by Dan Adkisson
Without any doubt, the Los Angeles Kings have had some of the most iconic jerseys in the National Hockey League’s long history. Since its inaugural season in 1967, many legends have also represented the team over the years.
From their establishment forward, the Kings have been known to have three main color schemes, with subtle changes along the way. For more than 50 years now, LA has managed to retain its identity over time. Their branding, logo, jersey design, and style have mostly received high praise and critical acclaim from both fans and opponents, although there have been a few misses worth noting.
Jerseys will forever be a topic of discussion and debate among members of sporting communities. For Hockey fans in North America, game day isn’t just about NHL odds and predictions, but also about representing their favorite teams and players. Let’s examine some of the Los Angeles Kings most iconic jerseys since their introduction to the NHL.
1967-1988: The First Era
The first time the Kings played an NHL game was October 1967, as they kicked off their debut season in purple and gold colors. These jerseys had simple designs but still remain fresh in the minds of old-school fans everywhere.
The purple jersey had one gold stripe on its sleeve, while the gold jersey had a purple stripe at the bottom. These two colors had the team’s original crown logo and largely remained in use until 1988.
There were a few alterations to the original design around 1980 when additional stripes and contrasting sleeves were included in the jersey’s look. The team also added white colors to complement its contrasting bottom stripes and included new shoulders and sleeves. These colors and designs somewhat matched those worn by the legendary Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA basketball team they shared an arena (and ownership) with during those early days.
1988-1998: The First Major Alteration
Longtime Kings fans may remember how the arrival of Wayne Gretzky helped improve the team’s performance on the ice and also impacted the view and popularity of hockey throughout California. Yet, that wasn’t the only shift. In August 1988, in conjunction with acquiring Gretzky from the rival Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles made the first major changes to their overall look; the team replaced its old colors with black, white, and silver.
These changes matched the colors of another LA team, the NFL’s Raiders. And they were the same colors worn by recent Rookie of the Year, Luc Robitaille, back when he played junior hockey in the QMJHL. Along with the color changes came a logo redesign. It now had “Los Angeles” written atop in small font, with “Kings” written underneath in a larger font, along with a crown placed right below the wordmark.
1995: A Whopper of a Mess
Many fans would agree, the Burger King jersey (as it’s often referred to) was a giant swing and a miss. In an attempt to add an edgy side brand, the Kings decided to introduce an alternate jersey. Let’s say this wasn’t the best of ideas. Decades later, the BK jersey still holds the reputation as one of the worst jerseys in NHL history. It was one to forget. Thankfully, the Kings only used it for one season.
1998-2013: A Return of Purple
Just before moving into their new state of the art arena in downtown LA, the Kings redesigned their jerseys; bringing back the original, iconic purple color in 1998. This new color was integrated into the black and white look, as the team incorporated purple on its sleeves, shoulders, and a thick stripe along the sweater’s bottom hem. Black and silver colors were still visible around the purple-colored stripe, albeit minutely, while the collar remained black and silver.
1999: A New Alternate Jersey
One season later, the Kings added a new alternate jersey to its collection – and went over much better with the fans than the last third unit in their collection. This jersey was similar to the team’s main uniform; the differences observed were the purple and black swap and a different logo.
2011-Present: Change of Colors in Home and Away Uniforms
What’s old was new again, as the Kings returned to the Gretzky-era black and white look, with removing all other colors from their home and away jerseys.
2016 and 2018: Let’s Try a Grey Alternate Jersey
Looking to again add an alternate jersey into their rotation, the Kings introduced a new grey alternate sweater that was pretty similar to their primary uniform. It had a purple-colored collar (on the inside) with gold trim around the jersey numbers. Although this jersey was only used for one season (their 50th anniversary), it was modified to remove the gold trim in 2018.
2021: Another Alternate Jersey Replacement
The most recent change is the replacement of the Kings’ grey alternate uniform with a white jersey. This sweater is seen as the modern-day version of the Gretzky-era classics. It’s a return to the 90’s logo and some silver on the sweater that really pops, plus white gloves and a chrome helmet.
Sweaters With Style
From the early days of purple and gold, through multiple iterations of black and silver, the Los Angeles Kings jersey collection features some of the best looking and most iconic NHL uniforms ever made. With the organization’s reputation for often churning out iconic sweaters, LA fans can sit back and expect new and more improved jersey designs, colors, and maybe additional logo alterations in the future.