Review: Flames Alternate Jersey

The wait has been long enough. This review now needs to be epic. It won't be, but at least it's here.

The Calgary Flames unveiled their new third jersey on Oct. 27. The new look made its on-ice debut on Nov.1 — so by now, we've had plenty of time to fully appreciate it.

Photo from Calgary Flames

My expectations for sweaters designs from Canadian teams are typically high. I feel like the nation that birthed the sport should have the best-looking teams. That's not necessarily sound logic, just a feeling. I tend to hold the Canadian teams on a higher pedestal in this regard.

However, when we learned the Flames had a new third jersey in the works this year, my expectations were a little different. In 2009, the Flames introduced a retro third jersey — modeled after their original uniforms from the 1980s. Most people — myself included — felt like that was the pinnacle of Calgary third jersey options. (The home and road could still have used some work, on the other hand.)

How could the Flames improve upon their first black-free jersey since 1994? Simply put, they couldn't. Even a lateral move was off the table. They could only hope to do something different. And that they achieved.

Photo from Calgary Flames

In typical fashion, the jersey was red. But for the first time in team history, a wordmark adorned the chest of a Flames sweater. The team wanted to declare pride in its city. But on first glance, it seemed like a knock-off the Buffalo Sabres' third jersey from 2010 — the retro-style script with the classic primary mark underneath.

In the last two weeks, my opinion of the crest hasn't changed much. I'm not from Calgary, so perhaps that's why it's difficult for me to appreciate the sentiment. But I am from Tampa and care little for the "TAMPA BAY" scrawled across the Lightning's road jersey. I'd prefer seeing a simple symbol represent our city. I don't think there's any better symbol for Calgary than the flaming C.

But since that's already on a couple of jerseys, this is what I would've rather seen on the chest. I will admit that roundel logos have been overdone in the NHL and the style of this one is slightly reminscent of the Flames' provincial rival in Edmonton. But with a bit of simplification, it could've made a brilliant crest.

Needless to say, I think it makes an excellent shoulder patch for this jersey. The logo represents the many natural facets of Calgary's surrounding region from wheat fields to mountain ranges in front of the setting sun. It's clever imagery and a slick design.

However, the two logos featured on this jersey do not feel like they belong on the same sweater. The styles are worlds apart. I get the sense the two logos were perhaps part of separate proposals and mashed together by a decision-maker without an eye for design. But I could be wrong.

In the last few years, Reebok has appeared limited in its template variety. A handful of basic jersey designs seem to permeate all of the hockey world at this point. But the Flames' new third shows the manufacturer is willing to try new things.

Not only is this a completely new template, it's custom for a specific look the Flames were going for. Check out the shoulder yoke. That unusual design was inspired by the classic western shirt — a staple of any cowboy's closet. This is the sort of thing I absolutely love about third jerseys. Every team should try something a little outside the box now and then.

Speaking of unusual, the graphic suggests the designers were trying to take an overused feature like the lace-up collar and make it their own. Apparently, this one was designed with the intent to string it upside down. But looking through pictures of the Nov. 1 game, none of the players were interested in wearing it that way.

Photos from Calgary Flames

Good effort anyhow. By the way, you'll notice the alternate captains' "A" in the form of the Atlanta Flames logo is carried over from the primary jerseys. Nice way to keep Atlanta alive in the NHL even if it can't have a team of its own.

Photo from Calgary Flames (via Twitter)

What I love most about this jersey is the attention to detail. Hardly any jersey introduced in the last couple of years has been able to avoid Reebok's trendy "hanger effect" — the design on the inside of the collar. Here we see elements of the shoulder patch reprised.

It's a great feature for jersey buyers. Owning it is really the only way to appreciate it. And I'm certain that was Reebok's goal. They are a business after all.

Photo from Calgary Flames

On the other hand, I don't love every detail. The 5 — along with the full number set — was designed to be distinctive. But I'm afraid the it missed the mark a bit. It's distinctive, but not for the better. It just looks like a flipped two. Our brains are not accustomed to quick recognition of a shape like this. Until we get used to it, it's going to feel like an error — like someone stitched a digit upside down.

I can't help but wonder if it ends up being a situation similar to what the Lightning had back when they introduced the italicized electric numbers in 1995. The 1 always looked like a 7 and the 8 barely looked like an 8. Adjustments were made quickly to help with legibility.

Apart from the 5, I do like the rest of the numbers. In particular, I like that they're white. The black on red isn't unreadable, but it's not as easy on the eyes. And the thin yellow stripes on the jersey help to tone down any similarities to the New Jersey Devils' look.

Let's wrap this up with some thoughts about what might have been. The Flames released a video on their website after the unveiling talking about the new look. It included a shot of a wall covered in unused concepts. In some of them, it's clear why they were cut. In others, less so.

I love the simplified flaming C at the top of this photo. What a great way to move that classic mark into the 21st century. But I certainly think the existing version will stand the test of time. I wouldn't be surprised to see the exact same logo still in use when the team celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2030. 

If nothing else, maybe some of our concept artists can have a little fun with some of these designs. I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.


This is always the hard part, so I'll try to make it easier with a pros/cons list.


  • Attention to detail, namely the shoulder yoke and collar
  • The shoulder patch and "hanger effect"
  • White numbers
  • New striping pattern


  • Had to be red to be a crowd-pleaser, but I think a third jersey should be a third color
  • The wordmark crest is disappointing
  • 5

What are your pros and cons?

And don't forget to check out the updated Jersey Galleries!


Minor Jersey Mayhem

This is a big weekend for specialty jerseys around the minor leagues. Let's start in the AHL!

Game photo from Rockford IceHogs (via Flickr)

Rockford celebrates Los IceHogs Dos!

How can we not start here? The Rockford IceHogs donned these numbers for Los IceHogs Dos this weekend. If you missed "Uno," check out this post from last year. They are really something.

I talked with IceHogs' communications director Mike Peck who said the team partnered with the Latino Leadership Coalition in Rockford for the event. In fact, they inspired the jersey design.

"They really wanted to highlight the strong musical aspect of the Hispanic/Latino culture," said Peck.

The IceHogs wore this uniform on Friday night and auctioned them off afterward with "proceeds being donated to La Voz Latina, an organization dedicated to serving the Rockford region’s Hispanic community through education, workshops and youth programming," according to the press release.

The great thing about these specialty jersey nights around the minors is that these teams are always raising money for charity. So no matter how silly the team may look on the ice, at least it's for a good cause.

Photo from Worcester Sharks (via Facebook)

Worcester raises autism awareness

The Worcester Sharks wore these jerseys on Friday and Saturday to benefit The Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts. The puzzle piece pattern is the standard symbol of autism awareness.

Photos from Texas Stars

Texas dons player-designed stars and stripes

This Veterans Day weekend was marked by a number of patriotic or military-themed jerseys. The Texas Stars called it Stars & Stripes Military Appreciation Weekend and wore these jerseys on Friday and Saturday. The subsequent jersey auction is benefiting the Texas Stars Foundation.

The cool part of this uniform is who designed it. Remember Taylor Vause? He played for the Swift Current Broncos a couple seasons and ago and was responsible for designing some fo the team's specialty jerseys. He's continued that hobby since graduating to the pros.

Vause spent most of last season with the Stars but is currently with the club's ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads. So unfortunately, while he designed this jersey, he didn't get to wear it this weekend.

Images from Springfield Falcons and Hershey Bears

Falcons and Bears go patriotic for Veterans Day

The Springfield Falcons and Hershey Bears honored military veterans in different ways this weekend. The Falcons wore the Hometown Heroes Night jerseys above while being shut out 3-0 on Friday. (This is the only photo I've been able to find of the jersey so far.)

The Bears, on the other hand, are going the camouflage route with tonight's set. I have yet to see any photos of the actual jersey, but the rendering above was posted to their Facebook page on Thursday.

Bakersfield can't stop making odd jerseys

And finally, we wrap up in the ECHL where this is happening tonight.

Image from Bakersfield Condors (via Facebook)

Had to make it huge so you could truly appreciate it. The Bakersfield Condors are always trying to go outside by the box with specialty jerseys. And I really don't know what to say about this one. Perhaps I could address the irony of the sponsor being Dignity Health. Because that's just what the players won't have after they wear these for three hours.

If you can't get enough, the Condors have a photo gallery on Pinterest.

I know there are some I've missed so I'll have a follow-up to this post likely later this evening. In the meantime, what do you think of these? Any favorites in the bunch?


IceCaps Unveil Third Jersey

New look designed by a fan of the St. John's club in 2011

As promised, the AHL's St. John's IceCaps unveiled their first ever third jersey on Friday night — complete with the brand new crest seen above. The team had been previewing the new look with daily teaser photos on Instagram since Oct. 28.

The coolest part of this new jersey is how it came about. That story follows these photos.

Photos from St. John's IceCaps

Check out this excerpt from the team's press release:

The jersey was designed by Troy Birmingham, a graphic artist from St. John’s, who approached the team with his concept when the club was formed in 2011. It was the first time Birmingham had designed a logo for a sports team.

To all you concept artists, I guess sometimes it does pay off to approach a team with your design. Great to see the IceCaps taking advice from their fan base on this jersey design.

Photo from St. John's IceCaps

For specifics on how Birmingham's design came about, here's another chunk of the release:

He explains his inspiration: “The primary logo was meant to represent the province as a whole, so for the third jersey I wanted a logo that was a bit more specific to the city, that’s why I used Cabot Tower,” said Mr. Birmingham.

“The font was meant to represent ice-grey gradient, power and motion and I included a stylized iceberg. I included the small outline of Newfoundland and Labrador to tie the alternate logo to the primary logo and have a connection with the original logo.

“For the jersey itself, I wanted to keep a similar colour scheme to the primary jersey but I wanted a traditional look and feel. It kind of reminds me of an old jersey from the 1970′s with the square shoulders.”

The IceCaps debuted the new look for their game against the Manchester Monarchs on Friday where they won 5-2. They'll face the Monarchs again tonight where the same sweaters.

Photos from St. John's IceCaps (via Facebook)

The new looks is fantastic — just what the IceCaps needed to infuse a bit of their own identity. For the last two years they've simply been wearing the jerseys of their NHL affiliate, the Jets. So it's nice to see them go their own way a bit here.

That's the positive. I also have a couple of negatives. The provincial flag on the shoulder is a bad trend. It started with the Calgary Flames in 2007 and the launch of their Reebok Edge jerseys. We then saw Abbotsford of the AHL follow suit.

I can only speak for myself, but I really don't want to see this become a regular thing. The way I see it, throwing a flag on your jersey is a lazy way of connecting to the locals. If your own trademarked logos can't do that job, come up with new logos that do.

Photo from St. John's IceCaps

I'm also not crazy about the crest. I like the tie-in to the city of St. John's certainly, but I'm just not sure it's a well-executed design. The text is the focal point and it has my least favorite feature in the world — a gradient.

But those are just minor issues in the overall picture. The jersey's colors and striping are cool and unique and I really like the square shoulder yokes here. In action, they look great!

St. John's to host 2014 AHL All-Star Classic

While we're on the subject of St. John's, N.L., I should point out that they're hosting the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic. The logo for the event was released back in September along with the announcement of a brand new format.

Instead of pitting two teams of AHL stars against one another, a single team of AHLers will face off against Färjestad BK from the Swedish Hockey League — known as the Swedish Elite League (or Elitserien) until this year. According to the AHL, it's the first time a Swedish club will compete in North America.

That game will take place on Wed., Feb. 12 and Canadians will be able to watch live on Sportsnet.

I'll leave you now with a look at Färjestad's logo. Pretty standard stuff for a European hockey team.


IceCaps Tease New Third Jersey

AHL club has been sharing sneak peeks on Instagram

The AHL's St. John's IceCaps will officially unveil their new third jersey tomorrow. But for the last week and a half they've been teasing us with photos on Instagram.

On Oct. 28, the IceCaps started sharing one photo a day of the new sweater via social media. I haven't been keeping up with tweeting them all — primarily since they didn't make it seem like this third will be that much different from their primary jerseys — but I have collected them all here for those interested.

Photos from St. John's IceCaps (via Instagram)

Perhaps most interesting is the use of the Newfoundland and Labrador flag, which appears to be a shoulder patch — following a trend started by the Calgary Flames, then picked up by the AHL's Abbotsford Heat.

Also, I'm curious about the colors. It feels like a cream/vintage white type of color, but I can't tell if that's just the Instagram filters doing that. I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow when it's officially unveiled.

UPDATE 7:06 PM: The last teaser came this morning and looks like a new crest for the front of the jersey.


Finland Unveils Olympic Jerseys

Photo from MTV.fi

Finland gets mix of traditional and modern jerseys

After taking a look last night at the new Olympic jerseys for Slovakia and Sweden, Finland has joined the party this morning. Their new Nike-designed jerseys were unveiled today. Photos of the new uniforms were shared by MTV.fi.

The blue jersey has the coat of arms crest you would expect — with the glossy outline of a lion planted on the shoulders. The white one is essentially the Finnish flag. Both are par for the course as Nike jerseys go. By that I mean the early response has been decidedly mixed. Most either love it or hate it.

Photos from MTV.fi

What's your immediate take on these? Love or hate how Finland will look in Sochi?

Seven down, five to go. Who's left? Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Latvia and Slovenia.

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