WWYDW- Throwback to the Future?

Get it? Sweater song? Like…a hockey sweater?! What Would You Do Wednesday returns!

A day after a tough loss, I thought it would be better if we took a little breather from the talk of lineup adjustments and the questioning of certain players’ usage (whose numbers may add up to 54, I ain’t saying who), and their continued existence on the roster over others.

Let’s embrace a topic I know will unify us. Those sweet, sweet retro sweaters that the Flames are going to bust out on Thursday. I know that they are immensely popular among Flames fans but I am curious how many fans would cast off their current robes for a return to the retro? Let’s flesh it out after the jump.

Before we engage in a spirited debate about which sweaters are the best and which, if any, should be adopted to usurp their current homes, I thought we should go on a stroll down memory lane.

Let’s start off with these puppies. I am going to use Theo as my model for the various choices because he is the best. No room for debate there. He is the man. From 1980-94, the Flames wore these and I don’t have to remind you that there were some pretty good players and some pretty good times in these silks. 

Then, in an attempt to make the Flames appearance worse in accordance with their play, the Flames went in a different direction from 1995-2000. The Flames re-designed their sweater to have bizarre bars supporting the flaming C for reasons I cannot comprehend here in 2015, but maybe it made more sense at the time. Looking back now, these sweaters, honest to god, look like a design on MS Paint. Let’s have a look at these ones shall we?

Not the best action pose of Theo’s to be sure, but we must acknowledge that he had a kickass Jofa helmet and a Titan stick. This picture could double as a time-capsule. For me personally, these were the Flames jerseys of my youth, the team I grew up with. I got to meet Sasha Lakovic, Paul Kruse, and Zarley Zalapski while they were in these sweaters. As you may have guessed by that murderers row of players, the Flames weren’t great in those years…

However, the Flames decided to go abstract with their alternate jersey in 1998 and unveiled what I can confidently state as the most polarizing sweater in Flames history. “The…Satanic Fire-Horse” or as they are known around these parts (though I do not know who coined this…perhaps BoL?) Ol’ Blasty.


Theo went all-Nike in those days and man did I ever want that gear. However, being a youngster most of my gear was from Sports Swap (RIP) and they didn’t see much Nike Ignite or Quest gear, even though it was mostly garbage from what I’ve been told. 

This sweater started as an alternate, but from 2000-03, it was the primary road sweater for the Flames. It was also the last variant of the Flames sweater worn by Theo, so I will have to make a minor detour from Theo as my primary model.

Here’s Martin Gelinas modeling the Flames primary home sweaters from 2000-03, and roads from 03-07. Essentially, while these sweaters were the homes, not a lot of good happened. However, when the league switched to darks at home, the Flames busted out a very popular sweater.

I don’t think I really have to add much here. Just seeing Gelinas in this sweater makes me feel things. Good things. It’s also worth noting that the Flames kept Blasty around until the 2006-07 season, when they ditched the alternate altogether. The NHL moved into the Reebok Edge era and the Flames changed their sweaters with them in 2006-07, and that gave us the home and away that are still used.

Let me be clear, I don’t hate these sweaters, I mean they are certainly an improvement from the mid-nineties ones. I do feel like they are unremarkable enough that a change certainly wouldn’t be the worst, especially to a sweater that is far more popular. I am not a fan of the shoulder patches, specifically the Canadian flag, but maybe I am crazy.

However, the Flames started opting for a retro throw-back jersey beginning in 2009 and man, were they ever popular. It just seemed right, seeing the Flames back in those colours and it seemed as though it was inevitable that the Flames would opt for them full-time (following the lead of the smoking crater of a franchise to the north).

So, let’s get into this. The Flames are unlikely to change their home or road sweaters next season but did introduce a new sweater last season, the largely lukewarmly reviewed and possibly cursed thirds that they currently wear. The retros were worn once last season when they ‘honoured’ Joe Nieuwendyk and they will only be worn once this year, this coming Thursday. 

After the success of Phoenix’s throwback night earlier this month, I think that other NHL franchise’s will begin to embrace their tacky 90s past which means we are close to a ‘Burger King’0, ‘Duck Bursting Through Ice’, and yes I think a return of the ‘Blasty’. 

What are your thoughts on the Flames current home sweaters? Do you like them? Have you grown tired of them? Would you support a change to the retros full-time? Re-design the whole thing again? Re-adopt Blasty as your sweater king? 

Personally, I am completely on-board with adopting the retros full-time but, full disclosure, I have few memories of watching that team play in them. Perhaps they aren’t as novel to those who saw them play in them for 15 years. Or maybe that nostalgia makes them even more palatable? I don’t know. All I know is I am excited for Thursday just to see those silks again. Let me know what you guys think!

  • Rockmorton65

    Full time retros! The ones from 04 would be great too, but any of the others are no good. The sweaters they are wearing now are the best of the worst though.

    I really wish Fleury made the in 09 team. I was at the game where he scored the winner in the shootout in an exhibition game. It was as loud as an 04 playoff game! Retire 14!

  • Nick24

    I would be a big fan or the Retro jerseys getting the full time job, but I don’t have any issues with their Jersey’s now. I like that they’re both pretty simple, so as long as that stays consistent I’d be happy. Not a fan of our current third jersey’s though.

  • Nick24

    the only thing wrong with new third jersey is the “curse”ive logo on the front. but i think the shoulder patch is badass. put that on the front, put the ol’ faithful flaming C on the shoulder and i think you have something.

  • mk

    Retro thirds fill time. Absolutely. The only reason I can think of that they haven’t done that yet is because so many people already own one. Less sales, etc.

  • JumpJet

    I’m old. Saw alot of those cup winning jerseys. I always thought the tenure of the ’04 jersey was way too short. My vote, ’04 jerseys with Cup winners as the 3rd.

  • JumpJet

    Can we all just talk about how great Hiller’s new gear looks? That mask is out of control!

    The retros are the best option. period. They look like a band of mighty ketchup bottles!

  • JumpJet

    I like your assessment of the current jerseys: unremarkable. Not bad, but not noteworthy. I am, however, a big fan of the black flaming C. Maybe that’s because I was young and impressionable during the ’04 cup run.

    Unlike most, however, I am not a proponent of returning to the retro jerseys full time. I would, instead, be in favour of a redesign that eliminated black from the colour scheme and had a retro feel. Kind of like what the Kings and Stars did. Then you keep the current thirds as the alternate (but put the black flaming C on the front) and you’ve got a pretty good set of silks!

  • Rockmorton65

    In one hand – bringing the retros in as Primary uniforms is easily the most popular option, especially with a matching white road. More importantly, red/yellow is a colour combination not used by anyone else in the league.

    However, playing devil’s advocate, there’s reason to keep the modern Black C and return the retros as full time alternates.

    For starters I’m of the opinion that 3rd jerseys should still be exciting for players and fans – and nothing more exciting than a throwback (and not the other way around).
    Despite the rampant use of black, I think it really brings the jersey/logo together. Everything 90s; it’s modern, sleek and aggressive.
    The current set of primaries are just in need of an update.
    Replace the shoulder patches with the CF Roundel, or anything other than the flags for that matter.
    Bring back the mountain waist stripes, lose the Bettman-Piping.

  • beloch

    The retro jerseys are amongst the very best in the league. If the Flames don’t make them their full time home jersey’s, at the very least make them their alternates. Wearing jerseys associated with the franchise’s greatest years would be a well earned reward for the young players who have turned the Flames back into a playoff team (hopefully this season).

    The current primary jersey’s are good. They’re not as awesome as the retro jerseys, but they’re better than what the average NHL team gets to wear.

    The current alternates are not very good, but could be better with some work. “Calgary” written in rope needs to go. Move the shoulder patch to the chest, possibly with a little bit of a redesign, and put the flaming-booger-horse on the shoulders. The flaming-booger-horse didn’t appeal to me as a full sized chest logo, but I didn’t mind it on the shoulders of the 03-07 road jerseys. Also, some yellow should be worked into the design and the shade of red changed to match the primary jerseys. The color scheme on the current version of the alternates looks too similar to the New Jersey Devils.

  • Rockmorton65

    I’m not going to be popular for saying this, but I’m not a fan of the retro’s. They’re not red, they’re almost orange. I Iike the current home/away. I think they’re classy. All this retro stuff seems gimmicky and cartoony. It’d be like if the Flyers started wearing their Cooperalls or if the Canucks broke out the yellow V. Hard to take them seriously. Just my two cents.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Personally like the design of 3rd red jersey EXCEPT the weird Calgary text. I do like the new shoulder logo on them, so move logo to front of red jersey and make it the home jersey, then make something similar in white for away. Then for 3rd jersey, make something close to the 1980s red and yellow retros but with an update using a smidge of black for trim and the black flaming C for logo

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Retro jerseys should get permanent status. The best by far!

    Worst to best:

    -Ol’Blasty (god awful)
    -95-2000 (those bars, ewww)
    -Current Alternates (hate the “walmart t-shirt” cursive, and bad shoulder patches)
    -Cup run jerseys (pretty good, nice memories, but Ol’Blasty patches)
    -Current jerseys (not perfect, but I like the sharper lines, don’t mind the patches)
    -80-94/retros (best, always, no comparison)

    I’m pretty sure the originals just scream Calgary Flames, for fans as well as haters of the team.

  • McRib

    Retros need to be reinstated as the full time uniform, ASAP!!!! Only good thing Edmonton has done in a decade. Imagine how much money the Flames would make with a new White Retro return as the full time away jersey (White Retros have never been available in Edge Jersey).

    I HATE our current full time jerseys as they just scream Reebok Edge (Corporate Crap) Template, enough with the piping and seam stripes. I like our new thirds, however would like to see the wordmark replaced with a standard Black C. If they did that I would not be opposed to making a white jersey of those and going full time with them, but we need to get rid of the current full time Reebok Edge Crap!!! Even if its an Alberta Flag they are killing me with the Blue Shoulder patch, clashes badly with our Colours of Red, Yellow and White (and Black I guess although wouldn’t mind seeing it go there are already enough Black/Red based teams, Carolina, Ottawa, Chicago). One only has to log onto a jersey appreciation site like http://www.icethetics.co/ or read any non-biased jersey poll to know how big of a laughing stock our current Edge Template (Corporate Crap) Full Time Jerseys are around the league they are constantly rated as one of the five worst jerseys in the league in any poll I have read. People please stop liking these corporate crap Edge Templates, as we can do better Hockey Jerseys don’t have “Fancy Piping” and “Bottom Hem Stripes” at least until some suit at Reebok decided differently.