Buffalo Sabres, fans should cringe if NHL signs with Nike

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ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski announced that the NHL and supplier Adidas would part ways after 2023-24. Cringe-worthy news if you like the traditional Buffalo Sabers look.

And while some fans will likely welcome the change, it raises concerns that Nike could potentially become a candidate to take over as official uniform supplier. You should cringe imagining what they could do to the look of the Buffalo Sabers if this were to become a reality.

Over the years, the Sabers have become one of the few NHL teams to have managed not one but two fantastic colors and logos. One could even say that they are among the very few 124 North American professional sports teams to have accomplished such a feat.

The royal blue and gold are timeless while the red and black goat’s head look will always remain a staple in Sabers lore. The latter would be welcome to return as a throwback or even as an alternate. And that may be all Nike will go further if it supplies the NHL and the Sabers. But recent history says otherwise. Let’s look at their track record.

BUFFALO, NY – DECEMBER 23: Brian Flynn #65 and Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabers celebrate their 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at First Niagara Center on December 23, 2013 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

Buffalo Sabers fans should cringe if Nike takes over as the NHL’s official uniform supplier given their tendency to create completely irrelevant uniforms.

In 2012, Nike took over as the Official Uniform Supplier of the NFL. And while some teams have improved for the better, they’ve also released a plethora of unfortunate designs. Here are some of their failures:

  • Color Rush – You can put an asterisk next to this one because some teams, like the Buffalo Bills, have passed this one. But most of the NFL has abandoned the concept.
  • Two-tone Jacksonville Jaguars helmets (2013-2017).
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers digital alarm clock uniform (2014-2019).
  • The Cleveland Browns look from 2015 to 2019 was so unpopular that they actually chose to wear their Color Rush uniform in 2019 as their primary.
  • The New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons consistently rank low in most uniform rankings.

On the plus side, Nike has done a few good things. They brought the Los Angeles Chargers a nostalgic look. Nike also upgraded the Cincinnati Bengals’ uniforms, and they honored many teams’ insistence on returning or keeping a more traditional look. It is important to note here that teams must approve Nike designs.

Fortunately, the Bills learned their lesson during the Reebok era (2002-2010). Nike also took over as the official uniform suppliers of MLB and NBA. And in many cases, they unveiled special uniforms, like the City Edition (NBA) and City Connect (MLB) looks, whose colors have nothing to do with the franchises wearing the uniform.

So, back to the NHL. What would Nike do to the Buffalo Sabers?

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