The NHL is planning some big things for the 50th anniversary of the league expanding beyond the Original 6 teams. The Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St Louis Blues all entered the league in 1967, and each of the four will be getting new jerseys to commemorate the anniversary. Along with anniversary patches and an outdoor game between the Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field, the Pens will have new home and away jerseys for the upcoming season, but the design of those jerseys has been held close to the chest. They were a well kept secret, that is, until the NHL email dump earlier in the week.
When The Globe and Mail published a searchable database of NHL emails, much of the attention was understandably paid to the internal concussion debate, the issue of player safety and supplemental discipline, and naturally how Colin Campbell comes off like a complete lunatic. But overlooked in the sheer size of the available information is an interesting nugget: the logo for the Pens' 50th anniversary jerseys won't be the familiar skating Penguin logo currently used, but rather it'll be the "fat penguin" logo the team had during its initial season.
The league ultimately relented, and the two worked closely alongside an outside firm to develop the jersey design ultimately chosen for next season's jerseys. Pittsburgh initially pushed to use the current alternate jersey and the white version for next season, but the league was adamant that some ties to the team's first season be incorporated into the design. In the end, a compromise was reached. The Penguins agreed to delay making the early 90s jerseys the permanent home and aways until the 2017-18 season in order to wear a one year anniversary jersey. The jersey would be similar to the current alternate jersey, with Pittsburgh gold sleeves on both the black and white version, but the striping on the jerseys was changed to reflect that used in the team's original design, and an updated "fat penguin" logo replacing the blue elements with black was brought back to serve as the crest on the team's jerseys instead of the diagonal Pittsburgh.
The NHL is pulling out all the stops to make the 50th anniversary for its second wave of franchise a year to remember, and hopefully one that helps generate buzz and excitement around the franchises as well. In addition to the anniversary patches, new jerseys, and outdoor match, opening night festivities will include each team hosting the first Original 6 team they hosted in 1967-68: the Penguins vs the Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blues against the Boston Bruins, and the Kings vs the New York Rangers. The email dump also contained one further bit of interesting tidbit of information: April Fools.