Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hamilton Tigers Logos

Growling Tiger Logo (1920-1921): Topographic Map or Realistic Tiger?
When I started searching the internet for information about the Hamilton Tigers, the first thing that struck me as particularly odd was the mangled looking tiger face for a logo (Figure 1). If you run a images search, you will notice that this logo is all over the internet—even used this image as the official logo of the Hamilton Tigers (it has been changed recently). Could this one-eyed Willy really be Hamilton’s NHL logo, or did someone mistake a topographical map for a tiger’s face? Much to my relief, Wesley and Wesley’s Hamilton’s Hockey Tigers provided images of the actual jersey with the original logo (Figure 2). As you can see, the original is a rather detailed, well-drawn face with, yes, two eyes. Whoever redrew the original into a sloppy cartoon gets an F-minus and two thumbs down. We should be circulating and using the actual logo and not a 5-year old child's rendition of it. So if you see any fakes out there, please direct them to this article.

If someone has a better image of the original logo, could you please pass it my way. The one I have posted is a picture of a picture in a book, and so the quality is not spectacular.

Prowling Tiger Logo (1921-1923): Animal Cracker or Regal Tiger?

In Season 2, the Hamilton Tigers switched their logo from a growling tiger to a prowling one. Once again, it looks like someone commissioned a kindergarten class to provide a rendition of the original. The image circulating on the internet looks like an orange animal cracker with some black lines drawn on it (Figure 3). Thank goodness for Hamilton’s Hockey Tigers who provided us with pictures of the original (Figure 4). Unfortunately the contrast in these images is not very good, so the fine details are not obvious—but at the very least, we can confirm that the original is a tiger prowling with stealth, not a cartoon ready to pounce on Winnie-the-Pooh.

H Logo (1923-1925)

The H logo is my favorite not just because of its simplicity, but because its ability to be replicated is a sign of resiliency. It was also the logo worn when the Green brothers arrived (star players Shorty Green and Red Green), and when the Tigers came first in the league. The only modification of this logo from one year to the next was going from completely vertical lines at the end of the horizontal bar to angled ones (Figure 5).

Official Team Colours: Yellow or Orange?

There appears to be a discrepancy between the official colours mentioned in cyberspace and the ones used in Wesley and Wesley’s book. The former believes the colours are black and orange, whereas the latter says the colours are black and yellow. I have no way to confirm this, and even after doing some digging I could not get access to articles from the 1920s that might have mentioned what the true colours are. If anyone has more information on this topic, please write a comment or send it my way.

Ideal Jersey
If the Hamilton Tigers were to make a comeback, I would love to see the H logo as the primary logo, with the leaping tiger on the shoulders. Perhaps my next article will elaborate on this idea. Stay tuned!

*Internet images from
*Original images from Hamilton's Hockey Tigers


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, I would prefer the H logo were they to be called the Tigers. But I'm not so sure that the name Tigers will be used because of the Ti-Cats and the name Tigers no longer has the significance that it did back in the 1920s. As for the team colours, I'm almost certain that it's yellow and not orange, and I believe that I've come across reference to this being the case.

JAC said...

Great comment, though I think Bob Young actually said that the word 'tiger' can not be trademarked. I'm sure we would see Balsillie and Young work together, especially because their seasons do not overlap much.

todd little said...

Funny but I had an NHL Heritage Hamilton Tigers replica sweater about ten years ago (kicking myself now for selling it on eBay) and whoever made the sweater used (probably created) the poor hand drawn version of the Growling Tiger head logo which is probably how that image ended up all over cyberspace. The sweater was also more of an orange color than yellow. Typical that the NHL would get that wrong.

I'm a South Florida (Panthers) hockey fan wishing you guys the best of luck in landing the Coyotes and bringing the Tigers back into the NHL. Despite living in the US sunbelt I know Canada deserves a couple more teams in Hamilton and Winnipeg (if the rink there can be expanded). If Bettman gets his way and keeps the team in Phoenix then the NHL should just get it over with and give Balsillie an expansion team for 2010 then add a 32nd team a few years later. This would keep Balsillie from poaching existing teams and pretty much exhaust all viable markets so the teams south of the border would have to make it work where they are already at. Everyone would be happy.

azac said...

Surely the Hockey Hall of Fame would have an original Hamilton Tigers jersey to verify the logo and jersey colors. Wouldn't they? I have never had the pleasure of visiting it but I have seen photos of old moth-balled jerseys of teams from the 20s and 30s.

That poorly rendered tiger's head was what I was always lead to believe was Hamilton's original logo. How is it that the NHL does not have better records of this?

There has to be some better quality photos somewhere.

Anonymous said...

a nice replica of the 1925 Hamilton Tigers jersey with the
original logo recreated, not the
"cartoonish" Tiger head. They also run an ad on the Hamilton