The Best and Worst Rangers Uniforms in Team History

Sean Hartnett
April 10, 2020 - 4:17 pm
Categories: 

For 94 years, the Rangers have skated in one of the most iconic uniforms in all of sports. The serifed, drop-shadow diagonal R-A-N-G-E-R-S lettering has often been imitated and never properly duplicated.


Copycats like the 1967-68 inaugural powder blue Pittsburgh Penguins, the 1992-97 Penguins and the 2001-07 and 2009-15 Colorado Avalanche unsuccessfully attempted to duplicate the design.


In the recently-released 2019-20 NHLPA Player Poll, the Rangers ranked fourth in the best jersey category. The Rangers received 6.38 percent of the vote, narrowly falling short of second-placed Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs, who each received 6.83 percent of the vote. In a landslide, the Chicago Blackhawks won the poll at 28.25 percent.


Currently, the Rangers only dress in traditional home and away uniforms. The team hasn’t donned an alternate jersey since the NHL switched to the Adidas Adizero uniform system in 2017. This begs the question – will the Rangers stick with tradition or introduce an alternate jersey in the coming years?


Let’s revisit the franchise’s best and worst jerseys.


5 BEST JERSEYS IN RANGERS HISTORY

Adam Graves

1. 1990-99 HOME WHITE V-NECK

Fifty-four years of frustration ended when Mark Messier lifted Lord Stanley to the heavens while fireworks exploded across Madison Square Garden’s spoked ceiling. Finally, the curse was lifted and the entire city erupted into weeks long celebrations.

The stylish striping on the shoulder yokes is what makes the Rangers’ white jersey superior to the blue. From what I’ve gathered, most fans would prefer a white home jersey – but the NHL mandated that dark jerseys be worn for home games since 2003.

In 1990, the Rangers switched to vertically-arched player names on the back of their home and away jerseys. Previously, player names were displayed straight across.

The laces on the Rangers' hallmark collar can be seen hanging from Mike Zibanejad's uniform.

2. 1997-PRESENT HOME BLUE TIE-DOWN

The Rangers re-introduced the tie-down collar on the blue away jersey in 1997 and would do the same with the white home jersey in 1999. This feature has continued to present day, evoking the style worn by franchise legends Andy Bathgate, Ed Giacomin, Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert.

The Rangers' Lady Liberty uniforms were a sharp break from tradition.

3. 1996-98, 1999-2007 NAVY BLUE LIBERTY ALTERNATE

In a radical change from tradition, the Rangers introduced an alternate lady liberty crest that proved to be popular among fans. The deep navy, the silver piping and futuristic NYR font makes this jersey still look modern today. Lady liberty doesn’t appear dated compared to the mostly garish alternate jerseys of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Do you remember the Los Angeles Kings 1995-96 Burger King and Dallas Stars’ 2003-06 Taurus A.K.A. “Mooterus” jersey?

Though the liberty jerseys weren’t worn during a successful period in team history, it hasn’t detracted from the popularity of these threads.

Tie Domi chases down a loose puck against the Sabres in November 1991.
Getty Images

4. 1991-92 NHL 75TH ANNIVERSARY JERSEY

In 1991, the NHL launched “Turn Back The Clock” uniforms for each of its “Original Six” franchises. The white ringer collar is a throwback to the Rangers’ early years and was worn during Messier’s first season as a Ranger.

Todd Harvey celebrates a goal in the so-called White Liberty jersey, a rare collector's item.
Getty Images

5. 1998-99 WHITE LIBERTY ALTERNATE

Worn during Wayne Gretzky’s final season, this design replaced the navy blue liberty alternate for a single season. Since it only lasted for one season, this jersey is a collector’s item and usually is sold for high prices on eBay.

 

5 WORST JERSEYS IN RANGERS HISTORY

1. 1976-78 HOME AND AWAY CREST DESIGN

General manager John Ferguson broke from tradition and angered fans by introducing wide stripes and replacing the diagonal R-A-N-G-E-R-S with the team crest on the chest. The unpopular decision irritated the players, who complained about the jerseys being uncomfortable and unrelatable. Gilbert wasn’t shy about letting Ferguson know his distaste for the uniform change.

What followed was two playoffless seasons and Ferguson’s ouster in 1978. Today, these designs look more dated than retro. Thankfully, incoming head coach/general manager Fred Shero brought back the traditional uniforms – though the road jersey read NEW YORK from 1978-87.

The Rangers went 2-0 in the garish Stadium Series metallic threads.
Getty Images

2. 2014 STADIUM SERIES METALLIC

These uniforms worn at Yankee Stadium were a nod to the 1998-99 white alternate design. The league-mandated chrome text combined with the overly-futuristic shoulder yokes and wide side stripe made for an ugly look.

That said, some Blueshirt diehards will have fond memories of this uniform simply because the Rangers put six goals past Martin Brodeur in a 7-3 win over the Devils in the first game – then topped the Isles, 2-1 in the second game amid a single-digit wind chill.

3. 1946-47 ARCH DESIGN

A switch from the traditional diagonal R-A-N-G-E-R-S to an arched basketball-like design represented the first major uniform change in team history. Unsurprisingly, the Rangers ditched these jerseys after one season.

The Rangers edged the Flyers, 3-2, in the 2012 Winter Classic.
Getty Images

4. 2012 WINTER CLASSIC CREST DESIGN

Though the coloring and piping makes the jersey pop, it’s kind of a mishmash of various Ranger uniforms. Still, some fans will always associate this jersey with Mike Rupp’s “Jagr salute” and Henrik Lundqvist’s stoning Danny Briere’s late penalty shot. The Rangers produced a better effort with their 2018 Winter Classic design.

5. 1978-87 ROAD BLUE

R-A-N-G-E-R-S across the chest simply looks better than N-E-W Y-O-R-K. The Blueshirts switched the wording back to Rangers ahead of the 1987-88 season.

 

HARTNETT’S SUGGESTION FOR 2020-21:

HOME UNIFORM: No change. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

AWAY UNIFORM: Replace the tie-down with the two-color v-neck replicating the 1994 Stanley Cup championship glory.

ALTERNATE UNIFORM: Bring back the lady liberty navy blue alternates. Though I’m somewhat of a traditionalist, 30-somethings with nostalgia for the past are clamoring for these jerseys to return. The 2010-17 heritage alternate was a half step. Give the fans what they want.Follow Sean on Twitter -- @HartnettHockey