It’s a popular sentiment from both fans of the team and fans of others around the NHL. An aura of nostalgia surrounding the eggplant and jade and the Disney-fied cartoon logo of Wild Wing with crossed hockey sticks has existed since the moment new owners Henry and Susan Samueli changed the team’s branding to the current web-footed “D” logo with black, orange, white, and gold color scheme for the 2006-2007 season.
The desire to return to the original branding took on a new energy in 2015, when the Ducks unveiled a new alternate jersey emblazoned with the classic Mighty Ducks logo, though this time splashed in bright orange. Despite the occasional criticism of the color scheme, the sweaters sold faster than the Finnish Flash himself as a healthy smattering of orange quickly mixed in with the current primary threads.
Now, with the switch to Adidas as the official NHL jersey designers and with news that the Ducks will be getting a primary sweater redesign for next season, several fans have again called out for the team to revert to its classic design.
Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.
We know two things for sure:
- General Manager Bob Murray essentially confirmed that the Ducks will be getting an orange-drenched jersey redesign for the 2018-2019 season, noting that “Henry loves orange”.
- The Ducks spent a significant sum of money on the re-branding as well as the marketing of it over the years. Check out this fantastic aritcle on how the overhaul came about as well as a look at some of the suggested logo alternatives to the web-footed “D” marque.
The early style from the new branding had the team’s entire name printed on the front of the jerseys, something that has not been common in the NHL.
It was clear, however, that this was only meant as a placeholder for the time when the Ducks would switch over to the webbed-foot “D” for good when the current jerseys became the alternates in 2010 and eventually the primary in 2014.
The Samuelis wanted to go for a sophisticated icon, one that could be ingrained in the minds of hockey fans everywhere without looking too “cartoony”. Hence the change from the words to the singular logo.
I have no issue saying that, in my opinion, I actually prefer the current jerseys to the old Mighty Ducks ones, and I know I am far from alone on that.
I am also aware that there are a large number of fans out there who believe that the old-school Mighty Ducks sweaters were some of the greatest ever produced for an NHL team. And they would not be wrong. It is a matter of taste and taste is almost entirely a subjective matter.
However, nostalgia is a powerful thing; one that has the tendency to cloud judgement on many things in life. I am willing to bet that everyone has several movies or TV shows that they loved as a kid, only to go back and watch it later to realize that nostalgia forced a pair of rose-colored glasses on their brain.
It is important to push past that nostalgia and remember that one of the most significant criticisms of the Mighty Ducks franchise was that they were not a serious hockey team. Many long-time hockey fans ridiculed the team for years and claimed that they were not serious about the game, or that they were simply a large conglomerate’s marketing ploy, or that they were a “Mickey Mouse organization” (I mean, they technically were right on that front). These fans pointed to the Wild Wing branding as one of the main reasons for this line of thinking. This was one of the primary factors in the decision to overhaul the brand.
The Samuelis clearly have a great deal of respect for the Mighty Ducks history, evident in the 20th Anniversary throwback night in 2013 as well as the utilization of the Wild Wing logo in the most recent alternates.
That is all it will be though. A nod to the roots of the team. The Samuelis have proven time and time again that they are not ones to spend time dwelling in the past. That they are committed to pushing the team forward even while losing a lot of money on the team each year.
It has been barely 10 years since the re-branding, a speck in time compared to the lifespans and brand history of many other NHL teams. Like it or not, the current designs have taken hold, and while updates and small changes will undoubtedly come, the same idea of the web-footed “D” with the orange, black, and white coloring in some form will be the identity of this franchise moving forward.