In 1897, the first amateur hockey team appeared in Pittsburgh, USA, and after that, the first synthetic ice was created, which had no analogs for a long time in North America. However, the legendary Pittsburgh penguin was born only in 1967, after the NHL expanded from 6 to 12 clubs. The Pittsburgh Hornets from the AHL were among the recruits who entered the elite. The owners of the team decided that with the change of status it was the time to change the name. “Hornets was a team from the lower league. We knew that in the draft expansion we will not get the best players, so we did not want to continue to be considered a collective of the AHL level”, recalls Peter Blok.
The new name should have started with “P”, as like Pittsburgh. It was invented by the wife of one of the investors, Carol MacGregor. It turned out that the locals dubbed “Civic Arena” with the word “igloo” for the dome-shaped roof. The word means the Eskimo’s pack. And then she had an idea: the igloo – the ice – the penguins.
At the same time, the same name was proposed by 700 people out of 26,000 who took part in the contest from the publication of the Post-Gazette. Artist Gessner was paid $ 1500 to develop six possible variants of the Pittsburgh Penguins logo. And soon designers add to the emblem of the club a running penguin, which in the ’90s was changed to a penguin- a “postage stamp”, but then returned again.
At the top of its existence, Pittsburgh Penguins performed in a blue and white uniform but later came to the club colors, which are white, gold and black. They are similar to the coloring of Pirates, the hockey team of Pittsburgh of early XX century, and they took the colors of the local police uniform. These colors are also on the flag of the city. The same tones are on the coat of arms of British Minister William Pitt Elder, after whom Pittsburgh is named. Also, the “golden triangle” is the symbol of the city with its skyscrapers, shopping and office centers, theaters and bridges. So the golden color of the Pittsburgh Penguins emblem is important. Boston hockey team Bruins, which players wear the same color, is still angry with “penguins”: it should be only their colors.
Pittsburgh Penguins logo history
In 1968, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, became a hometown for a new ice hockey franchise named the Pittsburg Penguins as part of the NHL expansion from six to twelve teams. From the very beginning, every team logo has included a running penguin with a hockey stick and a yellow triangle in some form or another. The triangle was a reference to the Golden Triangle, a widespread nickname for Pittsburgh. The logo underwent several minor alterations, yet the general concept remains the same.
1967 – 1968
The original logo debuted in 1968. It featured a penguin wearing white gloves and a scarf and black skates. It was holding a hockey stick in its wings. The image was imposed over a yellow triangle, placed inside a white circle with a blue-scripted “Pittsburgh Penguins” wordmark. The Pittsburgh Penguins logo was designed by Bob Gessner in 1967. The artist was paid $ 1,500 for providing the club with its first logo.
1968 – 1972
The second club logo was a slight modification of the previous one. The penguin lost the scarf and took on a fiercer visage to symbolize the team’s fighting mood. The image of the penguin on skates and the yellow triangle became smaller, while the navy blue circle was widened and enlarged. The team name appeared within the circle, yet the font of the wordmark in white was changed to a more classic one.
1972 – 1992
The new logo was unveiled in 1973. The navy blue circle and the team name within the design vanished. The penguin over a yellow triangle remained much the same as its predecessor: it was still wearing black skates and holding a hockey stick.
1992 – 1999
Following new trends, the franchise logo got a bold, minimalistic and abstract look. It was a postage-stamp penguin era. The focal point of the logo was the penguin and the yellow triangle blended into one picture. One side of the triangle was painted yellow; the other was drawn in black and white stripes. They were separated by a white line that smoothly flew into the penguin’s head.
1999 – 2002
Significant changes in the logo of the Pittsburgh Penguins did not happen, only a slight adjustment of the color tone.
2002 – 2016
In 2003, the team expressed a desire to return to the original skating penguin, yet with slight changes. The triangle returned to the Penguins, although instead of yellow, they opted for another shade, called Vegas Gold. The old-school skating penguin with a hockey stick looked like in 1973.
2016 – present
In 2016, the franchise presented a new Pittsburgh Penguins logo to celebrate the semicentennial anniversary of its original logo. The triangle features yellow, warmer and lighter color, and a thinned black outline. The penguin wearing hockey gloves is still skating with a stick over the triangle.