As a product of the 1990s, and one with a lot of nostalgia to boot, I feel the need to stand up for something we published here Tuesday. In the dead of the hockey offseason, we took a look at a curious logo decision by the Beast of New Haven, an AHL team from the late 1990s.
It’s quite something, and it brought up a point I suddenly never knew I needed to defend until that moment. Browsing through the vast expanse of the internet, the lists of the “worst hockey logos ever created” were numerous. To my surprise, many of the logos that have not stood the test of time (according to some) were from hockey teams in the 1990s, including the Beast of New Haven.
While I quibble with that logo based on it looking like a poor Gargoyles knockoff, there were more than a handful of logos from the 1990s that deserve a better fate than this. Disagree all you want, folks, but we here at SB Nation are ready to bring back the 1990s in full force. Are many of these logos bad? Maybe so. But they were some of the most out-there and creative choices in hockey history, without a doubt.
Vancouver VooDoo, 1994
This inline hockey team quantified the experience of small-town bowling alley carpeting in a logo. The jerseys might even be a better picture of what living in the 1990s was like as a kid: bold, bright colors, and patterns everywhere. You may say it’s ugly, but it’s a slice of history from a better time.
Buffalo Stampede, 1994
The shape of the letter “V” was all the rage in the 1990s, apparently. Either that or inline hockey was very circular in their design choices. Regardless! I’m a big fan of the color scheme here, and how fierce and other-worldly that buffalo looks. It even looks better on a hat, somehow!
Waco Wizards, 1997-98
This logo for a hockey team in Texas feels like it was lifted out of an old Dungeons and Dragons book. The purple hair! The cape! The highly stylized text that evokes every fantasy novel you ever read when you were a kid, or passed by on your local library’s shelves. Get ready to roll initiative, my friends.
Las Vegas Flash, 1994
The Las Vegas Flash may have tried to invoke the Flyers with their use of lettering as their main catch. While I deem this a less successful attempt, it’s nothing if not bold and in your face. You may spend all of your time trying to figure out just what the animal in the logo is, but I’m more focused on the wheels this thing has. Where are you going, buddy? Do you need help?
I have nothing but respect for this roller hockey team. Sure, you can say this logo is bad, but because of it their mascot was an Elvis impersonator! You don’t get that in today’s modern, devoid-of-all-fun NHL. I appreciate the effort made here, though it’s on the weaker end of the scale for me.
Quebec Rafales, 1996-98
Apparently “rafales” means “gust of wind” in French. It has absolutely nothing to do with their logo, a yeti snowboarding on a hockey stick, but that’s what makes it so brilliant. Even better? The yeti has a scarf. That’s quite the step up from Penguin on Pittsburgh’s logo having hockey gloves.
Victoria Salsa, 1994-2006
If an angry chili pepper won’t get you excited about hockey, nothing will. Is this logo bad? Objectively, sure! But it took guts to make this logo. And really, nothing says the 1990s like an angry sentient pepper wielding a hockey stick.
Calgary Rad’z, 1993-94
If you asked me to sum up the 1990s in an image, this might be it. The 1990s were a time where people un-ironically said words like “phat” and “the bomb” and the Rad’z, apostrophe and all, are the hockey equivalent.
Hockey, for all we love about the sport, wasn’t above the trends of the decades, and that should be celebrated! Sure, these logos aren’t as clean and refined as the ones in today’s NHL, but they have heart. There’s a reason fans go bananas for the old Coyotes logo or other throwbacks from that era, after all. While tradition and fan favoritism surely play a part, these logos are a reminder that hockey is allowed to have fun and stretch its legs every once in awhile.