The 2022 Heritage Classic is being played March 13 in Hamilton between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. And while outdoor hockey games are always exciting one of the most exciting parts about outdoor games is the special event jerseys that each participating team gets.
So as we look to this weekend’s Heritage Classic game, I have decided to rank every single Heritage Classic jersey from worst to best. These ranking are subjective so keep that in mind when going through them, but I’ve ranked these jerseys on two main things: Style and creativity—with creativity being the more important aspect. Outdoor game jerseys should be fun and unique, they aren’t supposed to replace the main jerseys a team wears but should give collectors and fans something fun to enjoy every year.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
#12: 2003 – Montreal Canadiens
These are literally just the home jerseys that the Canadiens have worn through essentially their entire time in the NHL, and while they may be some of the most classic jerseys in the league, they are totally boring as far as Heritage Classic jerseys go.
#11: 2011 – Montreal Canadiens
These jerseys face the exact same problem as the previous jerseys, being almost exactly what the Canadiens have worn as their secondary jerseys since the late 1940s. The only reason this one is stronger than the one before it is the much nicer Heritage Classic logo and patch it includes.
#10: 2016 – Edmonton Oilers
While these jerseys are a bit more creative than the Canadiens versions previously seen on this list, they can also be credited as the first time the Oilers chose to use orange as a primary jersey colour. So while these did take a swing, they are the lesser version of the orange adidas jerseys the team now wears and really just don’t compare to a lot of the remaining jerseys in this list.
#9: 2022 – Toronto Maple Leafs
This is the first jersey in this list where a team really got creative while still paying tribute to the past in a fresh way. The problem though is that everything is executed just a little wrong. The choice to include the blue “Arenas” text on top of a blue jersey just doesn’t work at all. They should have just gone with a big T like the 1917 jerseys they were paying tribute to, and the arms needs some kind of striping so as not to feel like a regular sweater. I do truly think though that with a few touchups this jersey would climb quite a bit on this list.
#8: 2022 – Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo’s jersey this weekend is pretty nice. In specialty jersey tradition, they have used an off-white cream colour in place of white which is almost always a good choice for outdoor games. These aren’t doing anything too special though which is what is keeping them here at #8.
#7: 2003 – Edmonton Oilers
At first glance this jersey might seem pretty boring because the Oilers have been wearing a variation of this for most of the past decade, but in 2003 these were a return to the glory days of the Gretzky era. Additionally in comparison to the other 2003 Heritage Classic jerseys we saw earlier, these do a much better job at just being special.
#6: 2019 – Calgary Flames
Like the Oilers jerseys before them, these Flames jerseys while not very creative paid a stylish tribute to the golden age of Alberta hockey. These pay tribute to the jerseys the team originally wore back in the 80s. What does give these jerseys a bit of an edge though is the fact that people loved them so much that the organization decided to made them the team’s official away jerseys the very next year.
#5: 2016 – Winnipeg Jets
The next two jerseys on our list could easily be tied as they complement each other perfectly. Both jerseys bring in a very nice red to pay slick tribute to the original Winnipeg jets franchise. They also still came up with a new look unlike anything in franchise history which is even more of a bonus.
#4: 2019 – Winnipeg Jets
These jersey are essentially just the dark version of the previous set but what gives these just a few more points is how the style of these beautiful Winnipeg jersey seem to fit the adidas jersey cut a little bit better than the white jersey’s reebok jersey cut. These jerseys were also made the official alternate jersey this year too which gives also helps give them the edge. Winnipeg should seriously consider using these last two jerseys as full time home and aways just like Calgary has done.
#3: 2014 – Ottawa Senators
The Senators absolutely understood the assignment: Paying tribute to the original Ottawa Senators franchise from the early 20th century. These jerseys use off-white excellently, and looked amazing on the ice. The decision to simplify the Senators’ original threads was one that worked very well, and Ottawa has come back to the format of these designs a number of times since.
#2: 2011 – Calgary Flames
These jerseys tend to be controversial among Flames fans, but I think they have aged wondrously. The choice to take inspiration from the old Calgary Tigers by incorporating the barber pole style arm piping, while still using the Flaming C as well as maroon and gold works really well. These jerseys are definitely among some of the best outdoor jerseys, and I’m not just saying that as a fan of the Flames. They fully take advantage of the special circumstances the Heritage Classic brings and I’d love to see more teams embrace their history in this sense.
#1: 2014 – Vancouver Canucks
In first place though we have the Canucks who took what worked in Calgary, and did it even better. Taking full inspiration from the Vancouver Lions/Millionaires, these jerseys are a tasteful ode to the hockey history of Vancouver. They are among some of the nicest Canucks jerseys in the team’s history, and I hope we see them return in some form if Vancouver ever meets Seattle in a future outdoor game.
Adding classic sets to a team’s collection
The Heritage Classic presents a unique opportunity to create new jerseys all around a memorable outdoor event. The jerseys that take extra care towards the design clearly stand out and are immediately recognizable as coming from a Classic matchup, which makes them all the more classic, pun intended.
Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with our rankings.