The St. Louis Blues thought they were just being with the times 26 years ago. Who would’ve guessed we’d still be talking about the result decades later.
In the realm of U.S. history, December 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy, as Franklin Roosevelt put it. For some St. Louis Blues fans, June 23, 1994 might have a similar negative connotation attached to it, even if much less important.
For those unaware, that was the date the Blues unveiled the controversial musical staff jerseys, which became known as the clown jerseys later on. Your age when they came out, and just personal preference overall, dictate how you felt then and now.
At the time, I was not against them. It was an interesting change, coupled with a new logo on the shoulder.
St. Louis had not really had a shoulder logo prior to that, so it sparked some interest. It did not hurt that the Blues were moving into a newly renovated Keil Center either.
All that newness just went together.
Many fans had a big problem with the amount of red on the blue jersey. Looking back, I think the red might not have been so obnoxious to the haters if it was a straight bar, but the fact that it got bigger one side to the other just added more fuel to their fire.
The numbers were interesting too. It was something quite different to see angled numbers of different sizes.
However, the novelty wore off, even as an early defender of that style, right around 1996. There was just something off-putting about how the 99 looked when the Blues acquired Wayne Gretzky.
More from History
- The 3 Best Enforcers in Blues History
- Championship for the Blues 4 Years Ago. How Different Were Things Then?
- Wayne Gretzky Confirms What St. Louis Blues Fans Knew
- Snowstorm Game of 1973: A 3-1 Blues Victory over The Kings
- Flashback Friday: Blues Stage Biggest 3rd Period Comeback in NHL History vs Leafs
On top of that, it was one of those things that just got old quicker than some styles. It would stick around until 2000, when the Blues unveiled a third jersey that would become their main style to this day (with a few minor alterations here or there), except for those odd Reebok jerseys with the piping.
Once the “clown” jerseys went away, there was an odd push to talk about how hideous they were. It became one of those things that you just gradually agreed with, even if subconsciously.
I never had any issue with them when they were being worn. After that fact, you randomly thought “hmm, yeah, those were not that great.”
However, I am not the only fan that really liked the style being used as a throwback during the 2019-20 season. Don’t ask me what Adidas did, but something about their style of that same look really popped.
Maybe the blue was brighter. Maybe the red popped more in a good way. Who knows, but lots of fans came out in strong support of it.
Of course, there were plenty of fans that thought the style should have been banished to the fiery pits of hell. So, even 26 years later, the style continues to be controversial.
What was always interesting about it was the strong divide they caused. There were not too many fans in the middle.
If you hated them, you really hated them. If you loved them, you continued to wear them even after the Blues shifted styles a handful of times.
Part of the charm of the Adidas version is simply the nostalgia. Seeing those jerseys on the ice brings back fond memories of the teams with Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Brendan Shanahan, Grant Fuhr, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger. You could almost hear the “Oh Baby!” coming out of the fabric.
St. Louis will likely retire that style for a few years. Maybe they’ll break it back out when the jersey turns 30.
Regardless, it’s a fun topic of debate. It is probably one of the few things Blues fans can debate in a joking way that doesn’t cause lines in the sand to be drawn.
Who knew that a sweater would cause so much controversy, even if just a jovial one?