The NHL has adjusted the regulations regarding the color of the home jerseys over the years. The home squad is now dressed in black jerseys, while the visiting team is dressed in white. This tradition began with the Montreal Canadiens in 1956-57 and has since been adopted by all 30 teams.
Each year, a new set of colors is used for the home ice. In 1998, the Nashville Predators introduced blue as their primary color, with silver as a secondary tone. In 2002, the Colorado Avalanche added red to their palette, and in 2005, the Tampa Bay Lightning brought out yellow as one of their three main colors.
Over time, other colors have been used in limited quantities. Black was used by several teams in the early years of the league to represent darkness on ice, but these jerseys are now sold by auction websites such as eBay. Red was originally used by the Boston Bruins as a color of honor for those who had died during the season, but this practice was stopped after a few seasons when it became apparent that everyone on the team could expect to be killed at some point during a game. In fact, four players on the 1955-56 Bruins were shot and killed during games that season.
White was used by the Chicago Blackhawks in their inaugural season in 1926-27 and has been the only color worn by the franchise ever since.
The whiteout was inspired by the Home-white, Away-dark color scheme. Everyone in the arena, including the players, would be dressed in white, creating a stunning effect. The NHL changed the uniform pattern in 2003, requiring home teams to wear black jerseys. The change was made in an effort to make the ice more visible during night games.
The league changed the home and away color schemes to eliminate such misunderstanding and to make the jobs of team equipment managers easier. If supporters wanted to seem fashionable at home games, they'd have to buy the previous "away" shirt. NHL is really smart. They know what people want.
The original reason given for the change was that it made it harder for fans to confuse the colors of one team with those of their rivals. This would matter more in the old days when teams didn't always wear white uniforms on ice colored by opponents. But today's players are usually able to see the colors of their opponents even if the rink is darkened out.
There is also some evidence to suggest that the dark jersey scheme was introduced in an attempt to make players look better on television. Back in those days, hockey wasn't as popular as it is now so broadcasters tried anything possible to make sure that everyone watching their game knew who was who on the ice. For example, they might show a photo of a player taken from behind his net mask with a flashlight behind him for those moments when he had no puck to hand. The theory goes that since players' faces were not shown during broadcasts, giving them all black uniforms would help viewers identify who was who on the ice.
But anyway, that's how it started and within a few years every team wore their dark jerseys at home.