In Finland, the IIHF has passed the group stage of its world championships, determining which of Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States is least embarrassed by the Stanley Cup playoffs and the apathy, or if any of the other top countries can catch up. It’s a fun and underrated time, and it would make sense to check in on the Blue Jackets to see how they’re doing.
Or we could talk about jerseys!
There are 16 teams in the event, so we’ll rank them, 16-1! Many of these teams use their Olympics jerseys in February, often with the logo swapped out, but there are several new ones, and I’ve never been able to rank the Olympics, so that should be fun!
#16 – Kazakhstan (1-0-0-6, 7th in Group A)
While the golden pattern is fun and charming, and it’s hard to put a double blue pattern on the bottom, someone has to finish last. The lack of stripes on the arms is devastating, with the houses being particularly barren. Also, the logo is too complex to decipher, and the blue reverse doesn’t really match the shirt or pants. The blue yoke and pinstripes on the exterior aren’t enough to bring it out of the basement.
#15 – United States of America (3-2-0-2, 4th in Group B, face SUI in the 1st round)
The next three countries all have a very similar design, but unfortunately Nick Blankenburg, Andrew Peeke and Team USA come in second. Both primary jerseys have a navy stripe across the chest, with a royal blue stripe across the top and a red stripe below, with the USA Hockey logo on it. The away kit looks good, but at home it completely blends into the mid blue background, making the uniform just a blue patch. The alternate jersey has slightly better contrast, but at the cost of a cheap wordmark replacing the large wordmark. And it’s still, for the most part, just a blue blob.
#14 – Switzerland (6-1-0-0, 1st in Group A, face the United States in the 1st round)
Team USA’s first-round opponents, Switzerland, follow them in the standings with a uniform that is basically the same except without a bad third jersey. The away set is nice, but not the home shirt. I’m a big fan of the double red color palette, I think it’s really underused in the sports world, but having two very similar shades with no other stripe to separate it is just a bad choice. The logo is also incredibly simple, which would be nice if jerseys had something else to do. At least the black gear helps break it.
#13 – Finland (6-0-1-0, 1st in Group B, face SVK in the 1st round)
The host nation comes next, again with a set very similar to the last two. A royal and navy blue diamond pattern serves as the chest band, which is literally the only thing separating them from Switzerland in the rankings. That and the chest band that goes all the way around, instead of just ending to leave a block for the numbers.
#12 – France (1-1-0-5, 6th in Group A)
Then come the French, with Alexandre Texier. Similar to the 2020 NHL All Star jerseys, France has a gray music staff running across the chest and arms, along with flag-based stripes on the socks and a subtle navy yoke on the houses. And that doesn’t do much to me. Similar to the Houses of Finland, Switzerland and America before them, the navy and black royalty just aren’t distinct enough to visually separate, while the musical staff motif gets lost from afar and looks too busy up close. . Fantastic logo, though.
#11 – Italy (0-0-1-6, 8th in Group A)
By far the most interesting design of the tournament, the Italians narrowly miss out on the Top 10. The home kit is stellar; a flag-inspired chest band perfectly framing the “Italia” wordmark and a simple enough blue background to make it stand out. And, something almost unheard of in international competition – shoulder patches! The road jersey, however, is more of a failure, mostly due to the weird stuff that Nike insists on using for some reason. If they were blue, I could pass behind. If it was a full or non-existent yoke, I would definitely do it. But having one green and one red, while mirroring the flag, isn’t the best decision when the half-inch stripes underneath change color halfway down the arm. Fix that and you potentially have a Top 5 set. As it stands, you’re just outside the Top 10.
#10 – Slovakia (4-0-0-3, 4th in Group A, face FIN in Round 1)
One of the weirdest things about Nike jerseys, to me, is their refusal to put any type of hem tape on their jerseys. Only two teams have one, and I’m pretty sure Canada has one because they just refuse to wear their horrible Olympic kit. And no team suffers more than Slovakia. The large white yoke with a thick red outline stands for nation, but there is nothing else. As a result, homes get incredibly heavy, while exteriors barely scrape enough to make it into the top 10.
#9 – Great Britain (0-0-1-6, 8th in Group B)
I’ll be honest…I have no idea why these jerseys are so low. They are awesome! Simple chest band, great color scheme, no stupid Nike frills. Clean, classic hockey. And… I can’t get behind them. Sure, the logo is a little complex and the jagged top stripe is a little weird, but it seems like that shouldn’t be a deciding factor? I do not know. Sorry, Brits.
#8 – Denmark (4-0-0-3, 5th in Group A)
Denmark, with their own red and white look, start in the top half of the standings. Similar to Slovakia, their main problem is that their shirts are just too heavy. With the massive size of the Nike yoke and the height of the chest band to be level with the arms, the jersey is just too empty between the stomach and the knees. Yes, the stripes look great and play well with the logo, but the layout is just too far off for me.
#7 – Germany (5-0-1-1, 2nd in Group A, face CZE in Round 1)
Again, Germany is in a similar boat to Denmark and Slovakia. This team needs hem tape. But beyond that, what separates them from Slovakia? It’s basically the same layout. To be honest, Germany just looks threatening. The black, yellow, and red color scheme is unique and intimidating, the scaling pattern on the yokes is impressive, and their logo is literally an eagle flexing down on its opponents. You can’t do better than that. Again, a few actual scratches would help, but it’s hard to make this team look bad.
#6 – Norway (1-1-0-5, 7th in Group B)
If you ask me, there are four obvious groups in these rankings. 16-12 is the really bad jerseys, 11-8 is decent, and now 7-4 is all pretty good! Norway was No. 7, but I had them in the “decent” block for most of this article. The chest band frames the “Norge” wordmark nicely, the shoulder pads actually work on the houses, and the detours reflect the flag nicely. My only criticism would be to flip the caps to red on the outside, but beyond that there’s not much to write home about.
And then I noticed the polar bear and officially fell in love with the set. It’s the kind of subtle design and personality that many of these teams lacked. I still think the away set could use more red, but the red jersey is honestly one of my favorite individual jerseys in the tournament. Enough to propel them to 6th place overall
#5 – Canada (5-0-0-2, 3rd in Group A, face SWE in the 1st round)
Another thing I don’t understand about hockey design on the international stage is Canada’s obsession with black. As trim color? Sure! Black material? Why not! But you shouldn’t have it as your main color in your stripes on your main set. It makes no sense to me. On the plus side, Nike gave all the black in the jerseys a carbon fiber effect, which looks cool, and I’m not sure it would look as good on white or red. And they have real hem tape. That alone is enough for a finish in the first half. But, like… put a little more white on it! Please.
#4 – Czechia (4-0-1-2, 3rd in group B, face GER in the 1st round)
The Czech Republic narrowly missed out on the podium with a truly unique set. Keeping the mostly red and white uniform, with blue trim, helmets and gloves, is a look that looks bad but ends up working really well on the ice. Not to mention that their logo is easily the best in the tournament. But what puts it over the top for me is the faux fur striped pattern on the socks and cuffs. It matches the logo perfectly and is really noticeable and nice without being too much in your face. Not to mention their only team in the tournament with stripes on their wrists, of sorts.
#3 – Latvia (2-1-0-4, 5th in Group B)
If you ask me, there are only three teams in this tournament with really nice shirts, and Latvia is one of them. While Elvis Merzlikins might have underperformed at Worlds, with a 0.862 sv% and a 4.26 GAA, his team looked great. Latvia rocked the ultra-rare dual brown color scheme, with a clean layout to bring it all together. Honestly, I have no complaints, it’s a great jersey!
#2 – Austria (1-1-2-3, 6th in Group B)
Austria basically took Latvia’s set, increased the saturation, and then made the best design choice in the tournament. This yoke treatment is awesome! It’s very unique for them, it’s only possible on the Nike model and it’s just amazing! I honestly believe that Nike’s model is incredibly restrictive in the possible designs you can create in it, but the whole of Austria proves that limitations can become brilliant features if in the hands of a talented enough designer . I’ve created about 2,000 jersey concepts over the course of almost six years (no, I don’t have a problem), and never did a yoke treatment like this cross my mind. A brilliant design, well worth the silver medal.
#1 – Sweden (5-1-1-0, 2nd in Group B, face CAN in the 1st round)
I mean, was there any doubt? Sweden’s look is iconic, and even Nike knows not to deal with it. Funky shoulder caps? I do not care. Silly, futuristic feathers on the arms? No thanks. Plastic collars, stars or rivets? It’s not necessary. It’s the best look in international hockey, and everyone knows it.
What do you think? How did you rank the World Championship jerseys? Let us know in the comments. And thanks to the IIHF for posting a ton of high quality images that are all a consistent 2000px wide, I couldn’t write this article without them.