Pittsburgh isn’t a natural habitat for penguins, but thanks to “The Igloo” – the nickname of the Civic Arena where the NHL team got its start – they’ve come to thrive in the city. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been able to bring home four Stanley Cup titles (1991, 1992, 2009, and 2016) across five total appearances since they joined the league in 1967.
Even though the team may not be a member of the Original Six, the Penguins have been solid playoff contenders throughout their history, as a result of having some of the game’s best players. It’s hard not to think, first, about former Penguin, Mario Lemieux. A transcendent player, Lemieux was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his first retirement in 1996 (they waved the three-year waiting period because he was just that good). Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby are two more game-changing players who have donned a Penguins jersey.
Let’s take a look at the Penguins on the ice and see how their visual identity has evolved over the years.
Notable Jersey Changes
1967: For their inaugural season, the Pittsburgh Penguins play in a powder blue uniform similar in layout to the New York Rangers – in that they spell out “Pittsburgh” diagonally across the front.
1968: It doesn’t take long for the Penguins to come up with a team crest. The famous skating penguin makes his first appearance on the team’s jersey. The logo consists of a penguin in front of a triangle that was meant to represent the “Golden Triangle” of downtown Pittsburgh. The team also adds names to the back of the jersey in 1971.
1972: The penguin stages a breakout and earns a larger spot in the center of the jersey. The team also darkens the blue on the jersey in 1973.
1977: Dark blue becomes the dominant color on the jersey.
1979: The Penguins wave goodbye to the blue and adopt the colors of their town – black and gold. They align with the Steelers in the NFL and the Pirates in MLB with their new jerseys and complete the change halfway through the 1979 season. They also introduce a gold jersey, which ends up being used as the primary home uniform for the 1983–1984 season.
1984: The white home jersey returns, and the gold jersey is retired. This template is used for the next several seasons, with only minor adjustments. Whether it is the sleeve stripe changing, the collar changing from black to gold, or the TV numbers moving from the shoulders to the sleeves, this jersey evolves into a classic.
1992: The Penguins upgrade their logo with a more modern penguin and bring back the “Pittsburgh” text on the black away jersey.
2002: For this season, the team utilizes a new jersey theme that was introduced in 2001 as an alternate. The yellow color is exchanged for “Vegas Gold”.
2007: After the 2006 season Reebok adjusts the stripes and color placement on the jerseys, adjusting the template set over the past five years.
2008: The Penguins still use the Reebok uniforms from their prior seasons, but they add a new alternate jersey. It’s a throwback to their second set of uniforms – powder blue as the primary color and the classic penguin logo.
2016: The Penguins make two throwback uniforms their official home and away jerseys. They also add a Stanley Cup title patch on the chest to highlight their success in the 2015–2016 season.
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