Canadiens unveil logo for 2020 NHL Draft in Montreal

The new mark shows a departure in the logo system the NHL has used for the draft over the past decade.

Earlier this afternoon the Montreal Canadiens unveiled the logo for the 2020 NHL Draft. The new design is a departure from the logo system the league has employed going back to 2010.

Montreal was named host of the draft last June. It will take place at the Bell Centre on June 26 and 27. The city is hosting for the 27th time in the 58 years of the draft.

As a quick side note to make us all feel old, for the first time ever, no North American player born in the 20th century will be eligible to be drafted. You’re welcome.

Back to the logo.

As usual, the logo takes on the colors of the host team. But what’s unusual this year is that the league has strayed from the type design it has employed since the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles. Prior to that time, every logo had its own distinct design inspired by the host. Since 2010, every logo has had common elements, including the type design of the word DRAFT.

Here’s a look at the last 15 years worth of draft logos to see how they’ve evolved.

The designs from 2010 to 2014 all look like they could’ve been created at the same time by the same artist. But over the last five years or so, you can see the designers slowly drifting away from that original structure. It’s interesting to follow for design nerds.

There’s still a simple container crossed by a banner with stars at one end. That much has remained. But all font rules have been tossed aside. Copperplate has replaced DIN as the typeface of choice for the year and city name. And the word DRAFT has a new custom design. The previous version always seemed to me like an extension of the letters in the NHL shield.

So is this a sign the league is rethinking its draft logo system for a new decade as it did in 2010? Or am I just overthinking draft logo?

One other typography note is the accent over the “e” in Montreal. It’s present in the French version but not the English one.

2020 NHL Draft logo (French)

Of course this is the version that will be seen the most around the French-speaking city.

Lastly, here’s a look at the simplified secondary version.

2020 NHL Draft logo (secondary)

The torch seen in each version is explained in the team’s press release:

[The torch] pays homage to the team motto: “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high,” a verse that has adorned the Canadiens dressing room since 1952-53 and comes from "In Flanders Fields," a World War I poem written by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae after the death of a friend in combat. The torch also celebrates the history of the Canadiens, the Drafts the city of Montreal has hosted, and the bright futures of the prospects who will be selected at Bell Centre in June.

The “bright futures” thing was a nice touch.

One thing I was puzzled by in this logo was the shading of the stars. But the more I stare at it and think about the torch symbolism, the more it makes sense. The dark side of the stars are on the far end away from the torch. The stars are being lit by the torch. I think.

Anyway, there it is—the 2020 NHL Draft logo. Whatever you may think of it, it’s miles beyond what Montreal had the last time it hosted in 2009.