A brief history of Calgary Flames jerseys

Monday October 5th is a big day in Calgary Flames history as the team will unveil their brand new, full-time uniforms for the 2020-21 NHL season. It is widely speculated that the Flames will be making their alternate “retro” jerseys their full-time home sweaters, while the Heritage Classic whites will be the full-time away set. Of course, depending on when you’re reading this, it’s entirely possible that this is old news.

Although the Flames jerseys underwent a bit of a re-design after the NHL moved from Reebok to Adidas in 2017-18, it has been years since the Flames jersey has been full changed from the red jersey with black crest. In honor of this occasion, we took a look back at all the jerseys the Flames have worn though the years as they set the stage for a new era.

1980-1981

Full Setup (Courtesy of nhluniforms.com)
Flames Jersey Set 1980-81 (Photo Courtesy of flames.nhl.com)

After making the move from Atlanta, the Flaming C made it’s debut on the previous Atlanta Flames colourway. The absolutely beautiful red, white, and yellow worked perfectly with the Flaming C. Both the home (white) and away (red) jersey sets were the perfect way for the franchise to start off.

1981-1994

You’re probably wondering, wait there was a change between the first season and the second? After moving to the CCM jersey set, the home red collar was slightly altered. Other than that, they didn’t tinker too much with a classic.

Of course, this jersey set is legendary for the best possible reason:

Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images

Not much more to say – it’s no surprise the team is planning on on returning to this colour set full-time.

1994-1998

After 14 years and with the team headed in a different direction, the Flames underwent their first full redesign of their jerseys to the “pedestal” set. Mainly recognizable with the diagonal lines across the front, the jerseys were clearly a big change. Black was also introduced as a primary colour in the jerseys (which would return later), and really added a different flair.

They took their fair share of criticism over the years, but the pedestals have started making their way back to the hearts of Flames fans. Personally, if we are looking at a ranking of full sets, this most likely would rank near the bottom.

1998-2000

(Photo credits to Getty Images)

In 1998, the Flames added their absolute best jersey to the lineup (don’t @ me). The “Ol’ Blasty” jersey as it is most properly known made its debut at the Flames first jersey with the primary black colour.

With the Flaming C shoulder patches, Blasty would do an excellent job at combining the previous colourway with a new primary logo. Also making it’s debut on this jersey was the V-shaped accent on the bottom of the jersey which would make it’s way onto many future jersey sets.

2000-2003

(Photo courtesy of nhluniforms.com)

Between 2000 and 2003, the Flames actually made the Blasty jersey their full time away set. In addition to this change, the Flames made a change to their home jerseys by using the same v-shaped edging seen in the Blasty jersey. The horse logo also moved to the shoulders on the home set while the Flaming C moved to the front.

2003-2006

Photo from Getty Images Archive

Easily one of the biggest changes, the jersey that led to the “C of Red” made it’s debut. With the 2003-04 season being the first where the “colour” set made the switch to the home jerseys, the Flames returned to a full red set, but black being the main accent.

The white and Blasty jerseys remained in the rotation for those three seasons, but the full red set made the most noise thanks in large part to the ’04 Playoff run where it gave birth to the C of Red.

2006-2007

RIP Blasty. The Flames only change this year was the removal of the Blasty jersey from the rotation and what a terrible year that was.

2007-2009

Photo courtesy: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

After Reebok took over the jersey contract for the NHL, the Flames made some big changes to their jersey lineups. The edges were reduced around the waist, the Blasty shoulder logo was completely removed in favour of the Canadian and Albertan flags, and a serious amount of black piping was added around the sides and arms of the jerseys.

Most likely the least creative of the bunch, the classic red was kept around along with certain colour accents. This set would remain with the team all the way until the 2016-17 season.

2010

Photo: Getty Images

The Flames were selected to host the Heritage Classic in 2010, hosting the Montreal Canadiens at McMahon Stadium. Both teams released special jerseys for the event, but the Flames really shook the jersey world with the ones they unveiled.

This was one of just two special Flames jerseys worn for outdoor games, and the ones worn in 2010 Winter Classic were unlike anything we had seen before. Really leaning into the history of the sport, the Flames sure made a statement with these.

Not only did they use a white logo, but the old school striping on both the jersey and socks really added a vintage theme to the event. They also wore off-white pants which further added to the charm. The jersey may not be overly popular with the fanbase right now, but in time it will probably be remembered with fondness. If you were fortunate enough to attend that game, the memory of these sweaters probably sticks with you just as much as the memory of how frigid that afternoon was.

2009-2013, 2016-2017

Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla takes to the ice. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Photo: Getty Images

The one big change to the lineup during the 2009-13 seasons, and once more in 2016-17, was the addition of the “retro” style third jersey akin to the Flames of the ’80s.

An absolute fan favourite, the alternate jersey kept the flashy red and white, but brought back the yellow as a primary accent for the first time in years. It left the lineup for a few seasons, but was brought back during the 2016-17 season to replace a different alternate…

2013-2016

Photo: Getty Images

With the “piping” jerseys remaining in rotation, the Flames removed the retro set in favour of …. well…. these.

For the first time ever, the word “Calgary” made its appearance on the team’s jerseys in addition to a new alternate shoulder logo (which we at The Win Column used as inspiration for our first logo). These “Western” jerseys were never a bit hit with the fanbase and quickly disappeared after three seasons when they brought back the retro as the alternate.

To be fair, these looked a lot better in person than they did on TV. The black shoulder patches really popped when you saw them up close, and the new shoulder patch was truly innovative. It highlighted the Alberta landscape with the Rocky Mountains and Prairie fields, and tied for the first time since Blasty gave the Flames jersey a unique shoulder patch.

Image courtesy: sportslogos.net

2017-2020

Photo: Getty Images

Another year, another jersey company taking over design rights. Adidas made a great call with the Flames jerseys by removing all of the unnecessary piping and simply having the side stripes. They also removed the italicized lettering for a more simple block style. The main miscue from this set was retaining the Canadian and Albertan flags, which had remained on the jerseys for years.

During this tenure, the Flames also brought back the “retro” set (albeit a year after the Adidas jerseys made the full switch). Retaining a number of similarities to the ones from the Reebok design, the retros became a much more stylish home set that quickly took the hearts of all fans. The Flames even opted to use these as their primary home jerseys for the 2019 playoffs.

Photo by Getty Images

2019

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Back to a classic. For the 2019 Heritage Classic against the Winnipeg Jets in Regina, the Flames returned to their roots with an homage to their first set of home jerseys. The reveal was an instant win for the Flames as you couldn’t find anyone in the city, or the NHL for that matter, who disliked the jersey. Makes sense why the team is most likely moving to a style of them full time.

They were clean, stylish, and really complemented the retro home jersey well. The Flames chose to wear these jerseys for regular games during this past season as well.

What’s Next?

If all goes according to plan, the Flames retro and 2019 Heritage Classic sets will be unveiled as their full-time set moving forward. Honestly, this couldn’t be a better move. Although the red and black versions had become a staple, a return to the roots is exactly what the team should go for. If you can go into a visiting building and be the team with the better jerseys, you know it’s the right call.

The only thing left is for the team to reveal their new set of alternates. Blasty is waiting.

Update: 2020

The Flames have officially gone “Full Retro”, bringing back their original red retros and the white heritage classic jerseys as their full time home and away set.

Photo courtesy: NHL.com

It’s safe to say the Flames have risen to the elite of the league in terms of full time uniforms. These are clean, unique, and pays tribute to the great teams of the past while adding a modern touch.

Though not a surprise when the new set was revealed, the consensus decision is that these two jerseys are an upgrade over the previous full-time set.

Update: 2020 Reverse Retros

On November 16th, Adidas revealed their Reverse Retro set for all 31 current teams.

Blasty. Is. Back.

With the retro and blasty jerseys, the Flames will be one of the best looking teams on the ice next season. Hopefully their performance matches their look.


What is your favourite set of jerseys? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo by Getty Images

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