Arizona Coyotes Throwback Night gives some history of the logo
For as long as I’ve been a hockey fan, the Arizona Coyotes have been in the NHL.
Of course, I didn’t originally live close enough to them to warrant pledging my loyalty; growing up, I was a supporter of the Boston Bruins. My family all cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs; in my house, Original Six hockey was kind of a big deal. Even my aunt, the other black sheep in the family, is a Montreal Canadiens fan.
To me, though, the Arizona Coyotes — then the ‘Phoenix Coyotes’ — were something different.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins have each gone through their logo changes over time. If you’ve never seen the really godawful brown-and-mustard-yellow jerseys that the Bruins wore back when they were the only American team in the NHL, that’s probably a good thing. They didn’t switch to black and gold until the mid-thirties, with the iconic spoked ‘B’ introduced to the sweater nearly twenty years later in 1949. The Toronto logo also went through a weird, bubbly-ish phase when it was first born, and the blue of the jersey has gone through nearly every shade on the color pallette.
By the time I really got into hockey, though, many of the league’s logos are similar to what we see now — which is why the Phoenix logo was so unique.
Turns out, they planned it that way.
Campbell Fisher Ditko — that was the name of the company that designed the ‘Kachina’-inspired Coyote for the front of the first ever jersey design, which fans got a chance to see in April of 1996. The Coyote himself, who was — at the time — more than just a face, was a hockey player himself; according to the team, both the art style used to sketch him out and the color pallette used were chosen with the Southwestern heritage of Arizona in mind.
The league has seen the Coyotes go through a number of alternate jersey designs over the years (with my least favorite being the green alternate, much to the chagrin of many), but fans still hold a fondness for the throwback Kachina design for this very reason.
When first designing the logo, artist Greg Fisher was actually asked to stay away from something menacing — and instead focus on embracing the Southwest culture in an attempt to make the Arizona residents feel the team truly belonged to them.
He went above and beyond, without a doubt.
When speaking with Arizona Coyotes Senior Director of News Content, Dave Vest, David Haney — the NHL’s Creative Director at the time the Kachina logo was first conceived, remembers the team seeking out the approval of Hopi leaders around the Arizona community before letting the design go public.
It’s been a hit over the years for that very reason; with everyone from goalie coach Sean Burke to Shane Doan (who will become the only player to ever wear the jersey both the first time around and as a throwback design) agreeing that it gave the team a real identity, the Kachina logo represents something special to Coyotes fans that not many other fanbases can boast of their own team logos.
Even Sam Gagner is excited to wear it, though for a different reason — back when he was a child, he wore the Kachina style jersey while playing for the Coral Springs Coyotes, and is thrilled that he’ll be able to wear it in a real NHL game. Who can blame him? If you’ve ever played for a midget team wearing a professional logo (which I may or may not have done at one point), it seems like a dream come true to get the chance to wear the jersey on NHL ice.
Of course, the new jersey design keeps up with the way the league has evolved — all the logos are sleeker and more modern nowadays, with the exception of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team has pulled all but the crimson, black, and white from their jerseys; they now look more modern, even if they have become more mainstream.
The chance to see the old jerseys again, though? Absolutely priceless.
The throwback game is coming up soon; the Coyotes will have the opportunity to host the Vancouver Canucks on March 5th for that game.
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