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Coyotes Confirm Name Change

Arizona Coyotes will have same jerseys, new shoulder patch

The Phoenix Coyotes are dropping the "Phoenix" from their name. The club will take to the ice as the Arizona Coyotes to start the 2014-15 season, according to an official statement made today.

The team confirmed its uniforms will remain the same apart from the shoulder patch, emblazoned with PHX and the Arizona state flag inside a mark shaped like the state. The new mark will be unveiled in September at the first pre-season game of 2014.

Coyotes' secondary logo will be replaced in September

Not addressed was the fact that the wordmark will have to change as well. But that could be as simple as swapping "Phoenix" for "Arizona" in the existing mark.

Anthony LeBlanc — co-owner, president and CEO of the Coyotes — explained the name change:

“Becoming the Arizona Coyotes makes sense for us since we play our games in Glendale and the city is such a great partner of ours. We also want to be recognized as not just the hockey team for Glendale or Phoenix, but the team for the entire state of Arizona and the Southwest.

We hope that the name ‘Arizona’ will encourage more fans from all over the state, not just the valley, to embrace and support our team.”

This change is not at all unexpected. It was part of the agreement with the city of Glendale to keep the Coyotes in town for at least a few more years.

Speculation obviously comes next, so let's not delay the inevitable. What will the new logo look like? Will the team create something entirely new to represent the state? It seems unlikely given how much Arizona symbolism is already baked into the existing logo.

It would therefore make sense that some minor tweaks could settle things. And there may already be a logo in existence that could do the job.

Many NHL teams have a post-game locker room tradition by which an outstanding player is recognized for his on-ice efforts. For the Coyotes, a custom-designed MVP belt is passed from player to player during the season. It was featured in an online video last spring.

Video stills from Phoenix Coyotes

Obviously I'm trying to point out the logo featured on the sides. It's an altered version of the secondary logo, with "COYOTES" in place of "PHX" and the star from the Arizona flag.

I've never seen it in use anywhere else before. However, it could be something the club's marketing department worked up as this belt was evidently designed around the time of the arena agreement that required the team's name to be changed. Probably not a coincidence.

Back to my original question, then. Could this be the new shoulder patch design? Or will the Coyotes take things in a different direction?


RIP: San Francisco Bulls (2012—2014)

Sophomore ECHL club shuts down midseason

Maybe the Bay Area can only support one pro hockey team. The San Francisco Bulls — ECHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks — ceased operations on Monday after only a season and a half in action.

It's not difficult to figure out why.

Photos from San Francisco Bulls by Mike Tkacheff

The team's press release tells us they couldn't find a new owner in time. The empty Cow Palace seen above on Jan. 15 tells us why no one was interested in buying the Bulls.

During their brief existence, the Bulls brought us one of the most wretched logos in minor league hockey — except, of course, when it had to be embroidered on the front of a sweater. So I can't say I'll miss this team all that much.

There is one thing they got right, though.

Last season, on Feb. 9 and 10, the Bulls skated in San Jose Sharks throwback jerseys — with that classic Pacific teal and gray. A lot of us miss those uniforms, so it was nice to see them in action one more time. Although they did their best to wreck it with those gradients in the crest.

Thanks for the memories.

Said no one. Okay, well there's that one guy in the middle a few rows up. He's the only one.


Does Isles' Black Era End Today?

TV broadcaster says 2011 third jersey is done

Interesting jersey developments came today during the New York Islanders telecast. During the first period of their game against the Blues, play-by-play announcer Howie Rose said this match-up may be the final hurrah for the widely despised black third jersey.

For the video-impaired, here's the transcript:

Howie Rose: It may well be that the fans are getting some good news today. This could be the last time that the Islanders wear these sartorial atrocities known as the black alternate jerseys.

These schmattas might finally go away for good once the Islanders unveil their nifty Stadium Series jersey for the game against the Rangers Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

And you know, you can even hear… there's a discernible groan when the Islanders hit the ice either for warm-ups or before the game wearing these things. I know some of the fans have bought them.

Butch Goring: And they don't win either, Howie.

HR: 7-12-4, says Eric Hornick in these things that thankfully may well be consigned to the scrap heap in just a couple of hours.

One thing to note. Rose seems to suggest the Isles' Stadium Series jersey has not been unveiled yet. Of course we know it was back on Nov. 26. But this news jibes with what Chris Botta said recently.

That's now two sources saying the Stadium jersey will replace the black as the Isles' alternate uniform. Botta said by 2015, but Rose made it sound like the change could happen sooner.

Thanks to Layton O'Neil for the Twitter tip!


Big Changes Coming 2/1

Two full weeks is a long time to go between blog posts. The longest in a while, actually. But I wanted to check in with everyone to say I'm hard at work behind the scenes on a major relaunch of Icethetics. The big switch happens on Feb. 1.

This is different from the annual blog refresh I usually implement. It's much more than a redesign. I'm changing a lot about the way Icethetics works. And, of course, it will look completely different as well. (You won't even recognize it!) Don't worry, it's all for the best.

New Features

The biggest change to the content of the site will come in the form of a new weekly feature series. Every weekend I'll be posting in-depth articles on relevant topics. Those stories will be the focus on the new home page. This feature will ensure regular updates to the site as well as giving readers a little something beyond the day-to-day news — especially when it's light.

Speaking of the news, the blog will be getting a bit of an overhaul as well. New blog posts will be very short and to the point and should come more frequently, depending on what's going on. Over the long weekend, I shared on Twitter a sneak peek at how blog posts will appear on the new site.

Icethetics will get more than a facelift in 2014

I've tweaked the Icethetics logo and nav bar, as you can see. And the site will start taking its color cues from the teams in the news. Plus, the background texture just feels right for a site about hockey jerseys.

I also plan to expand IceHL fantasy league coverage with individual team history pages (which will likely replace the annual yearbooks). The jersey galleries will be reimagined (again). And in the coming months, we're returning to our roots with a new NHL Tournament of Logos (and other minor leagues to follow).

Formatted for Mobile

Another feature I'm really excited about is the new responsive design. If you read Icethetics on your smartphone, the site will be specially formatted for the smaller handheld screen. No more zooming and panning around.

What's Not Changing

I suppose just as important as what's changing is what's not changing. The Concepts page will continue to see daily posts and you'll still have access to great Icethetics-exclusive templates.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Email or comment. Just be sure to mark your calendar for February 1!