So. A handful of ancient cultures tell us the world ends on Friday. Guess there's no better time than now to quantify the history of hockey logos — since obviously there won't be anymore to come. Ever.
Before we start, understand this is just me picking my favorites. Yours may differ wildly. And if we all survive December 21, you'll get your chance to vote in a new sort of logo tournament after the new year. Now let's go. Clock's ticking.
1. Hartford Whalers
Its perfection lies in its subtlety. The use of negative space has a lot to do with the brilliance of the Whalers' logo. Often the H in the middle is what catches people off guard. They say, "how could I have missed that?" When a designer is able to incorporate every inch of their design into important symbolism, they've struck gold. Peter Good is responsible for this logo and even though it was retired in 1997 with the relocation of the Whalers, hockey is better off for having had it.
2. Minnesota Wild
It was hard not to place this logo at No. 1. I think the Whalers logo only got it because of longevity. It happened to come first. But if the world weren't ending, I'd say this logo will be around for a long time as well. Imagine being told to design a logo for a team called the Minnesota Wild. What does that mean? And yet this mark so perfectly captures the wilderness the team is named for. You can see something new every time you look at it. The trees and setting sun are perhaps most obvious. Then there's the shooting star, flowing river and distant hills. It all comes together in the shape of a wild animal's head. Some people see a wolf. I see a bear. It's a remarkable symbol that I hope survives the apocalypse.
3. Montreal Canadiens
No list of this sort would be complete without this juggernaut toward the top. Montreal's classic CH has survivedin some form for more than a century. It's lived through wars, depressions and even lockouts. So what's a little armageddon? Long live the CH. And just so it's being said here, the H does not stand for Habs, but rather simply, "hockey" as the organization's official name is le Club de hockey Canadien.
4. Colorado Avalanche
It may seem blasphemous to put so many logos created in the last two decades so high on this list, but I wouldn't do it if they weren't awesome. The Avalanche logo is another that approaches perfection. Created by Adrenalin in 1995 after the sudden relocation of the Quebec Nordiques, this logo is striking. It conveys motion splendidly with a color palette found nowhere else in sports. A logo this good. There's no way it could wait to hoist the Stanley Cup.
5. St. Louis Blues
The Blue Note originated in 1967 when the NHL expanded beyond the Original Six. Over the years it's been upgraded and revised. The mark we see today is beautifully balanced and it almost makes you hear music in your head when you look at it. There's no better symbol for a team named the Blues. They got it right the first time. They were smart to stick with it.
6. New Jersey Devils
Clearly this isn't a list of my favorite teams. And for as much as I may dislike the Devils, they have a superb logo. It's no wonder they don't have any secondary or alternate logos. Just this one. The only difference you'll find in the history books is that green replaced black at the beginning when the team arrived in New Jersey in 1982. (By the way, Wikipedia would have us believe that the logo was designed by the wife of the owner at the time of the team's move. But I can't find any corroborating evidence for that.)
7. Boston Bruins
The spoked-B has always been in league with Montreal's CH in my book. I don't mean that literally. Of course they are both members of the NHL and have been since the early days. But the idea of logos so simple, I think, is beyond what would be considered good sports logos these days. When was the last time a new team sprang up with nothing but a letter as its primary symbol? Over the years, the Bruins' logo has been upgraded and refined, each time for the better. It's one of those great, recognizable marks.
8. Chicago Blackhawks
No doubt many of you will complain this logo wasn't higher on the list. But you've heard my position before. I don't think it's a bad logo. I just don't think it's the best the way so many other people do. I've never understood that. Still, it certainly has a place on my Top 10. Only the Blackhawks could pull off such great use of color. (There are 8!) It's another one that's been around for a long time and seen a lot of refinements. But it's old and it shows. For a logo, there's no better compliment.
9. Colorado Rockies
Yep, the Rocky Mountain State shows up twice on my list with two different teams. In 1976, the Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver and became the Colorado Rockies (the original ones!). Their logo struck the ideal balance between a team's nickname and its location. It was only a shame they left town in 1982. I always hoped the Avalanche would get a chance to wear this mark in a Winter Classic or something. But with the Four Horsemen supposedly on their way, I guess that's out of the question.
10. Philadelphia Flyers
How does anyone finish a Top 10 list? It's so difficult. And so final. Here I've decided to go back to the first expansion again. Some logos are just so instantly identifiable, that you'd only need to see them for a fraction of a second. The Flyers logo is one of them. Like the Devils, I can't stand the team. It's ingrained in me. But when I look at their mark, I can't deny a fantastic design.
I'm sure a number of you will find fault with my ranking, but that's what the comments are for. How did I do? Any serious oversights? Any big blunders? I'd love to see your Top 10s.
Check back on Thursday for my Top 10 worst NHL logos. Tuesday and Wednesday will be dedicated to the minor leagues — AHL and ECHL.