Dancing in the Reign: UNI-FIED; A look at the history of Kings Aesthetics
In the midst of the Olympic break, I’ve been eager to take advantage of the time to ramble on a couple of unique topics. Personally, I’m a sucker for everything sports uniforms. In today’s reading, I’ll be summarizing each era of Los Angeles Kings uniforms, asking Kingscast followers which current set they like the best, and a little trivia at the end; A question I consider very tricky to answer. This franchise is known for changing their uniform style quite often. Let’s take a look at the wardrobe that is the history of the Los Angeles Kings.
“Purple & Gold; The Early Years; 1967 – 1988″
The Los Angeles Kings donned the purple and gold-trimmed sweaters for over 20 seasons. Not only is that a big chunk of this franchise’s history, it’s the roots of the franchise. From when they first took the ice, until the late 80′s when Greatzky arrived, this was the image of the team. The colors and crest of the jersey always remained the same, but the design changed several times. Numerous small adjustments on the uniforms were made; From number outlines to the piping on the hem. Beside all of that, do I like them? I can’t say I do. Now, I know I may ruffle a few feathers of the long-time Kings fans, and I fully understand why. First, the colors. Gold and purple are both pretty bold colors to put on a uniform. The Kings used both colors, and prominently. The uniforms were too loud, and with a lack, or not enough piping to break up the screaming. As for the Crown? Don’t like it, don’t hate it. It was just there, nothing fierce, nothing special. The colors didn’t help, it always looked like a blob to me. Not to say I’m fully on board with the modern crown, but it has a little more character to it. More definition to the shape, and stands out a little nicer on a uniform. Overall? My least favorite era of Kings uniforms. From the colors to the crest, not a fan. Please, long-time Kings fans, let me hear it. I deserve it, I know.
“Silver & Black; The Gretzky Era; 1988 – 1998″
Now, if you want to talk a set of colors and logo that certainly won over the fans, and made it’s presence into the mainstream, this is the one. Try scoring yourself a black & silver Kings snap-back hat these days, and you better have some paper. What to say about these uniforms? Great color scheme, even better logo. Who knows if this uniform style would ever have been as popular if Wayne Gretzky hadn’t donned it. But to me, the basic style of this jersey was priceless. Basic colors, basic logo, basic piping. Black and silver work a lot better together than purple and gold. The color combo creates an image that is a little more intimidating, more serious. Now that I look back, I’m quite surprised this design didn’t last longer. I mean, it’s not like it’s out of style. The move to Staples Center obviously was the nail in the coffin to these beauties. Overall, my second favorite Kings uniform set.
“The Burger King Jersey; 1996-1997 Season”
Oh man, where to start with this monstrosity. The NHL decided to really dig into the whole “3rd jersey” trend during the ’96/’97 season. What a mistake that was, and the Kings were far from the most embarrassing. Yes, the Mighty Ducks wore those. For the Kings to wear these instead of the current set they had is a disgrace. Every time I see photos of this uniform, I get hit with the same reaction; like I didn’t believe they had worn them before. Maybe that’s the way it’ll always be. I think it’s from me blacking these out of my mind the second after seeing them. And on Gretzky? Excuse me for a minute…Oh shit, I looked at it again. Maybe posting it on the article wasn’t such a great idea. Well hey, if I have to look at it then you do too. Let’s be fair. Enough on these. Well no, if you were to shove one of these in front of my face during Teddy Purcell’s ice-time, I’d happily oblige.
“Purple, Black, Silver; Staples Center; 1998 – 2007″
The Kings decided to make the move into the brand-new Staples Center with a flashy, modern look. Smart move business-wise from the front office, and they didn’t disappoint. These weren’t bad uniforms, but they weren’t great. They made purple and black work, and created a uniform that was different from the rest. I’ve always liked the “Los Angeles” on the front bottom hem-line of the uniform. We’ve never seen that in the NHL, and I always liked the unique aspect of the design. From ’98 until ’02, this was the crest on the home and away jerseys. The current crown crest was debuted on the purple alternates in ’99. Starting in ’03, the crown was featured on the primary home and away jerseys, with this now becoming the crest on the purple alternate and the shoulder patch to the primary home and away. I give the Kings credit, because if you’re going to commit to a uniform switch from the set you previously had, you need to design something decent. This they did, but was still a bit sloppy for my liking. Not my least favorite, but ahead of the purple & gold classics.
“Purple, Black, Silver; The RBK Edge Era; 2007 – Present”
As Reebok took over the NHL jersey industry, the Kings cleaned up the look of their uniforms. Very similar to what they wore before the “Edge era”, but dropped the purple from the bottom hem-line. This, in my opinion, made a world of difference. Instead, there was no striping on the hem, but just the “Los Angeles” on the bottom front hem-line. The modern crown is the crest for both of the primary home and away jerseys, and they stuck with the same shoulder patches. A very crisp, clean look; And it’s not easy to pull off purple. During the ’08-’09 season, the Kings debuted a new alternate jersey. It was nice for them to go back to the old Silver & Black, but I think they could’ve done better. The best part of the new alternates? The helmet decals; Kings in the classic script from the “88-’98 era. Not a fan of the logo or the piping on the jersey, but credit for creating a design based on the history of the franchise.
“My Favorite Uniform; What’s Yours?”
It’s not a tough decision for me to pick my favorite Kings uniform. I’m going to ask the same from Kingscast readers, and want to see your picks downstairs. For me, it’s the current road uniforms. A simple, crisp, clean look. A lot of white, coupled with an even amount of black and purple. The silver trim helps as well. These uniforms just look sharp, no questions asked. So, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. I want specifics people! What design, what colors, home/away, what year, whatever you need to provide! Let’s hear it!
If you can answer this question correctly, all I have to provide is respect. I wish I had an autographed puck to provide like Chris and Keith, but I don’t. Don’t let that discourage you. Now, the Kings first donned the RBK Edge uniforms during the 2007-2008 season. There was a minor change in the uniforms for the 2008-2009 season, and I’m not talking about the new alternate jersey. What was it? This is a tough one, good luck!