The National Hockey League is on par with the NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball. These are the four largest sports organizations in North America that allow teams to compete among themselves for the title. The NHL is incredibly popular in Canada because it first appeared there and then moved to the United States. The league now includes franchises from both countries. They are fighting for the oldest trophy in existence, the so-called Stanley Cup.
Meaning and History
What is NHL?
It is the professional hockey organization of the United States, the fifth largest in the world in terms of income. It unites 32 teams: 25 American and 7 Canadian, between which the Stanley Cup is played at the end of each season. The prize goes to the champion of the playoff league. The NHL was formed in late 1917 and took the place of the NHA.
The history of the NHL logo dates back to 1917 when four Canadian teams teamed up to form a new league to replace the National Hockey Association. The NHA has been suspended due to a disagreement with the owner of Toronto Blueshirts. The National Hockey League ranked the NHA on par with other professional sports organizations. Over time, the rest of the teams became part of it, so in 1926 no one but the NHL fought for the Stanley Cup. By that time, the league already included teams from the United States, although most of the players were Canadians. This ratio has persisted for many years, but the number of Europeans and Americans has begun to increase in recent seasons.
Since the 1960s, the NHL has been actively expanding because it was afraid of possible competition from the Western Hockey League. Later, it absorbed the West Hockey Association, entering into a merger agreement. The NHL now has over 20 franchises in the US and only 7 in Canada. In the season 2021-2022. another team (from Seattle) was expected to debut, which was to join the league by a decision taken at the end of 2018.
The rapid change in the composition of the sports organization and the emergence of new franchises had almost no effect on its identity. Even if the logos changed, they always remained recognizable and looked the same. The same form unites them – the Baroque coat of arms (16-18 centuries), called the “stretched skin.” This heraldic element has a curly top and a slightly elongated teardrop-shaped bottom.
1917 – 1946
In the early years of its existence, the league used an emblem with a smoother shield. Its protrusions were not as noticeable as they are now. Inside was a yellow “NHL” sign running from top to bottom diagonally. The designers emphasized it on both sides with wide parallel lines of the same color. They merged with the yellow stripe that was drawn along the border of the shield. Then a thin black outline followed. It was surrounded by a white frame with another dark line along the outer edge.
The letters were written in bold, sans-serif capital type. The creators of the logo had to tilt strongly to the left to balance their uneven positioning inside the shield. At the same time, the background behind the text was black, making the league’s name immediately evident.
1946 – 2005
In 1946, the developers simplified the frame, leaving only two wide stripes: orange (inside) and black (outside). The word “NHL” and the diagonal lines that frame the lettering have turned orange. After the redesign, the shape of the shield changed: it acquired sharp-angled protrusions and was compressed at the edges, so the elements in it moved slightly up to the left corner.
2005 – present
The designers kept the shape of the shield because it looked elegant anyway. But they made it more difficult to frame it by increasing the number of stripes to four. Black remained the primary color, while orange was replaced by silver. Moreover, the frame is framed with a gradient that looks like a metallic sheen in this version.
The position of the word “NHL” has changed: it was written from the bottom up. The two parallel lines also got a new direction. The letters are slanted to the right and decorated with short triangular serifs.
The logo used in Canada looks the same but has a different abbreviation: “LNH.” As for the symbol, which was created in honor of the 100th anniversary of the league, in addition to the shield, it contained a stylized number “100”, entwined with a ribbon with the inscription “1917 2017”.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The National Hockey League, like many professional sports organizations, uses the shield emblem. This is a tribute to heraldic traditions that originate from national symbols. The shape of the crest has never changed, apart from minor adjustments. This consistency has made the NHL logo famous: it can be easily recognized even by its outline.
The league’s sign is distinguished by non-standard typography because the designers opted for an individual font, adapting it to the shape of the shield. All three letters are bold, capitalized, and have one short serif in the upper left corner.
The main colors of the emblem are black and silver. But the palette is not limited to them because the gradient contains many shades, including white, dark gray, and light gray.