It is a rather interesting question why in 1974, the National Hockey League decided to establish a team in Kansas City. Unfortunately, nobody will ever answer this question since the NHL’s motives are not easy to understand. Despite its name, Kansas City is situated in Missouri on the Missouri River’s right bank. Nevertheless, the city’s western suburbs are located in Kansas, whose third-largest city is the same name – Kansas City (Kansas). In Kansas, hockey was almost unheard of, while in Missouri, all “love for the puck” was shifted to the east towards St. Louis, the hometown for St. Louis Blues ice hockey team. However, in 1974 the NHL was tempted by an up-to-date Kemper Arena built to play host to the city’s professional basketball and hockey teams. Thus, in 1974 it placed an expansion team in Kansas City called the Kansas City Scouts.
Initially, the new team had to bear the name of the Kansas City Mohawks. It meant Mohawks, a Native Indian tribe that served James Fenimore Cooper as the prototype for his fictional “Mohicans.” But the Mohawk people are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy and reside mainly in New York. However, the name was selected with a certain intent. Its first two letters (MO) are the official abbreviation of Missouri’s state, and the stem (Hawks) reminds Jayhawkers. These Kansas partisans serve in the Union army during the Civil War. Thus, the name of the Indian tribe was to symbolize the connection between the two states. Unfortunately, this idea was abandoned due to the Chicago Black Hawks ice hockey team (at that time, its name was written separately), which did not want either accordance with its name or the usurpation of Indian themes by anyone. The long discussion ended with a compromise: the Kansas City team was forced to abandon the Mohawks, but it was allowed to choose another “Indian” name. The owners then held a contest to name the new team. This time, Scouts’ choice was made to honor the Sioux Indian Scout, whose monument is placed in Penn Valley Park. The Indians who served the federal government were irreplaceable intelligence officers and trackers in the 19th century U.S. Army. The iconic statue of an Indian on horseback was featured on the team’s logo.
The Scouts’ colors were blue, red, and yellow, but this remained a secret for most city residents, as almost no one visited the team’s host games.
An economic downturn in the Midwest had a great negative effect on the Kansas City Scouts. After just two seasons, the team was buried in $1 million debt. The club could not stay in Kansas City any longer. Since the Kansas City Scouts did not want to repeat the Chingachgook’s native tribe’s fate, it was moved to Denver. In 1976, the NHL was planning another expansion – in Seattle and Denver, but after assessing the economic situation, the League CEOs did not hurry to expand. Nevertheless, in 1976, the Scouts burned on the Great Plain, moved to the Colorado mountains.
In Denver, the team got a new name – Colorado Rockies. The club was named after the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies did not even have to change the color scheme, as blue, yellow, and red are the Colorado official flag colors. Moreover, the Colorado state flag drawn into the shape of a mountain became the Colorado Rockies club’s new logo.
In Denver, the team’s situation did not improve significantly. Their six seasons here are remarkable for two things. First, the Rockies were the last NHL club, which had two sets of pants. Second, the flamboyant Don Cherry was appointed to the head coach position. Fans liked the team, and they visited host games (even though Don’s style made the Stanley Cup playoffs only in the 1977-1978 season). But it didn’t save the Rockies from selling out and moving to New Jersey. Indeed, Denver was a provincial town in those years, and the club’s financial situation was awful. The solution was obvious.
In 1982, the Colorado Rockies was sold to John J. McMullen, who announced the team’s relocation to New Jersey. By that time, a new sports complex had been constructed in East Rutherford, the borough not far from New York. The club rushed there, once again changing its jersey and name. Now the team was called Devils.
The team received its name not in honor of Satan but after the Jersey Devil’s legend, an unknown creature that allegedly inhabits the forests of the southern part of the state. The club owners held the name-the-team contest. Several names, including Coastals, Meadowlarks, Blades, Jaguars, etc., were on the final ballot, but in the end, the choice fell to Devils.
The legend of the Jersey Devil is over 250 years old. In 1735 Mrs. Leeds, the wife of a farmer from Southern New Jersey, found out that she was pregnant for the thirteenth time. She was angry with that as she had already had twelve children. In frustration, Mrs. Leeds cursed her husband and the unborn child, crying that the child would be the Devil.
The poor woman’s wish was fulfilled: she gave birth to a nasty beast that immediately devoured the whole family and jumped into the forest. The legend about the Devil is a part of local folklore. Over the years, the southern part of the state was shaken by fantastic rumors about hellish offspring hanging out in the neighborhood. Panic-stricken settlers stayed at home in the evenings; children didn’t go to school. Thousands of people allegedly saw this creature, but nobody managed to catch him. The Philadelphia Zoo offered a million-dollar reward for the capture of the monster. A few days later, somebody brought a weird creature, which turned out to be a kangaroo with glued wings.
Fascinated by this legend, the former Scouts and Rockies named themselves the New Jersey Devils. The team plays in North Jersey (near New York), and the Devil lived in Southern (near Philadelphia) and did not bother hockey players. Anyway, the club represents the entire state.
The team’s logo letters “N” and “J” (standing for the name of the state), rendered with devil horns at the top of the “J” and a pointed tail at the bottom.
The team colors were red and green. Wearing red and green jerseys, the Devils started the 1983-1984 season. The team did not achieve much success.
The New Jersey Devils has a very curious yet humiliating and abusive moniker – Mickey Mouse. Although it is not common, fans, taken aback by their favorites’ defeat, can call them Mickey Mouse. The given moniker originated in 1983. After a 13–4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, in a post-game interview, the Oilers’ legendary forward Wayne Gretzky criticized the Devils and said they were “putting a Mickey Mouse operation on the ice.”
The New Jersey Devils became one of the most successful NHL teams under Lou Lamoriello’s management, who ascended to his current post in the late 1980s. The team made the way to the final in the 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs but lost the Boston Bruins.
The New Jersey Devils’ mascot is N.J. Devil.
Meaning and History
This club’s sporting career is very diverse: it started with the name of Kansas City Scouts, passed the Colorado Rockies stage, and eventually became New Jersey Devils. A rebranding accompanied each stage with a change in the logo design. The first two versions are related to the previous names; therefore, they represent the scouts from Penn Valley Park and the Rockies. The prototype of the modern version appeared much later – before moving from Colorado to New Jersey.
1974 – 1976
Kansas City became the home city for the professional hockey team called Kansas City Scouts. Their first logo represented a graphic image of the Scout monument. It is a Sioux Indian sitting on a horse. The logo contained yellow with blue trim letters “K.C.” with a red circle around the statue.
1976 – 1982
Moving from Kansas to Colorado led to changes in the name of the Colorado Rockies and a change in logo. It represented the Colorado state flag drawn into the shape of a mountain. Also, there was a red semicircle in the middle, resembling the letter “C” and a yellow dot, resembling a puck inside the letter.
1982 – 1986
As mentioned above, in 1982, the club was bought by the new owner, whose wife drew a new logo. Since the new name of the team was Devils, the logo had to be appropriate. It combines the letter “N” with the devil tail at the bottom and the letter “J” with devil horns at the top. The monogram was red with a green outline.
1986 – 1992
Subsequent logo alterations were minor. Each time the graphics and color quality improved, the drawing remained the same from 1983 to 1986.
1992 – 1999
There were no other modifications, except the outline color was changed to black, so logo elements looked more expressive. The team used this logo for six years.
1999 – present
His wife John McMullen proposed the new Emblem’s idea and sketch and then finalized it by a professional graphic design and advertising studio. The current version features a monogram containing two symbols from the word “New Jersey.” They represent the rest of the club’s name – “Devils,” as they are shaped like a devil with horns and a tail. The horns are formed by the upper serif of the letter “J,” and the pointed tail is formed by the elongated right leg “N.” An expressive red figure is positioned against a white background inside an open black ring.
Font and Color of the Emblem
The New Jersey Devils hockey team has six logo variations. The first two stand alone and are unrelated to the rest. They reflect the then titles of the franchise. The debut depicts the Scout statue in Penn Valley Park; the second depicts the Colorado Rockies’ peaks. Then came the era of the red “imp” created from the interweaving of capital letters: the right leg “N” is connected to the “J.” Both letters are stylized as the body, horns, and tail of the “devil.”
Now the text part in the logo is missing. In the early versions, single characters were used, made with a chopped typeface from the Sans Serif category.
The franchise’s official palette almost always remained the same and contained white, red, black, which in 1993 successfully replaced green. The first versions of the logo also featured blue.