Changing logos isn’t something that happens too often in the NHL. Only a few teams through the years have changed their crest at all, let alone multiple times. Enter the Buffalo Sabres. They have had three different logos and four total changes, and each shift saw major fan backlash, forcing their hand to continue to change things up.
WORST: Number 12- The “Buffaslug” Away (2006-2010)
The Sabres second attempt at an organizational rebrand was a move that was resoundingly rejected. Shifting back to a blue and yellow scheme, they opted to change the crest to a… slug. What was supposed to be a futuristic looking Buffalo ended up with the nickname Buffaslug from the fan base due to the lack of legs on the logo. These jerseys were ground breaking, however, as they were the first NHL jerseys to have the players number on the upper right chest, a move that would later be copied by a couple teams around the league.
Number 11- “Buffaslug” Home (2006-2010)
The overall design of these jerseys were pretty easy on the eyes, but again, the backlash from the fans killed the whole jersey. A few years ago, the designer of the logo did an interview with Yahoo Sports and described the design as “a furry horned cashew nut that spawned everything from ridicule to widespread — and eventually successful — fan protests asking for ‘Death To the Slug.”
Number 10- Yellow Alternate (2013-2015)
Leave it to the Sabres to swing and wildly miss yet again, this time with an alternate jersey. In one of the whackier jerseys in recent history, the Sabres went with a mostly- yellow jersey, except for the back, which was blue. It was yet another move that was overwhelmingly hated and lasted for just two seasons before it was retired for good.
Number 9- 40th Anniversary Alternate (2010-2012)
In the summer of 2010 the organization finally killed off the Buffaslug and switched to the style they currently wear. It also synched up with the franchise’s 40th anniversary, which led to these jerseys. The organization payed homage to the original Sabres colors, as well as the logo being stylized like the Buffalo Bisons, who were an AHL team in Buffalo before the Sabres arrived. These alternates stuck around for two seasons before being laid to rest, but are one of the few alternates in Sabres history that isn’t hated.
Number 8- 50th Anniversary Alternate (2019-present)
Following the Flyers lead, the Sabres broke out a gold-laced alternate jersey for the organization’s 50th anniversary, though they executed the decision much better than the Flyers did. Essentially keeping their away jersey design, just removing the shoulder yolk, and switching out the yellow for gold, they decked out the crest in gold as well. The gold, white, and dark blue color scheme worked well together, even though these jerseys were just worn a handful of times.
Number 7- 2018 Winter Classic (2017-2018)
This was just a subtle change from their current road jerseys, but it changed the organization’s direction once again. With only minor changes to the stripes on the waist and switching to a royal blue instead of navy, The Sabres announced they would bring back a royal blue color scheme starting in 2020-21, and one has to think these jerseys were the test for that move.
Number 6- Original Home/2008 Winter Classic (1970-1996) (2007-2008)
Right in the middle of the Buffaslug’s reign of terror, the Sabres played in the first Winter Classic and broke out their original jersey design from the early days of the franchise. Despite a darker shade of blue, the overall design was the exact same. The Winter Classic was a trial ground for the Sabres, as these later inspired their current away jerseys.
Number 5- Red Alternate (2000-2006)
After their complete deviation from the blue and yellow color scheme four years previously, in favor of a black, white, and red scheme, the Sabres added an all-red alternate to the rotation. These got the nickname “the dinner plate” jerseys due to the large black circle in the center, and a lazily designed crossed sword crest was a missed opportunity to knock these out of the park. They borrowed the LA Kings gimmick of putting the city spelled out on the waist. All in all, the look of the red design was cool, but it could’ve been so much better.
Number 4- Current Away (2010-present)
The current away jerseys are an homage to their original home jerseys, just with their current navy blue color scheme. despite a simple design, they are visually pleasing and the colors work well together. sometimes simpler is better, a note the Sabres should’ve learned 20 years ago.
Number 3- Buffalo Head Home (1996-2006)
When the team switched arenas in 1996, they saw the change as a perfect time to retire their beloved royal blue jerseys. They dumped the original logo in favor of the “goat head” and went for a red, black, and white color scheme. The fans were not happy they ditched the beloved blue jerseys, but from a jersey perspective, the new crest and design are some of the coolest jerseys in history.
Number 2- Current Home (2010-present)
Much like their current away jerseys, simple is better. These jerseys made their debut in the Sabres rotation as an alternate during the “Buffaslug” years as a way to please the revolting fan base. These sweaters resurrected the design on the Sabres original jerseys, but with their current navy blue setup. They became their full-time home jerseys in 2010 and remained the main jerseys even though the Adidas takeover. It was announced that the Sabres will keep the same style of jersey, but return to their royal blue roots starting in 2020-21.
FIRST: Number 1- Buffalo Head Away (1996-2006)
Deviating from their original royal blue roots, the Sabres goat head jerseys were the Sabres first attempt at a jersey re-design, and probably the one with the best reviews. Even though they weren’t overly popular at the time, they have aged like a fine wine in the hockey jersey community. The silver, white, and red stripes, running in a V pattern and the new crest, referred to as the “goat head,” makes for a great looking jersey. They were the away jerseys from 1996 to 2006, and were laid to rest in favor of the Buffaslug. One of the worst decisions in hockey history.
by: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com