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Great NHL sweaters inspire some minor league alternates

A handful of new jerseys in the AHL and ECHL have taken their cues from classic NHL threads. And that’s just fine.

On Monday night, the AHL’s Colorado Eagles excitedly announced their new third jersey—a direct lift from their in-state NHL affiliate, the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado Eagles 2019-20 third jersey

For a team with a lackluster color palette of their own, this is a great alternate look for them. That silver crest really shines.

And they’re not the only ones.

Back in the spring, the Tucson Roadrunners were the first AHL team to announce a new third jersey for the 2019-20 season. They unveiled a Kachina jersey last March, modeled on that of their in-state NHL affiliate, the Arizona Coyotes.

Tucson Roadrunners 2019-20 third jersey

The Roadrunners employed the same Southwest native art style we saw in 1996 with the original uniform of the Coyotes, who brought it back officially as a third jersey just last season.

What I like most about this one—in contrast to the Eagles—is that the Roadrunners really made it their own. The inspiration is clear, but it’s not a simple copy and paste job.

Tucson Roadrunners 2019-20 alternate logos

They used the same color palette, but in a different way. You can tell the jerseys are definitely part of the same family, but with a twist.

That said, there’s no doubt the Kachina jerseys find most of their fans among the younger, more progressive set. But that doesn’t meant the purists have been left out of the minor league fun.

Last month the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers announced a special throwback jersey that will debut this December.

Newfoundland Growlers 2019-20 third jersey

The Growlers are combining the hockey heritage of their home in St. John’s, Newfoundland with a tribute to their NHL affiliate, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 1991, the Leafs’ AHL affiliate moved from Newmarket, Ontario to St. John’s, making them the first pro hockey team in the history of the province. The team was named the St. John’s Maple Leafs and wore Toronto’s jerseys, including this design for their inaugural season.

In 2005, the team moved back to Ontario where they became the Toronto Marlies we know today. The Growlers arrived as an ECHL expansion franchise just last year and—by the way—proceeded to win the Kelly Cup championship in their inaugural season. On top of that came the news today that the Growlers are in it for the long haul—agreeing to a 10-year lease extension at the Mile One Centre that will keep them in St. John’s at least until 2030.

So the minor leagues are taking note of some great NHL uniforms for third jersey inspiration this year. Are there any I’ve missed? I do hope we see more of them—in moderation, of course.