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Tampa Bay Lightning Jersey History

By Chris Smith - Icethetics.co - Getty Images

Hockey is about speed and power - and nothing better symbolizes our game than a shocking bolt of lightning from a fearsome storm. So it's fitting that we've proudly worn that symbol on our chest from the very beginning.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have always had one of the more unique uniforms in the NHL. From our inception in 1992 as the first team to wear black and blue to the timeless redesign in 2011 led by Jeff Vinik and Steve Yzerman, the Bolts have always been in style.

As the puck drops on our 25th season, the NHL switches from Reebok to Adidas uniforms and we debut a new road jersey. Here's a look back at how we got here.

The Storm Gathers

1990 - 1992

September 12, 1990: Phil Esposito announces team name, Tampa Bay Lightning, the first in NHL history that doesn't end in "s" - setting an early standard for standing out.

December 6, 1990: NHL officially awards franchise to Tampa.

March 25, 1991: Lightning unveil logos and colors, black and blue - commonly seen on the faces of old school enforcers, but never before on an NHL sweater.

June 4, 1991: Lightning unveil uniforms, complete with lightning bolts on the pants - one of the first teams to use more than basic stripe.

June 18, 1992: Wendell Young is selected in the NHL Expansion Draft making him the first player in Lightning history. He wears jersey No. 1.

First Flashes

1992-94

Inaugural season jerseys feature Stanley Cup Centennial patch which is used league-wide druing 1992-93.

The uniform name and number font is italicized in 1993-94.

An Edgy Font

1994-95

Lightning take an avant-garde approach to their number font during the lockout shortened 1995 season. 

The name font is also changed and arched over number. 

Third Set of Threads

1996-97

Lightning unveil an alternate uniform on Jan. 30, 1997. It features a stormy scene, rain drops across a dark-blue sky, churning seas below with a grey shoulder yoke to signify clouds producing bolts of lightning down the sleeves. 

The new uniform debuts on Feb. 8 in a 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. However, the Lightning finish the season with a 4-2 record while wearing the third jersey. 

Pulling for Cullen

1997-98

Lightning wear a green four-leaf clover containing the No. 12 on their uniforms in honor of John Cullen, who's forced to miss the season battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

The Stars Align

1998-99

Lightning host 1999 NHL All-Star Game for the first time, wearing a special jersey patch throughout the season.

New Millennium

1999-2000

Lightning uniforms feature the NHL 2000 patch, which is used league-wide to mark the new millennium. 

Celebrating a Decade

2001-02

Lightning mark 10th anniversary with a special jersey patch worn throughout the season.

After complaints that the jersey numbers are difficult to read, a new block font is adopted; the blue on the uniforms goes a shade darker.

Stanley Strikes!

2003-04

Lightning begin wearing black uniforms at home and white on the road as the NHL swaps jersey designations.

Lightning win their first Stanley Cup on June 7, 2004, defeating the Calgary Flames in 7 games; their uniforms feature the coveted Stanley Cup Final patch.

Uniform Facelift

2007-2008

Lightning make sweeping changes to their logos and uniforms for the first time in 15 years as the Reebok Edge Uniform System is instituted league-wide.

Lightning are one of a handful of teams to add numbers on the front of their sweaters.

Bolts in Blue

2008-09

Lightning debut a blue third jersey with their nickname "BOLTS" emblazoned across the chest.

Changes to come

2010-11

In the middle of the season, under the new ownership of Jeff Vinik, the Lightning unveil completely re-designed logos and uniforms on Jan. 31, 2011; announcing the new logos and color palette will debut in 2011-12.

A New Bolt

2011-12

Lightning hit the ice in the new blue and white uniforms.

The third jersey retains the old logo on the shoulders as the team begins transitioning to the new look.

20 Years in Tampa

2012-13

Another lockout cuts short the Lightning's 20th anniversary season; uniforms feature a special jersey patch.

The shoulder patch on the third jersey is updated to the new logo.

The Third Third Jersey

2014-15

Lightning go back to black with the third alternate uniform in franchise history on Sept. 27, 2014.

Marty Forever

2016-17

Lightning uniforms feature the NHL 100th anniversary sleeve patch, which is used league wide starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Martin St. Louis becomes the first player in Lightning history to have his number retired as his No. 26 is raised to the rafters on Jan. 13, 2017.

Adidas Changeover

2017-2018

The Lightning and adidas unveil new jerseys as the league switches from Reebok to adidas. Laces are removed from both jerseys, and a new road jersey is unveiled on June 23, 2017 that removes the words "Tampa Bay" from the crest. 

Lightning celebrate their 25th anniversary with special patch. 

The NHL's best return to Tampa for 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend. 

The team wears the 25th anniversary on home jerseys and the All-Star patch on road jerseys.