Alright so we completed the hashtag debate, time to take a bre-NOPE! Our next series in the quest to fill time until news happens is to find the best hockey jersey in all of U Sports. Hockey is Canada’s National Sport right? So logically Canadian University teams should have a good set of jerseys. For the most part they do but some very do not. Let’s kick this series off with the Ontario-Quebec Shared Hockey League known as the OUA. Sidenote: OUA teams don’t have official “home” and “away” jerseys (they alternate each jersey so one semester is played at home and on the road in each) so I’ll be referring to each jersey instead by it’s characteristics.
20. Queen’s Gaels: D
The Queens Gaels have easily the most disappointing jersey set in the OUA. To start with the dark blue jersey, the wordmark logo gets washed out in all of the blue. The larger issue is the two separate colour stripes, the cohesion would have been greatly improved with a single colour either red or yellow. I am surprised Queen’s didn’t use the Q logo, on this jersey it would have been perfectly placed.
The Yellow Jersey has a few issues, the aggressive amount of yellow taking up the jersey, the red outline of the Gaels logo for some reason, the different blue and red stripes and the Q with its strange place on the front of the socks. All in a very disappointing pair of jerseys. I ranked Queen’s 1st in the OUA hashtag list so this is a disappointing position to put them in.
19. Brock Badgers: C-
The Brock Badgers jersey set is fascinating because it is wildly different.
On the one hand the white jersey is simple and straight forward. The Badgers logo itself isn’t great but with the white background unimpeded it is allowed to stand out nicely. The colours and stripes all complement it well.
Then the Badgers turn around and put out an ugly bright red jersey with just a block BROCK in dark blue. It feels honestly like the designers gave up halfway through as the second jersey is up there with Queen’s for one of the worst in the OUA.
18. Guelph Gryphons: C
I don’t really have much to say about the Guelph Gryphons jerseys. There is nothing overtly wrong with either but just nothing necessarily good about them. The white jersey has Calgary Flames vibes but adds enough black to offset that and shows that white is the best background for the Gryphon logo.
The logo is not as good to look at on black, but the jerseys do a decent job of avoiding using too much of red or yellow and just enough of each to offset all the black decently.
The same can’t be said for the Guelph Women’s Team that runs out a different set of jerseys
The white jersey is not bad, the colours blend nicely and the logo stands out like it should. The red shoulders feel unnecessary but just like the men’s it’s simply ok.
The red jersey is a bigger problem. The key being the logo. It completely gets washed out in the red background and loses a lot of the muster the Gryphons logo has. The shoulders being all black rather than having a supporting stripe like the white jersey is another deduction.
17. Windsor Lancers: C
Windsor’s jerseys are disappointing because there is more that they could be doing with them. The Lancers originally had their Shield logo in the middle of their chest but they removed it leaving a very underwhelming WINDSOR wordmark. They do get points for cohesiveness running with a pair of virtually the same jerseys (albeit with swapped colours). Really though the number on the chest instead of the main logo feels like a mistake.
16. Waterloo Warriors: C+
Gold is always going to be a complicated colour to pull off. The Ryerson Rams stayed away from embracing it for years until 2019-2020 because it can be an eyesore if not done properly. The Warriors live by Black and Gold so they have to use it and their jerseys aren’t necessarily that bad but they aren’t great. The Black jersey is solid, the logo looks good on a black background and the gold waist and arm stripes accent the jersey well.
The Gold jersey is the problem. It is just so bright. The big issue is the gold on the jersey and logo don’t match causing it to weirdly clash. It is unfortunate that the black jersey gets deducted marks but the gold jersey is a big problem for this set.
15. Lakehead Thunderwolves: B-
The Lakehead Thunderwolves have a good pair of jerseys but with a few problems on each. Firstly for the blue jersey it has a St Louis Blues vibe immediately which for what should be a more aggressive team like the Thunderwolves is off putting. Secondly the blue on the jersey clashes with the blue on the U and the biggest criminal on the jersey is the word Lakehead. It is completely unnecessary for them to have Lakehead on the jersey, no one is questioning where they are from. Removing that would do them wonders and hopefully allow expansion of the great wolf logo.
The white jersey is better and simpler, the yellow is bit of a weird shade as it doesn’t match the other yellow piping colour but the subdued nature overall of the jersey does it well.
14. Western Mustangs: B-
The Western Mustangs are another of Ontario’s hockey programs that went through a rebrand in the last few years as schools have attempted to modernize their looks in association with U Sports (formerly CIS) going through its own rebrand. The results that came out of it are mixed. The white Mustangs is a solid entry, a classic white on logo look allowing the strong purple of the Mustang’s W logo to stand out.
The purple jersey is a tough go, obviously they can’t have the purple W because it would clash but the inclusion of numbers on the front of the jersey feels like a misstep. Just like the Windsor Lancers, finding a means to use the horse logo in Western’s case instead of numbers may have been a better choice. Another interesting note that I wish they carried between the set, the school crest on the shoulders of the white jersey but missing from the purple.
12. Ontario Tech Ridgebacks: B-
The Ontario Tech Ridgebacks not only had rebranded jerseys for 2019-2020, they had rebranded everything. Formerly the University of Ontario Institute of Technology they rebranded to OTU creating a new logo and facilitating a jersey change. The results are good and bad. The white jerseys find the perfect combination of blue, orange with not too much of each accent colour taking away from the logo which looks gorgeous on the white background.
Where this set suffers is the blue jersey. It leans heavy on the blue and instead of using the new logo just putting an ONTARIO TECH wordmark. Why do so many schools feel enamoured with wordmarks??? You all have such good logos. The blue jerseys feel like a missed opportunity and for that the set suffers.
11. Laurentian Voyageurs/Lady Vees: B
The Laurentian Voyageurs/Lady Vees each operate a separate set of jerseys but both remain under the Laurentian banner. For the mens side they opted for what is a seriously strong output. The yellow jersey is strong but the blue stripe across the centre coupled with letting the blue logo over the stripe edges onto the yellow helps offset the brightness.
For the blue jerseys the effect works in reverse to a slightly less successful outcome, the stripe is strong and the blue helps offset it but not as well as the yellow jerseys. In saying that though the cohesion between the two jerseys is something to be admired in a league that can struggle to pull that off
The Lady Vees also have a solid entry. Firstly they have blue jersey that keeps the same idea as the mens principally but focuses adds some more yellow and drops the strip. It is not as good a look as the mens but still a good look.
The yellow jersey is the same. It is good, just compared to its male counterpart it feels underwhelming. This one also makes the bizarre choice to leave the yellow on yellow of the logo to jersey with no buffer leaving just like the Waterloo Warriors a bit of a clash in colours. Overall the women would be a B- and the Men an A- so we end with a B
SIDENOTE: Almost forgot to mention, Laurentian still remain the only team I have ever seen to forget to bring their jerseys on a road trip. In November the mens team travelled for a 2 game weekend vs QUE and RMC and had to wear old RMC jerseys. No, I’m not kidding.
Yes that is Laurentian wearing old RMC jerseys to play Queen’s.
10. McGill: B
McGill University was put into a complicated situation heading into the 2019-2020 season. Faced with unease over the Mens Hockey Program’s “RedMen” Moniker the Athletic program opted to drop the name and leave the Mens team nameless but the women still using the “Martlets” moniker. This leaves the jerseys in an interesting state. McGill follows the school colours of red and white to a t and they are well put together, but they also look like carbon copies of the Detroit Redwings jerseys down to the colour tone used. So that means points for a good look but deductions for lack of originality.
9. Ottawa Gee Gees: B
The Gee Gees are another school that has made tweaks to their jerseys over the last few seasons. When they originally returned after their hiatus the set was a maroon and a white jersey. It was good but boring.
What the Gee Gees have done as a fascinating change is turn what would have been white accents to grey. There are obviously issues with this set, namely the Gee Gees being another team that has one creative logo jersey and one boring jersey. The grey accents on the maroon jersey do give it something different but it is still underwhelming and the full grey jersey is a different choice but it could do with less arm grey to lessen the amount of grey used.
8. York Lions: B+
The York Lions went through a rebrand at the start of the 2018-2019 season, replacing the lion head (that looked like kind of like the MGM studios logo) that had served as the team’s logo since 2003 with a sleeker lion in profile. This meant a rebrand of the hockey jersey’s and the results have been mixed.
Their red jerseys are well put together, allowing the white silhouette of the lion to stand out. The big problems though are firstly the YU underneath the Lion. On this jersey, it doesn’t stand out like it should and in general throughout most of the rebrand it feels out of place wherever it is used. The second is York doesn’t have player nameplates on the back of this jersey. Each nameplate says YORK LIONS which makes minimal sense as it is a loss for casual fans.
As for the white jerseys, they are a strong submission but the use of a YORK wordmark rather than the red lion logo is a curious omission. I recognize that it is the jersey’s shoulder crest but wordmark logos on new jerseys when you rebranded to a new logo don’t make sense.
7. Laurier Golden Hawks: B+
The Golden Hawks are another team that rebranded heading into the 2019-2020 season. The old Hawks jerseys were incredibly boring and the new versions stepped it up. The purple jersey is a fantastic example of blending of a logo into a jersey. Thanks to the Golden Hawk logo being a silhouette, it mixes beautifully with the purple creating a strong cohesive look.
The yellow jersey replaces what used to be the white jersey. I know I have ragged on yellow in this piece but what makes it work here where it didn’t for Waterloo is the logo, where the base of the waterloo logo is already gold forcing it to clash with the slightly different shades on the jersey, the Laurier logo base is purple which allows it to blend better.
The Laurier Women’s Hockey Jersey are one of the better Women’s hockey sets of the list. The White jersey is a solid colour combination with understated purple and gold tones that match well with the purple helmet. I love the choice to be different and not do a gold jersey like the MHKY team.
The purple jersey is another smart jersey as it takes the interesting decision to add yellow full arm stripes. It works though because the silhouette logo on the jersey lets it blend nicely.
6. Carleton Ravens: B+/A-
The Carleton Raven’s jersey set is mostly just like the Carleton Ravens, in that it is excellent but it has some issues. The Ravens logo is already one of the better ones in the OUA to start but to make the shield disspear into a black jersey so it’s just that eye and the beak is really clever. Coupled with just enough white stripes to keep the black from being overpowering makes it a solid entry.
Their white jersey is good as well but has only one weird decision of red numbering rather than black. Sidenote suggestion would be to remove the Ravens from the bottom of the logo, just like Lakehead, people know who you are as a school.
The last jersey the Ravens use occasionally is their full red Ravens jersey. It suffers the same issues that befell Waterloo’s yellow jersey, the primary colour is just so strong. The other issue is the same as the white, of using the word Ravens on the front of the jersey, we know who you are Carleton you don’t need to keep reminding us.
6. UQTR Patriotes: A-
The Patriotes are yet another team that re-branded themselves, from a logo and jersey set that was pretty clunky to one of the sleeker designs in the OUA.
The white jersey is a good example of this, they manage to add solid orange and green accents efficiently to the jersey which make the new logo’s P pop out better. I disagree with the UQTR wordmark but the half colour is clever.
The black jersey is a carbon copy of the white jersey except white to black changes. This is good for cohesiveness in the pair but the all black way that it turns the P into is a significant downgrade from how it looks on white. The rest of the jersey is still clean (as it is the same jersey) but that is a hard sell for the logo to pull off.
5. Ryerson Rams: A-
The Ryerson Rams have made some smart jersey decisions and some not so smart jersey decisions over the last few seasons.
For their Blue jersey the changing of the black accents on the jersey to gold was an incredibly smart decision. I have always wondered why, when the Rams supposedly went full blue and gold in their rebrand in 2016 that they accented the jersey in black. It always felt off and changing it in 2019-2020 was a smart decision.
The Gold jersey is easily the most controversial of Ryerson’s set. It is a lot of Gold colour on one jersey, but the simplicity of the Ryerson logo almost by design allows the logo to disappear a little and lets the gold stand out as a differentiator.
The first two jerseys in Ryerson’s set are good but the continued existence of the white jersey is problematic. Look I get that unless you want the gold to go into full rotation (which would be over-using it) a white jersey is needed. It’s actually not terrible, the massive problem is the ugly wordmark logo in the centre of the chest. Especially with the much cleaner R logo being used on the other two jerseys this takes away the synergy of the set. Over even use the Ram Head that makes an appearance on the other two jersey’s shoulders, just not this wordmark logo.
4. Toronto Varsity Blues: A-/A
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues Jersey set is like the New York Yankees jerseys of the OUA. A set that some could deem as simple, but is straightforward, effective and thanks to being seeped in history memorable. What is not to like about this set, complementary blue and white colours for the jerseys with the iconic logo in the middle. Not the most complex jerseys but easily one of the best in the OUA.
3. Nipissing Lakers: A
The Lakers are the only OUA school that had four jerseys in 2019-2020. Two were one night only jerseys though, “Break Through the Ice for Mental Health” (pictured bottom right) and “Military Appreciation” (pictured top right). Those jerseys aren’t necessarily the greatest but their goal is to be memorable for a night.
The two main jerseys they have were successful in their own right. The white jersey is one of the better white jerseys in the OUA allowing the Lakers logo full space to breathe and having just enough support on the bottom to work well. The green and blue blend while but manage to not be too busy.
The green jersey struggles a little with the fact the Lakers logo is green but they are separate enough shades it isn’t washed out. Otherwise the white colouring on the green jersey is situated perfect. One of the better combos in the OUA.
2. RMC Paladins: A
The RMC Paladins are another school that rebranded recently. From one of, admittedly the uglier jersey sets in the OUA to a beautiful new combination.
The new Paladin logo that takes centre stage on the Red jersey is a massive improvement but beyond that removing the unnecessary double stripes at the top of the old jersey plus adding the thicker stripe under the logo and on the arms are major wins.
For the white jersey they opted to do a New York Rangers style RMC wordmark and this jersey works for how simple it is. The old white jersey had the bad logo and unneeded red shoulders which created a bad combination. The new white jersey is crisp and clean. Overall the set represents a major improvement for the the RMC Paladins.
1. Concordia Stingers: A+
The Concordia Stingers easily have the best jersey set in the OUA. On the white jersey all the colours go beautifully together, the brown (Edit, Maroon) and yellow (which are a great combo) accent the white perfectly leaving the smooth C-Stingers logo to take centre stage.
The Brown (Again, not brown, MAROON) jersey is probably my favourite in the entire OUA. Brown (FOR THE LOVE OF, NOT BROWN, MAROON) and yellow just go great together on a sports jersey, and inverting the logo rather than making it white just allows such a harmonious look. It is for that, that Concordia takes top spot in the 49 Sports 2019-2020 Hockey Jersey Rankings.
Cover Graphic by Thomas Pocrnic