History of the Uniform
Saturday, 09.16.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
September 16, 2006
Equipped with one of the National Hockey League's two new teams, the Knox Brothers sought a name for the club that would accompany the Vancouver Canucks into the 1970-71 season. A contest brought about the name "Sabres," which just needed a logo to become the trademark of hockey on the Niagara Frontier. The Sabres crest would remain identical over the first 26 years. The first major change to the team's look came in 1996-97, which accompanied a new home for the Buffalo Sabres (the team moved from Memorial Auditorium into its new address of HSBC Arena).
The crest in which would adorn the blue, white and gold jerseys of Buffalo Sabres players from October 1970 until April 1996 reflected the team's name. Along with the Buffalo appeared two crossed sabres "renowned as a clean, sharp, decisive and penetrating weapon on offense, as well as a strong parrying weapon on defense," according to team Public Relations Director Chuck Burr's 1970 press release.
A few minor changes were seen in the Buffalo sweaters over the first 26 years, mostly simple accessory changes. After adding players' last names to the back of the sweaters a few years earlier, 1978-79 marked the first season the team's jerseys did not have drawstrings at the neckline and the debut of the team's crest on the shoulders. While the next season was Buffalo's 10th anniversary campaign, it was a patch in honor of that winter's Olympic games in Lake Placid, N.Y., that was the notable change on the uniforms. The 1980 Winter Olympics is where the now legendary "Miracle on Ice" would take place, and where the Sabres held their 1980 training camp.
It was probably fitting then that 10 years later, a Buffalo Sabres' 20th anniversary logo patch was embroidered on the front right shoulder of the players' uniforms for 1989-90. Two years later, the Sabres joined the other NHL teams in wearing a commemorative patch for the league's 75th anniversary, and fans even had the opportunity to see it on both the home and road jerseys as Buffalo joined 15 other teams in the season-long celebration. For the second half of that season, the Sabres wore their road jerseys at home and donned the home jerseys for away games, to complement the "original six" teams who wore "throwback jerseys."
A Stanley Cup centennial patch appeared on the 1992-93 uniforms. Buffalo would again recognize a significant anniversary with a special 25th anniversary logo, which was designed for the team's 1994-95 campaign. Players wore the fifth patch in seven years on the team's sweaters in 1995-96 (bearing jersey number one), remembering former NHL goalie Roger Crozier, who played six of his 14 seasons in the league in Buffalo.
The 1996-97 season began a new era in Buffalo Sabres hockey with a new home, new colors and a new logo. The Sabres' new colors would be black, white, red, gray and silver, featuring a white buffalo head as the new team logo. A secondary logo of a "B" with the familiar sabre piercing through it would also be featured on the shoulder of the new jerseys. In their first season in the new uniforms, the Sabres honored the memory of co-founder Seymour H. Knox III with a circular patch bearing the initials SHK III.
In 1999, the NHL2000 logo was affixed to every team uniform in the league in anticipation of the new millennium. The Sabres also looked forward to the new century to bring about a new tradition of Stanley Cup championships.
On Nov. 22, 2000, the Sabres unveiled the team's third jersey against the Philadelphia Flyers. The third jersey pays tribute to the original sweater, while incorporating colors and elements from the current design, unveiled in 1996.
The organization chose from over 50 different concepts and developed a blend of the 1970s blue and gold crest, featuring the traditional circle and crossed Sabres logo, adorned on a red-based jersey, trimmed in the team's black and silver of the 1990s. The word "BUFFALO" appears on the lower trim to signify the team's proud attachment to its hometown. The third jersey also features the current Sabres white buffalo-head logo appearing on the shoulders.
During the 2002-03 season, the Sabres wore their original blue and gold colors with the former logo and design for the season finale, April 4, against New Jersey.
The new Sabres new uniform, unveiled on September 16, 2006, takes its inspiration from the original Sabres uniform (1971-96) and second uniform (1996-2005).
The design was a collaborative effort between the Sabres and Reebok International. The new “blue and gold” colors have been altered to a deeper navy blue and richer gold that have a greater visual impact both in person and on television broadcasts. Silver accents and a revised “B-Sabre” logo were carried over from the team's second uniform.
Unique in the NHL, the new uniforms have player numbers on the front of the jersey and have been designed utilizing the most advanced material available from Reebok. Buffalo's new alternate jersey is the original blue uniform from the 1970's.