Better sweaters

From blue to gold and back again a look at the history of the always-evolving Penguins jersey.

By Alex Iniguez | Illustrations by Ed Yozwick




The blue period

In a design choice lacking creativity, the Penguins' first uniforms, debuted Oct. 11, 1967, mimicked the New York Rangers' diagonal lettering. These uniforms, however unoriginal, have a clean look and utilize a white version at home and a light blue version on the road. The Penguins had a logo at the time, a Penguin adorned in a winter scarf, though it wasn't on the sweaters. The Penguins chose no to go with the black and gold look of the 1920s Pittsburgh hockey Pirates, though they would return to those colors in 1980.

In 1968, the logo, without the scarf, was unleashed on opposing teams as it made its way onto the sweater. The logo's triangle in the background is a symbol for Downtown's Golden Triangle. The stripes on the sweater also were tweaked, as you can see. In 1971, a slight adjustment was made, ditching the circle and freeing the penguin and the triangle to more sweater real estate. In 1973, the blue became a little darker.

The next season, 1974-75, the Penguins stuck with the darker blue, switched up the stripe styles and increased the size of the skating penguin logo.

The Penguins switched to a navy blue uniform in 1977 that held a similar design to the previous model, with some striping changes. This was the final sweater combination of the blue era.


The golden era

The Penguins, seeking more fan support, decided in 1980 to align their colors with the 1979 World Series champion Pirates and Super Bowl XIV champion Steelers, who drew black and gold from the Pittsburgh city flag. Not everyone was smitten with this uniform switch. The Boston Bruins claimed the Penguins were infringing on their use of the same colors, though the Penguins were let off the hook because of the Pittsburgh hockey Pirates setting a precedent of using black and gold as far back as the 1920s. The gold sweater was in the mix from 1981-1985.

The Penguins uniforms remained mostly the same, save for a few minor tweaks, until the introduction of what some call the "Robo-Penguin". The road sweater returned to the diagonal Pittsburgh in block letters, a nod to the 1960s, with the modern "Robo-Penguin" logo on the shoulder. A third jersey debuted Jan. 27, 1996, pairing the "Robo-Penguin" with gradient colors for a then-futuristic style. That jersey replaced the diagonal block Pittsburgh sweater as the Penguins' road jersey in 1997.


Las Vegas gold

In 1999, the Penguins combined past with future, introducing a third jersey featuring the skating penguin logo in black and metallic gold, dubbed "Las Vegas gold". The team used this third jersey until 2002, when it became one of the Penguins' primary jerseys, along with a white version. The Penguins stuck with the same colors and logo through a league-wide uniform style change in 2007, though the look remained much the same.

2008, 2011

Winter Classic

For the 2008 Winter Classic against Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Penguins donned their old blue skating Penguin uniforms. Those uniforms became their third set from 2008-11.

The same method prevailed following the Penguins' 2011 Winter Classic against the Capitals at Heinz Field. After wearing a uniform combining many throwback elements, the Penguins stuck with the jersey as their third look from 2011-13.


Pittsburgh gold

In 2014, the Penguins went back to "Pittsburgh gold", or yellow, for their third uniforms. In 2016, the team wore the retro-style jerseys for playoff home games, wearing the white and "Las Vegas gold" uniforms on the road. This season, the Penguins' will retire the "Las Vegas gold" completely, in favor of a white and yellow road uniform.

Web Design Zack Tanner



Stanley Cup Champions

The Cup comes to Pittsburgh

Winning one more for Badger Bob

Stanley Cup returns to Pittsburgh

Older and wiser and champs again

The beginnings

Birth of a franchise

Remembering the Igloo

The original black and gold

The Players

Mirror image

Top ten Penguins

Wearing the 'C'

More Penguins

Top ten Penguins' games


Trusting the market

Better sweaters