Which uniform does a team wear for a home game? It depends on which sport we're talking about. In baseball and basketball, the home team usually wears white. In football, the home team usually wears a color. And in hockey -- well, it depends on which era we're talking about.
Until 1951, some NHL teams had only one uniform, so the question of what to wear at home was often moot. In 1955, the league mandated that teams wear colors at home and white on the road. That arrangement was reversed in 1970, when teams began wearing white at home. And then it was reversed again in 2003, when teams went back to wearing colors at home, the format that's still in place today.
That brings up one of those classic questions that fans can debate for hours: Which uniform is better at home: white or colors?
And then there's a related but distinct question: Does a hockey team look better wearing a white uniform or a colored uniform?
Uni Watch has always been in favor of NHL teams wearing white at home. Part of this is no doubt because your friendly uniform columnist grew up in the white-at-home era, but there's more to it than that. The feeling here at Uni Watch HQ is that most NHL teams just look better in white. For starters, the pants on the white unis always provide a nice measure of contrast, while some of the colored unis are essentially monochromatic, which doesn't provide as much visual interest. Sure, some colored uniforms do have contrasting pants, but most of those uniforms still seem less satisfying than their white counterparts.
Or at least that's this observer's perspective. What's yours? Let's take a team-by-team look at the NHL's white/color divide. For the table shown below, you can click on each team's name to see its basic white and colored unis (we'll leave alternate uniforms out of this discussion) and then vote for which one you think is better. Remember, we're not talking about just the jerseys here -- we're talking about the visual impact of the full uniforms, including the pants and socks. Ready?
Here we go:
OK, so Uni Watch's preference is clear: White trounced color, 21 to 5 (with four
cop-outs ties). Will you folks out there agree? It'll be interesting to find out.
Paul Lukas predicts the NHL will go back to having teams wear white at home at some point within the next decade. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.