The Classic Auctions Blog

The 5 Most Controversial Hockey Jerseys of all Time

Mar 1

Written by:
01/03/2012 8:55 PM  RssIcon

Some jerseys transcend the sport for whatever reason.


A jersey is more than just a piece of clothing that has the player’s name and team logo on it. It represents the identity of a franchise and a city and in many instances jerseys are symbols of civic pride and success. Much to my surprise, on a recent vacation in Cuba I met a Cuban wearing a Canadiens’ jersey. Stunned by the fact, I asked him if he was a fan and he said ‘’yes’’.  He said that his cousin lives in Montreal and had brought him the jersey. He went on to explain that he had watched hockey in the 60’s and 70’s and that a Canadiens’ jersey represented a winning tradition for him.

For Canadians, the 1972 Paul Henderson jersey is more than just a jersey as it represents so many things like winning, joy and pride. For Americans, the cold war certainly brings up the same feelings around 1980 Miracle on ice jerseys.



The interesting thing is that not all jerseys bring up feelings of joy and happiness.  Some jerseys bring feelings of anger, frustration and sometimes even disgust.


The ‘5 most controversial jerseys of all time’ list was compiled using a simple barometer.

- Any jersey from 1950 to 2012 was considered

- The negative media effect of the jersey

- It’s effect on popular culture

- A small un-scientific pole of 20 people who were asked to name their most hated jerseys of all time.

Here is my list of the 5 most controversial hockey jerseys of all time.

5 - New York Islanders 1995-97 Home and Road Jerseys

The New York Islanders were a true dynasty from 1980 to 1984. Players like Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin were simply too strong and the Islanders were unmatched for those glory 4 years. Once those players left or retired, the Islanders slowly began there decent to irrelevance. Looking for some sort of new identity, the Isles updated their look and unveiled a new team logo.  An immediate outcry by fans led to the team reverting to a modified version of the old logo as soon as the league allowed them to do so. Those 2 years, however, spawned the “CAPTAIN HIGHLINER” jersey and many many jokes.


4 - Vancouver Canucks 1978-85 Home and Road Jerseys

A truly unique jersey in a sense that it did not feature a front logo, the “Flying V” was considered by many as an insult to NHL jerseys. The Canucks thankfully added a logo to the jerseys and later changed the design altogether.


3 - Phoenix Coyotes 1998-03 Alternate Jersey

“Coyote ugly” is an understatement when talking about this jersey. It featured a sublimated desert with a drunken looking coyote. The jersey, although original, was perhaps one of the strangest designs I’ve ever seen.


2 - 1995-96 Los Angeles Kings "Burger King" Alternate Jersey

A now famous jersey design, the ‘’Burger king’’ logo made waves because of its resemblance to a certain noble men of a burger franchise.  The funny thing about the Burger King jersey is that it is one of the most sought after collectible with even average players bringing in thousands of dollars at auction. There is even a Burger King Day where local L.A fans wear the controversial jersey to a Kings’ game. There is even a petition to bring the jersey back. Stay tuned!


1 - 1995-96 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Alternate Jersey

What happens when Disney buys a team and tries to tie it to a popular family movie? Well the “Wild Wing” jersey happens! Featuring the team mascot, nothing less than a flying duck, it was ridiculed and players even refused to be photographed in it.  It was only worn for a few games in the second half of the 1995-96 season.  Much like the Burger King jersey, this jersey has become highly collectible and it’s rarity assures it will stay that way.

Weather you love them or hate them these 5 jerseys have definitely left their mark in the NHL history book and especially in the game-worn hobby.

What jersey would you rank as YOUR #1?


Have fun collecting,

George Caperis

Game-worn jersey collector and authenticator

‘George Caperis has been collecting game worn jersey for 15 years and authenticates jerseys for Classic Auctions. This article is the second of a series that will be published on The Classic Auctions Blog. George’s articles will focus mainly on game-worn jerseys’

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