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Hockey Helmet Colours

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02-27-2013, 02:44 PM
  #1
Stephen
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Hockey Helmet Colours

Does anybody know how NHL helmet colours came to be chosen for specific teams in the 1960s and 1970s?

With most teams the choices are pretty automatic, like the Leafs wearing blue helmets, or the Red Wings wearing red to match the primary colours on their dark uniforms, but how did the Canadiens decide on blue helmets instead of red ones?



Or Chicago with black ones instead of red ones?


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02-27-2013, 03:55 PM
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Killion
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Does anybody know how NHL helmet colours came to be chosen for specific teams in the 1960s and 1970s?
Well, as I seem to recall, you could buy a helmet in one of 4 primary colours that were pretty much universal and based on the Original 6's uniforms in the 60's (previously helmets were made of leather, varying colours of tan to black), made to compliment, which could be used by almost any minor-pro, NCAA, Jr or amateur clubs togs'. White, Red, Blue or Black. When the 67 Expansion came along, Yellow (Seals, LA) added to the spectrum and then pastel shades as the years went on in even more variations. Some guys, like Butch Goring with his primitive "Snap" helmet had it re-painted frequently in mat flat, a variance on the shade the Islanders ordered wholesale but "close enough".

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02-27-2013, 04:46 PM
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Well, as I seem to recall, you could buy a helmet in one of 4 primary colours that were pretty much universal and based on the Original 6's uniforms in the 60's (previously helmets were made of leather, varying colours of tan to black), made to compliment, which could be used by almost any minor-pro, NCAA, Jr or amateur clubs togs'. White, Red, Blue or Black. When the 67 Expansion came along, Yellow (Seals, LA) added to the spectrum and then pastel shades as the years went on in even more variations. Some guys, like Butch Goring with his primitive "Snap" helmet had it re-painted frequently in mat flat, a variance on the shade the Islanders ordered wholesale but "close enough".
Before helmets became more prevalent and universalized, and they were just individuals looking for protection, were there ever instances of Montreal Canadiens individual players wearing red helmets?

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02-27-2013, 05:19 PM
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Killion
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Before helmets became more prevalent and universalized, and they were just individuals looking for protection, were there ever instances of Montreal Canadiens individual players wearing red helmets?
... no idea, but as far back as Im willing to take the time to search, I did find a picture from a game played in 1966 with Montreal in their red jerseys, the few helmets visible being blue. Others when wearing their white jerseys with white helmets. You might want to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame website & surf the photo gallery; the Canadiens as well I believe also have a sizeable image bank. Its interesting, as when you look at the pictures its rare, very rare to even spot players with headgear on at all. It wasnt until 79 that wearing a helmet was mandated, and then Grandfathered in. Obviously at some point when helmets became a lot more prevalent, Id assume the NHL regulated helmet colour selections by team, home & away. The Leafs to a man way back in the 30's were ordered by Smythe to wear helmets, leather jobs, the players revolting. That piece of equipment having an interesting history to be sure.

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02-27-2013, 06:32 PM
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When I first wsatched hockey, maybe 1962, Charlie Burns of the Bruins was the only helmet-wearer in sight, and he had an excuse: he'd experienced a life-threatening head injury.

Stan Mikita of the Black Hawks was an early convert to the helmet, along with one other Hawk whose name I can't remember. I think that their first helmets were white, both home and away, later replaced by black ones. They probably didn't have a wide selection available at the time.

I think that when the helmets became more widespread, the rulesmakers specified white for visitors and colored for home, to go along with the rest of the unifrom.

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02-27-2013, 07:08 PM
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I think that when the helmets became more widespread, the rulesmakers specified white for visitors and colored for home, to go along with the rest of the unifrom.
I believe your right about that. The earliest helmets I remember were made by Cooper-Weekes as it was then known, a 3 piece unit that was covered in leather wrapping a plastic/fibreglass interior shell. These were available in blue, white, red & black, early 60's, or you could just buy the plain white shell itself without the leather. Helmet technology, design & manufacturing was superior in Europe as they early on in the development of their game mandated helmet usage. Plastics used extensively.

Wasnt really until the mid-60's here in North America that domestic manufacturers produced anything of much use. CCM & Cooper-Weekes, D&R outta Quebec the only products available in Canada, very limited selection. I also seem to remember the absolutely ridiculous mouth guards that came with them. Like something from the horror movie Silence of the Lambs, Silent Hill or Saw. An Orthodontists or Sado Masochists orgasm. Floating piece of plastic glued to your mouth by ice playing outdoors as we did in -40 degree weather. Like a Ball Gag. Lips sewn shut by that device, cinched tightly to yer noggin the way it was. Mightve been one of the reasons I became a goalie I suppose.

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02-27-2013, 08:58 PM
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I always liked that the Canadiens and Blackhawks used their trim color rather than their primary color for their helmets - in both cases it balances nicely with their pants which are blue and black, respectively.

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02-27-2013, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SealsFan View Post
I always liked that the Canadiens and Blackhawks used their trim color rather than their primary color for their helmets - in both cases it balances nicely with their pants which are blue and black, respectively.
OK. Cant say I or anyone else was enamoured with the Kings & Seals colour choices when they first came out SF. But they grew on you, started to appreciate them... the original Kings colours in particular.


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02-27-2013, 09:43 PM
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Colours

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Well, as I seem to recall, you could buy a helmet in one of 4 primary colours that were pretty much universal and based on the Original 6's uniforms in the 60's (previously helmets were made of leather, varying colours of tan to black), made to compliment, which could be used by almost any minor-pro, NCAA, Jr or amateur clubs togs'. White, Red, Blue or Black. When the 67 Expansion came along, Yellow (Seals, LA) added to the spectrum and then pastel shades as the years went on in even more variations. Some guys, like Butch Goring with his primitive "Snap" helmet had it re-painted frequently in mat flat, a variance on the shade the Islanders ordered wholesale but "close enough".
O6 helmet colours. Correct about the four basic colours. Away team wearing white jerseys in those days wore white helmets. Home team was more problematic since five of the six teams, except Boston had red. So the Bruins and Hawks wore black - only two teams with black. Red Wings wore red - no other choice, likewise Toronto with blue. Rangers wore red, Canadiens wore blue.


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02-28-2013, 05:55 AM
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Mikita was a superstar at the time, and you have to wonder what that did for acceptance. I doubt that some fringe player would have put on a helmet at that time.

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02-28-2013, 10:32 AM
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OK. Cant say I or anyone else was enamoured with the Kings & Seals colour choices SF. WTF is that? Canary Yellow?

Next thing we know at the local Canadian Tire? "Yellow helmets", new shade called "purple GRAPE". Gotta pucker yer lips & buttocks when you say it.... absolutely anathema.... heretical... purple?

How Wimpy Burger can you people get? Then the Barons. Steak House Logo. Huh? And I love a good steak. You?.
Well in those cases, green for the Seals and purple for the Kings would have been better helmet choices than the yellow. As if it wasn't bad enough that the Kings were wearing yellow pants for a spell. Steak House logo? Which one? I think a few teams made hamburger out of the Barons, for sure.

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02-28-2013, 10:48 AM
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remember this brief experiment?

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02-28-2013, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SealsFan View Post
Well in those cases, green for the Seals and purple for the Kings would have been better helmet choices than the yellow. As if it wasn't bad enough that the Kings were wearing yellow pants for a spell. Steak House logo? Which one? I think a few teams made hamburger out of the Barons, for sure.
The Cleveland Barons. There was a steak house called Barons in Toronto back in the day that had a similar logo, the place decked out in faux castle. But yes, when the Seals & Kings yellow was unveiled not many were terribly warm to the schemes however over time, one became accustomed to them, appreciated them. They grew on you. Same thing with Pittsburgh's baby blue. Several amateur organizations in Ontario adopting both. Don Mills, who arranged with Philadelphia & Minnesota to adopt the Flyers & North Stars logo's & colours; Leaside with the Kings, Ted Reeve with the Penguins & so on. Gloves as well all being re-designed with the new teams colours along with increased variety in helmet shades.

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02-28-2013, 02:31 PM
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MuzikMachine
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Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post


remember this brief experiment?
Interesting, something similar to this:



Why is it that it's very rare for a team to have helmets that are lighter (non-white) than their coloured uniforms. Usually they're darker if they aren't the same color.

Also, does anyone remember when the Colorado Avalanche first came into the league, they wore black helmets with their home whites? It didn't last long and I can't find any pictures.

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02-28-2013, 03:30 PM
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Hawkey Town 18
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Originally Posted by MuzikMachine View Post
Also, does anyone remember when the Colorado Avalanche first came into the league, they wore black helmets with their home whites? It didn't last long and I can't find any pictures.
I remember that, it still looks so weird. Go to the 5:00 mark in this video and you can see it...


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