Pittsburgh Penguins Team History
The Penguins franchise started in 1967 as part of the National Hockey League expansion. However, the Penguins were not the first N.H.L. team to play in Pittsburgh; it was first the Pirates in 1925.
The Pirates became the seventh team to join the league. The team would play in Pittsburgh until financial problems would lead to the team being moved Philadelphia to become the Quakers but only lasting for a single season. The Pirates colours, yellow and black, were based on the city’s flag and colours.
Hockey would return to Pittsburgh in 1967. The team’s first uniform used an ice blue, navy blue and white as the team colours.
The road and home jerseys would be a mirror of each other in style. The home jersey would use ice blue as its primary colour. The striping pattern uses five dark blue bands sandwiched between six thinner white bands (the road jersey used ice blue bands with dark blue making up the thinner stripe). The pattern appears on the lower torso as well as wrapping around the elbow. On the front of the player jersey there was a script logo saying “PITTSBURGH” diagonally down the chest. Both jerseys had a dark blue wrist.
The front crest is a seal style logo featuring a hockey playing Penguin. The Penguin is complete with hockey gloves, skates, and stick. The white and black image stands in front of a golden triangle, which represents the downtown area of Pittsburgh (also where Mellon Arena, the Igloo, is located). This is all set inside a dark blue ring that says “PITTSBURGH” arced along the top and “PENGUINS” arced along the bottom. The font colours of the home jersey changed to dark blue with a ice blue outline and the neck ties also became a dark blue instead of white.
In 1971, the team decided to change the style of the logo. The new logo would drop the outer ring and become a larger image of the skating Penguin in front of the golden triangle. The team would also add player names to the away jersey. Over the seven seasons the team would make frequent changes to the striping, the hue of the colours and the logo would be increased.
By 1977, the team had come to a style they liked. The colour styles had come back to the original scheme but the dark blue was now the main colour instead of the ice blue. The home jersey’s primary colour then was the dark blue. The striping pattern on the lower torso was a white, dark blue and ice blue stripe above a bottom white panel. The sleeves are primarily white with an ice blue diagonal stripe; the base of the wrist is dark blue. The away jersey was a mirrored style with contrasting colour changes.
In 1980, the team changed the team colours back to the Pirates original colours of black and gold. The decision came after the Pittsburgh Pirates (of Major League Baseball) and the Pittsburg Steelers (of the national Football league) had won their league championships. The change made Pittsburgh the only city in North America to have all its major team’s with cohesive colours schemes.
In 1992, the team introduced two new uniforms. The most significant change would be the new logo. The golden triangle background of the logo would remain and the skating Penguin would be replaced with a modern, sleek design. What some people refer to as the “Robo” Penguin, is the bust of a Penguin with bars and stripes behind giving the idea of it speeding along. The logo is mainly smooth lines and sharp angles. The home jersey would then use black as the primary colour. The front crest on the home jersey was script that said “Penguins” in yellow with white shadowing. The crest was a throwback to the original Penguins jersey. The dark jersey also featured the new Penguin logo on the top of the crest. Both jerseys would feature new diagonal sleeve stripping patterns.
In 1995, the team introduced a third jersey. The alternate jersey was primarily black; this uniform also introduced grey as a team colour. The center of the torso had a wide stripe that ran from front to back. The stripe had two different sides to it; the left side was grey with white striping that lined up with the striping from the logo and the right side was single band the was black that faded to yellow. Other modernized striping was used on the sleeves and shoulder yoke. This jersey would replace the home jersey in 1997.
In 2000, the team introduced a new alternate uniform. The third jersey is black and used a new pale gold. There was a pale gold stripe that ran from the bottom, center torso diagonally to the underarm. On the sleeve the same stripe pattern ran from the underarm to the top of the wrist. Beneath the stripe was a thin black outline and then white panels. Together the stripes made a “V” shape on the body. The old Skating Penguin logo returned to the front of the chest and the Robo Penguin was used on the shoulders.
In 2002, the team introduced new home and away jerseys. The home jersey would be the previous season’s alternate jersey. The away jersey was a white mirror of the home jersey. The team’s primary logo would again be the Skating Penguin.
In 2007, with the introduction of the Reebok Edge jersey, the team introduced new jerseys. The new jerseys have a very basic look. They are primarily a single colour with four different coloured panels on the side of the torso and sleeve. With their alternate jersey being a throwback to the days of the ice blue.
All Time Esteemed Penguins
• # 11 Jordan Staal 2006-Current
• # 13 Bill Guerin 2008-Current
• # 14 Chris Kunitz 2009-Current
• # 10 Ron Francis 1990-98
• # 24 Matt Cooke 2008-Current
• # 25 Maxime Talbot 2002-Current
• # 29 Marc-Andrea Fleury 2003-Current
• # 44 Brooks Orpik 2000-Current
• # 55 Sergei Gonchar 2005-Current
• # 66 Mario Lemieux 1984-97, 2000-06*
• # 68 Jaromír Jágr 1991-2001
• # 71 Evgeni Malkin 2004-Current
• # 77 Paul Coffey 1987-1992
• # 87 Sidney Crosby 2005-Current
* Denotes retired number
Recent Top Draft Pick(s)
• 2009 Simon Despres
• 2007 Angelo Esposito
• Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL).
• Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).