 'NJ' outlined in green, on a white circle also outlined in green

1992-present: same, but instead of green, black

1976-1982: red 'C', yellow sun, white and blue outline

1974-1976: white, blue, yellow, red

1976-1982: blue, white, yellow, red

1982-1992: white, green, red

1992-presnet: red, black, white

Washington Capitals 1974-present

1974-1995: team name: "Washington" small and red; "Capitals" large and blue; 't' in "Capitals" a red hockey stick

1995-2002: eagle with 5 stars on wings and "Capitals" below

2002-2007: Capitol Building dome, crossed hockey sticks, puck and stars, and team name

2007-present: updated original logo

1995-2002: the primary logo from 2002-2007

1995-2007: eagle logo without "Capitals"

2007-present: red, white, and blue eagle; negative space creates capital building dome

1974-1995: red, white, and blue

1995-2007: white, black, gold, blue

2007-present: red, white, blue

Phoenix Coyotes1996-present (Winnipeg Jets 1979-1996)

1979-1990: circular logo, blue jet on red circle, "Jets" in white, 'J' is hockey stick, "Winnipeg" in red, on blue background

1990-1996: updated version of 1979-1990 logo, white background

1996-2003: kachina-style coyote, holding hockey stick

2003-present: howling coyote

1979-1990: same as primary except white background and blue "Jets"

1996-2003: crescent moon and team name

1996-2003: beige crescent moon and purple background (circular)

1996-2003: coyote head from primary logo

1998-2003: brown lizard outline

2008-present: red, beige, black coyote running

2008-present: circular logo with team name and coyote paw print in centre (beige, red, black)

2003-present: state outline, "PHX" and setting sun

1996-2003: black, green, red, purple, beige

2003-present: red, white (black added on alternates 2008)

Edmonton Oilers 1979-present

1979-1996: circular logo, white background "Oilers" in blue, orange oil drop

1996-2011: modified original logo, red circular outline, copper oil drop

2011-present: return to original logo

1996-2007: triangular shield, with figure of "oiler" pulling on hockey stick and team name

2001-2007: silver and navy drill bit with navy oil drop

2001-2007: silver and navy shield, with navy oil drop and drill bit, with "Oilers" on shield

2008-2011: original logo

1979-1996: blue, orange, white

1996-2010: navy, copper, white, red (silver added with alternates 2001-2007; orange and blue added with alternates (2008-2010)

2010-present: white, orange, blue, navy, copper, red

Carolina Hurricanes 1997-present (Hartford Whalers 1979-1992)

1979-1992: 'H' white, 'W' green; blue whale tail to make 'H'

1992-1997: modified original logo, grey added

1997-present: hurricane warning sign

1979-1985: green whale

1979-1992: white 'W' and whale tail; green 'H'

1997-present: hurricane flag attached to hockey stick on black triangle

1979-1992: green, blue, white

1992-1997: blue, white, green, grey

1997-2013: black, red, white, silver

2013-2014: red, white, black

Colorado Avalanche 1995-present (Quebec Nordiques 1979-1995)

1979-1995: igloo logo; red 'N' outlined by white and blue, red hockey stick and blue puck

1995-present: maroon 'A' as mountain, white, black, and blue swirl of snow

1979-1995: fleur de lis, blue and white

1995-present: maroon and silver big foot on white background, outlined in blue

1979-1995: blue, white, red

1995-present: maroon, blue, silver, black

Things get more interesting with this group. Several teams (New Jersey, Phoenix, Carolina, Colorado) had dramatic logo and colour changes. However, these changes corresponded with franchise relocation and renaming. Washington provides an interesting example. The team's uniform change in the mid-1990s was a visual departure from the previous look. The eagle and Capitol Building, while thematically consistent with the team name were not related to the team's previous wordmark logo. However, after a decade of eagle/Capitol Building iconography, the organization returned to its traditional look.

The Vancouver Canucks might be the best example of how to perfect a team's look. The rink, skate, and orca designs were all fairly original when introduced with only the 'C' connecting the rink and orca designs. The Canucks current designs incorporate the streamlined logo of the original jerseys as well as the colours and integrate the most successful aspect of the late 1990s and early 2000s (the orca crest).

1991-2000: Modern Expansion

San Jose Sharks1991-present

1991-2007: black, 2D shark biting hockey stick, triangle background

2007-present: modification of original logo, 3D shark, black and teal

1991-2007: silver shark fin on teal, circular background

2007-present: 3D shark with tail biting stick

2007-present: black and teal shark fin on orange, diamond background

1991-2007: teal, white, silver, black

2007-present: teal, white, silver, black, orange

Ottawa Senators 1992-present

1992-1997: 2D centurion, team name in gold ring

1997-2007: 2D centurion, laurels in gold ring

2007-present: 3D centurion

1992-2007: winged circle with 'S'

1997-2007: emo centurion

2000-2007: red maple leaf and Peace Tower

2007-2008: 'O' on red and black patch

2007-present: modified 2D centurion

2011-present: O logo

2011-present: red and black shield, team name

1992-present: black, white, red, gold
Tampa Bay Lightning 1992-present

1992-2007: lightning bolt on silver, circular background, team name, white, black, silver, blue (slight modification in 2001)

2007-2011: modification of original logo, more angular

2011-present: blue lightning bolt on white circle, outlined in blue

1992-2007: circular logo, lightning bolt over outline of Florida (modified slightly in 2001)

2007-2011: same as 1992-2007 but more angular

2011-present: circular logo, white lightning bolt in centre, team name

1992-present: black, white, blue, silver
Anaheim Ducks 1993-present

1993-2006: Disney logo

2006-2013: wordmark logo, gold, 'D' is duck webbed foot

2013-2014: gold, webbed foot 'D'

1995-2006: circular logo, cartoon duck head, with team name

2006-2013: the 2013-2014 primary logo

2010-present: oval, original logo, team name

2013-2014: 2006-2013 primary

1993-2006: purple, teal, white, black, silver

2006-present: white, black, gold, orange

Florida Panthers 1993-present 1993-present: panther (slight adjustment in 1999)

1993-present: hockey stick and palm tree crossed on sun

1993-2009: primary logo, but panther also clutches broken hockey stick

2009-2012: circular logo, panther head, team name

1993-present: white, yellow, red, blue (light blue on alternates, 2009-2012)
Nashville Predators 1998-present

1998-2011: sabre-toothed predator, predominately silver with blue and yellow outline

2011-present: same logo, but predominately white, with yellow and blue highlights

1998-2011: original logo on blue triangle

2001-2007: 3D predator on triangle

2009-2011: chrome predator, black highlights

2011-present: blue guitar pick, with 'NP' outlined in white, and yellow circle with 3 blue stars (from Tennessee state flag)

1998-2011: white, grey, yellow, blue (alternates had mustard colour, 2001-2007)

2011-present: yellow, white, blue

Winnipeg Jets 2011-present (Atlanta Thrashers 1999-2011)

1999-2011: orange thrasher (bird), clutching hockey stick on blue triangular shield

2011-present: circular logo, with silver jet on red maple leaf, background circle of white, blue, silver

1999-2011: orange, angular thrasher head

1999-2011: stylized bird with light blue, navy, red, and gold

2008-2011: "Thrashers" word mark logo

2011-present: winged logo, with crossed hockey sticks, a red maple leaf, and team name

1999-2003: white, navy, red, orange, yellow

2003-2011: white, navy, red, orange, yellow, light blue

2011-present: navy, light blue, white, silver, red

Columbus Blue Jackets 2000-present

2000-2007: red 'CB' with stars, hockey sticks; crib board design

2007-present: silver star, 'C' shaped stylized Ohio flag

2000-2004: bug, holding hockey stick and wearing union uniform

2000-2004: head of bug, wearing union uniform

2003-2007: current primary

2003-present: union cap, with crossed hockey sticks on red background, team name on navy border; oval-shaped

2010- Civil War-inspired circular crest, with cannon, star, banner with team name

2000-present: red, white, blue (alternates added black 2003-2007; alternates added heritage white, light blue, and union blue 2010-present)
Minnesota Wild 2000-present 2000-present: bear head silhouette, with wilderness scene

2000-2010: circular logo, team name

2003-present: circular logo, team name, and bear head silhouette

2009-present: team name, script

2000-present: red, green white, heritage white

The most recent NHL franchises provide a key takeaway for the Senators organization: local identity. The Predators and the Blue Jackets are the best examples here. The Predators current jersey connects the organization and its iconography with the music history of Nashville. The guitar pick shoulder patch and guitar strings on the numbers are a concrete connection between the team and the city's culture. Columbus has always connected with the city's and state's Civil War history but the team's redesign in 2007 enhanced this connection. The additions of the Ohio flag, union cap, and cannon connect the organization to local history.

After more than two decades of various centurion logos, the Roman connection is part of the team's history even if Roman centurions are a distant image for most Ottawans. Most NHL teams would be reluctant to abandon more than 20 years of branding and team identity. The most obvious solution would be to retain the centurion logo and red jerseys as a modified alternate jersey and adopt the heritage jerseys as permanent home and away jerseys. Teams like the Canucks, Sabres, Flames, Islanders, and Oilers have all used original jerseys and logos as alternates. Teams have also promoted their alternate sweaters, so if the Senators were to do so with the heritage jerseys, it wouldn't be unprecedented. Much of Ottawa's identity as a city is derived from its status as the nation's capital. While the Senators have played up the capital association in the past (Peace Tower logo and more generally, the team name) the team has a distinctly regional appeal among fans and the 'O' logo connects team with region (and consequently fans) in a way the centurion has never been able to.

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