The New York Rangers have been one of the most successful and historic franchises in the National Hockey League, advancing to the 2022 Eastern Finals, winning seven division championships, two conference championships, and four Stanley Cups. Interestingly, they were the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the illustrious Stanley Cup.
Also, the Rangers are one of the Original Six hockey teams, so as expected, their jersey history dates back several decades — all the way to 1926, to be exact. We can definitely say that the team has worn some well-designed jerseys in approximately 100 years. This article brings you the best New York Rangers uniforms in history, including our favorite — the latest version, in use since 2010.
New York Rangers History
In 1927, the president of Madison Square Garden received permission to form a hockey team for the 1926-27 season. This newly constituted outfit would compete with the New York Americans, who had already started playing at the arena the previous season. The Americans’ success allowed George Lewis “Tex” Rickard to pursue this second New York team, nicknamed “Tex’s Rangers.” The moniker stuck, and the team became known as the Rangers.
They became one of the Original Six teams, alongside the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In only their second season, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, followed by another one a few years later. While the team struggled a bit after their third Stanley Cup victory in 1940, they found a resurgence in the 1970s with two Stanley Cup final appearances. The Rangers were on the up again in the 1990s, bagging their fourth Stanley Cup in 1994.
NY Rangers Jersey History
All New York Rangers teams of the last 96 years have worn a similar blue uniform, with slight yet dazzling evolution over the years. The Rangers were also one of the first NHL teams to use colored gloves and put player names on the back of the jerseys, further staking their claim as the best-dressed side in the division. Below, we provide a list of the best of their jerseys and the times when they were in use.
2010-Present: Heritage Jerseys Debuted
In 2007, the Reebok Edge jerseys became the new template for the league. These uniforms had a tighter fit and used different fabrics. As a result, they became lighter and did not include the fighting strap that kept them in place when players fought.
One of the team’s first Reebok Edge jerseys included a new Heritage jersey, which features a darker blue and toned-down red. Instead of “RANGERS,” the wordmark was “NEW YORK.” Inside the collar, the jerseys said “Established 1926” and on the inside have all the numbers the Rangers have retired to honor their legends.
Also, the team was involved in two Winter Classics and one Stadium Series and had special jerseys for these occasions. The 2012 Winter Classic jersey was a cream color and had a similar design to the Heritage jerseys. But the 2018 Winter Classic jersey was navy and had white lettering. A silhouette of the Rangers logo was on the upper left of the jersey, with “NY” inside.
1963: Player Numbers Added
The New York Rangers’ uniforms that debuted in 1963 made an impact across the league. To make the players easier to spot on the ice, the team added player numbers to the sleeves. They were in the same style as the other numbers but in a much smaller print. Seven years later, the team explored other ways to help fans recognize players. In the process, they became one of the first teams to add player names to the back of the jerseys.
This feature came in handy when the NHL expanded from the Original Six teams to 12 in 1967. The league now had twice as many players and six more teams in additional cities. Since hockey is such a fast-paced game, it is sometimes challenging for fans to recognize players in that chaos. But adding names allowed spectators to better observe their favorite player, especially if they didn’t know that player’s number. Fortunately, with the addition of player names, fans only needed to locate the player’s last name to follow him as he speedily attacked or defended.
1926-1927: Inaugural Uniform
The uniforms worn during the NY Rangers’ first season were one of the best due to their simplicity. They included a navy blue jersey with the red “RANGERS” name displayed diagonally from the shoulder to the hip. The player number was white on the back, and each arm had a white-red-white band above the elbow. The same band was around the hem of the jersey.
The team kept versions of this uniform for several more seasons, making minor tweaks here and there. It added stripes to the all-blue pants, inserted outlines around the players’ names and numbers, and played with splashes of color. When the Rangers won their first three Stanley Cups during the 1927-28, 1932-33, and 1939-40 seasons, they wore uniforms that featured the inaugural design.
1996-1997: Third Jersey Debuted
The team added a sharp third jersey for the 1996 season, and it was one that most people remember. This navy jersey included a brand-new logo from the general manager, Neil Smith, who was inspired by the helmet design of goaltender Mike Richter. This logo had the Statue of Liberty’s head on a shield with the red letters “NYR” underneath. This jersey had a different striped pattern of red, white, and silver.
A few years later, the team changed its third jersey. Instead of having a navy third jersey, the Rangers switched to white. This jersey’s arms had a navy diagonal stripe and white base around the logo. However, this change didn’t last long as the team went back to the navy third jersey just one year later. These jerseys also had collar laces just like the home and away jerseys.
1946-1947: Arched Lettering
The Rangers made the first major uniform change in their history with arched lettering. When games began showing on TV in 1946, the team changed the “RANGERS” wordmark. Instead of the word sloping down the jersey diagonally, it was arched across the front, similar to the pattern on a modern basketball jersey.
This change allowed viewers at home to see the entire name on the jersey, since some letters might be difficult to see diagonally. Player numbers went underneath the wordmark. While the Rangers only kept this arched design for one season, it was notable because it marked the first time the team updated its uniforms.
1949-1956: Upright Letters
The Rangers changed the wording on the uniforms, and the upright display of letters was eye-catching. Also, due to an NHL regulation that mandated teams to have dark home and light home jerseys, the team added an away jersey similar to the home jersey. The jerseys were unveiled for the 1951 season. Instead of the blue hue, this jersey was white and included a neck yoke striping pattern. The letters on the uniform were blue with a red shadow behind them.
The following season, the Rangers became the first team in the NHL to wear colored gloves. They wore red, white, and blue gloves to match the uniform. The Maple Leafs followed the Rangers’ lead and switched up their gloves during the 1958-59 season.
1976-1978: Wordmark Removed
For the second time in their history, the Rangers completely revamped the old uniforms for a new design. General Manager John Ferguson sought a more modern approach, so he had the “RANGERS” wordmark removed and replaced with the team’s logo. The blue jersey had a white-and-red stripe at the top and hemline, and the number was in blue. The blue color used on these uniforms was darker than before, and the pants also switched from red to the same dark blue.
The white jersey had a blue-and-white stripe at the top and hemline, along with white numbers. Both New York Rangers uniforms featured blue pants with a white-and-red stripe down the side. Player names were added to the away jerseys in 1977. In a somewhat fascinating twist, when Ferguson was fired after the 1978 season, he was later hired as the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets and took this design with him.
1978-1989: New York Wordmark Added
The Rangers brought back the words on the jersey, with the white jersey retaining the diagonal “RANGERS” wordmark. The blue jersey had “NEW YORK” instead. The stripe pattern on the sleeves and bottom of the blue jersey had two blue stripes added in between the white and red. This design stood out even more with the addition of the red pants.
The New York Rangers’ uniform history is almost a century old, and there’s no better way to celebrate the team’s success on the ice than by adding a few key pieces to your closet. Shop Fanatics for a wide selection of licensed sports apparel, memorabilia, and sports collectibles from teams across all leagues.