The Montreal Canadiens are longest continuously operating professional hockey team, having been founded in December 1909. This was almost eight years prior to the establishment of the National Hockey League, which formed in 1917. The team has won a total of 24 Stanley Cup championships throughout their career.
The Montreal Canadiens are currently top spot in the North division and have every chance of winning, with odds of 4/1 to come top overall. With a huge fanbase, strong team and rich history, it is no surprise that many of their vintage jerseys are in demand.
Over more than a century of play, the Montreal Canadiens have had multiple uniform design changes. Some have been lauded as the best in the business, while others have fallen at entirely the other end of the scale in the eyes of some.
1924 Iconic Jersey Design
The Canadiens are renowned for having once sported one of the best NHL jerseys of all time. Their 1924-1925 season sweater features one of the most popular designs in NHL history. Fans today can still purchase artwork and other merchandise based on this jersey from almost a century ago. The team chose to replace the existing “CH” design with one that featured a globe as the central image. This was inspired by their championship victory the previous season, which represented their second Stanley Cup win.
The traditional CH design was still featured on the sleeves of the red jersey, but the globe representing world championship victory was the dominant theme. The “H” of the “CH” logo was first introduced in 1917, when the club changed its French name to Club de hockey Canadien from the previous title of Club Athlétique Canadien. However, many fans believe that the H stands for Habitants, a rumour perpetuated by Tex Rickard, the owner of the club for a time in the 1920s.
2009 Throwback Jersey Design
Featuring thick blue, white and red horizontal stripes throughout both the jersey and the socks, broken up only by plain blue shorts, this uniform drew deep disagreement. The design was based on a sweater from 1912.
The 2020/2021 NHL season sees the launch of a new program requiring all teams to wear an alternate jersey for select games. The alternate jerseys are designed to represent historical moments from the back catalogues of each of the teams in the league. For the Montreal Canadiens, inspiration has been taken from a combination of the very earliest and the most successful days of the team’s history. The colouring is taken from the very first jerseys worn by the Canadiens in 1909, with the design mimicking the one worn by the team from 1974 until 2007. It was during this period that the Canadiens took home six separate Stanley Cup titles and set an NHL points record. The jersey neckline also features the number 76, representing the year the Canadiens embarked on the season where this record was set.
Throughout a long professional history, the Montreal Canadiens have had many jersey designs. However, the traditional colouring of red, blue and white has never been strayed from. Some designs have featured on colour more strongly, while others have incorporated all three equally. Sleeve designs have come and gone, while the team logo has been slightly adapted at times. Since the post-war years, the Canadiens have used jerseys that are predominantly one colour or the other to differentiate from home and away games, with various patterns of stripes adorning each kit around the sleeves, the base of the jersey or the neckline.
Throughout much of its history, the only requirement from the NHL for teams in terms of uniform has been that each player must wear a matching jersey. These jerseys affiliate players with their teams, unifying their image but also allowing team-mates and opponents to be easily identified at speed when on the ice. In more recent years, many teams have added coordinating hockey pants, gloves, socks and helmets. Each team is required to have a minimum of two jersey designs, one of which has a pale base and the other a darker colour. This is so teams with similar kit designs can play each other and still be easily identified.
The Montreal Canadiens have been lauded for their designs throughout NHL history. The new retro look draws on some of the best features from team jerseys over the years.