How the CFL-themed hockey jerseys came to be

I started calling myself the “self-proclaimed CFL Uniform Monitor” about a year and a half ago. See, I love jerseys and team uniforms, and I’d started tweeting about them fairly often. It felt a little over-the-top to give myself a moniker, but I really do talk about the uniforms of the CFL a lot. Hell, I even logged the helmet, jersey, and pant colour every team wore for every game of the 2016 CFL regular season. My uniform obsession is so bad I don’t only look at uniforms from the past; I also love concept uniforms, which can be anything from a simple redesign of a team’s uniform all the way to a cross-sport jersey compilation like the one I created.

My project was a lot of fun to put together. I should clarify that I created these jerseys in photoshop – they are not being made or sold. Manufacturing them would require a lot of licensing and having both the CFL and Adidas on board, which I’m sure would never happen. I’ve also had people wonder why I chose to do CFL themed hockey jerseys. The answer is simple- I’d never seen it done and I thought it might be cool, so I did it myself.

Let’s take a quick look at the jerseys I designed – we’ll start with the generic CFL jerseys and then move to the west coast:

CFL – I made these to use as a cover photo for the rest of the project. They’re really simple, and they turned out better than I thought they would. I kept them colour neutral on purpose. Yes, they do have a bit of an “LA Kings” look to them, but what black, silver and white hockey jersey wouldn’t?

B.C. Lions – I like the Lions current home and away uniforms, but I prefer the look of their away kit. Don’t get me wrong, the black and orange home uniform looks cool (black uniforms are extremely popular right now across all sports), but I prefer the look of the Leo’s white and orange away uniform. As you can tell, I took my inspiration from their away kit. I dropped the black in favor of more orange on the home jersey and kept the white and orange for the away jersey. I also emulated the helmet striping the Lions have on the sleeves of the hockey jersey. The paw logo works perfectly as a secondary mark on the shoulders.

Edmonton Eskimos – I really like the uniforms the Eskimos unveiled last year- they are a simplified version of the look the Esks have had for a while now. Similarly, I wanted to keep the hockey jersey clean and simple. I stretched out the Esks sleeve stripes to fill most of the hockey jersey sleeve and mimicked the striping on the bottom on the jersey.

Calgary Stampeders – I feel like this might be an unpopular opinion, but I think the Stamps should abandon black from their colour scheme. I know fans in Cowtown love the black “outlaw” third jersey the Stamps have had for the last few years, but with the addition of the Redblacks to the league in 2014, it just feels right to leave red and black to Ottawa. I mean, it’s literally their name. For my hockey jerseys, I took the Stamps back to the ‘70’s by incorporating grey into their usual red and white palate. This gives the Stamps a look that is their own, instead of sharing red and black.

Saskatchewan Roughriders – The Riders tweaked their logo and eliminated the grey background before unveiling their new uniforms in 2016. This was done to make a switch to an entirely green and white colour scheme, which I think was a good idea and one that I maintained when designing the hockey sweaters. I styled the striping after the retro jerseys the Riders wear every Labour Day (as an aside, those are the nicest uniforms the Riders have ever had- why they don’t wear them full time is beyond comprehension). I had a pretty good number of Rider fans complaining that I put the current logo on a jersey that is modelled after their retro look. Honestly, I prefer their current logo to any they’ve used in the past.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers – The Bombers current uniform are, in my opinion, the best in the league and the best the team has ever worn. I mimicked the sleeve striping for my hockey jerseys and tried to keep it pretty simple. I thought the jerseys looked better with two sets of sleeve stripes, and as a bonus it also gave them a bit of a “Winnipeg Jets” look, which many Winnipegger’s have mentioned they like.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats – I was really happy with how these hockey sweaters turned out. I took the Ticats back to the glory days of Angelo Mosca with some very elaborate and overstated sleeve striping. I also eliminated the body of the leaping tiger on the logo, and honestly I think the logo looks much more aggressive without it.

Toronto Argonauts – The boat logo! This was one of the most mentioned things about the entire series. Virtually everyone loves the boat logo. To be fair, I think the Argos circular shield logo is also a great logo, but the boat logo is iconic. There’s nothing like it anywhere else, and it makes for a great chest logo on a hockey jersey.

Ottawa Redblacks – While I’m still not a huge fan of the team’s name, the Redblacks do have a gorgeous logo. The stylized “R” on a round saw blade is fantastic- it works well on a football helmet but even better on the front of a hockey sweater. I got the inspiration for the sleeve stripes from the old Rough Rider jerseys back in the Russ Jackson era.

Montreal Alouettes – From a uniform standpoint I find the Als extremely frustrating. They have barely changed their uniform since returning to the CFL in 1996, and they didn’t even pick a good uniform to start with. For the hockey jerseys I abandoned the current Alouettes look and went with a retro approach. The logo I used took a while to grow on me, but I love how it stands out on the home jersey. If you aren’t aware, the logo is both a head-on image of an Alouette flying and also the letters “A” and “M” for the team name and city.

Atlantic Schooners – Wait, what?! There were no Schooners jerseys in this project!

That’s right – just for 3DownNation I mocked up a set of hockey jerseys for the Atlantic Schooners to add to the collection (I also got asked to make a Schooners version by a ton of fans on Twitter).

The CFL granted a conditional franchise to the Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. in 1982, which was set to become the Schooners, but the conditions of the deal weren’t met (mostly due to the team not having a stadium and no funding being in place to build one). The team got as far as creating a logo and picking their team colours – Maritime blue, Nautical brass, grey and white. Given how similar those colours are to the Bombers, I chose to use Nautical brass as the main body colour of the home jersey. I also don’t mind the team’s logo, although I think it looks a little dated (which is reasonable considering it’s 33 years old).

So there you have it. A brief glimpse into what I was thinking when I decided to create these jerseys. I thought I’d get a handful of responses and have some fun interaction on twitter, but I never envisioned it taking off the way it did. Both the CFL and BarDown covered it on their websites and social media, and I interacted with a number of CFL players about it too. I lost track of the number of tweets people sent me asking if these were real or if they were for sale, or just saying they liked them or thought they were cool. My original tweets have been viewed well over 20,000 times, and between the Twitter followers of both the CFL and BarDown it’s likely the number of people that have seen this project (at least briefly) is well over 250,000. That’s pretty crazy. And I didn’t even mention the fact that I’m now writing about it on 3DownNation. If you’re reading this, or if you shared any of my posts I just want to say thanks for sharing them. It’s been a real pleasure interacting with so many people about this.

I mentioned at the beginning of the article that I started calling myself the “self-proclaimed CFL Uniform Monitor” about 18 months ago. As my brother John (@BlueBomberTalk) pointed out on twitter when this really started gaining steam: “Does (this) make his self-given moniker official?” Whether it does or not, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing (but to be honest, I already changed my twitter bio to read “the official CFL Uniform Monitor”). If you are vaguely interested in anything uniform related, feel free to follow me @CFLUniMonitor and come along for the ride. If you enjoyed reading this article about jerseys and uniforms, let me know. I have a lot of thoughts about the uniforms of the CFL and maybe this can become something semi-regular on 3DownNation.

• Tim Hodge thinks about uniforms way too much. He’s the co-host of The BlueBomberTalk Podcast, a lifelong CFL fan, and father of twins affectionately referred to as “the Growds.”

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