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Retro Night: A 'Jersey' retrospective

by Gordy Stillman / New Jersey Devils
An annual tradition since 2010, the New Jersey Devils will wear the same red and green design that the team wore in its first 10 years in New Jersey. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer

Newark, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils will dip into their 32-year history on March 17 when they pull out the red and green sweaters during their annual Retro Night at Prudential Center. For some, like Devils alum Glenn “Chico” Resch, it evokes a different era in Devils lore.

When Resch first saw the team bring back the old jerseys in 2010, he said it reminded him of the early days of the franchise and people he played with. Seeing Andy Greene wear the red and green No. 6 reminds Resch of Joel Quenneville back in the ‘80s and Peter Harrold’s retro No. 10 conjures images of Aaron Broten.

Resch has been a fan of many jerseys the franchise has worn, both in New Jersey and in his early days with the Colorado Rockies—the team that became the Devils.

“The logo was impressive, I liked the mountain and the C,” Resch said. The Rockies’ jersey featured an outline of the Rocky Mountains with the “C” from Colorado’s state flag in the center.

Before moving to the Meadowlands, the team played out of Denver as the Colorado Rockies, predating the MLB team of the same name. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer

Looking back even further in the franchise’s history, to the days of the Kansas City Scouts, the organization has made only a number of changes over time. Even when necessitated by changing the name, such as when the Scouts moved to Colorado in 1976, the changes haven’t always been over the top. The owners played around with the design a little, but the primary change was switching out the Scout logo for the Rockies’ logo. Beyond that the jerseys were very similar, featuring blue, with red and gold as the accent colors. Before the mountain and “C” that Resch remembers from the Colorado days, the Kansas City days featured a crest with “The Scout,” a famous Kansas City Statue, front and center.

The most dramatic alteration was when the Rockies moved to New Jersey in 1982 and the “NJ” logo was born. Red had always been part of the scheme but, with the move to the Meadowlands, it became the dominant part of the palette, while blue and gold were traded for green and white.

“When we became the Devils, beyond green on the jersey, we had green pants and red helmets. It would really stick out,” Resch recalls. A big fan of the colors, Resch joked that when the team switched to black, he would have switched to a darker, more forest-like, green, but acknowledged that “Black goes with everything.”

Since the switch to black in 1992, the team has maintained a consistent look, with the exception of changes mandated across the league. But for people like Resch, it’s nice to see the team’s history every once in a while.

“I like that there’s history and meaning behind the Devils’ third jersey, it’s not just a marketing move,” Resch joked. Resch explained that he’s always been a fan of third jerseys when they connect with a franchise’s history.

Part of Resch’s affinity for the Devils’ red—other than that red is one of his favorite colors— is that it reminds him of another iconic jersey that’s among his favorites. The Chicago Blackhawks home jersey.

The first jersey the franchise ever wore. The Kansas City Scouts played for two seasons between 1975-77 before moving to Denver. Photo by Courtney Gfroerer

“I grew up loving Glenn Hall and the Blackhawks,” Resch explained. Between the red jersey and the finer details, like the feathers on the logo or the shoulder crest, Resch said he was mesmerized by the details on the jersey. “It’s that red. You can’t take your eyes off it.”

Resch noted another commonality among the two red-wearing teams; continuity. The Devils have worn effectively the same design, only adjusting for material changes such as when the NHL went to Reebok Edge system in 2007, for more than half of the team’s history. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have worn their classic red—with a few tweaks along the way— for nearly 60 years. “If you look at the classic teams, like Toronto or Montreal, the jerseys never change,” Resch said.

The Maple Leafs have used blue and white, featuring a leaf crest since the 1920’s. The Canadiens, meanwhile, have featured red white and blue throughout their nearly 100 years with the NHL. The Canadiens have even used their “CH” logo since before the founding of the NHL.

While the New Jersey’s past isn’t quite as extensive as the teams from the Original Six, the Devils’ proud history will be on display Tuesday night when the team dons the same colors that Chico Resch and the original Devils wore when the franchise first came to the Garden State. Tickets to Retro Night are still available. Save 30% on tickets by clicking here to purchase a Guys & Girls Night Out package.

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