Entries in carolina hurricanes (17)


NHL 2013-14 Third Jersey Schedules

The Carolina Hurricanes have new home and road sweaters this season, but that doesn't mean they're losing the popular black third jersey. In fact, they recently released a schedule that outlines the 12 games in which they'll be wearing it. 

The Canes will wear black 11 times at home and once on the road toward the end of the season. It'll make its season debut on Sun., Oct. 13 for an afternoon game against Phoenix.

Additionally, the Hurricanes point out that fans will get to see the new road jersey at home a couple times this year.

They'll sport white at PNC Arena when they host Tampa Bay on Fri., Nov. 1 and against Columbus on Sat., March 29.

I plan to add more third jersey schedules to this blog post as I come across them. Let me know if you spot any — specifically the Sabres' as I'd love to know when that one debuts!


Review: Hurricanes' New Uniforms

All images from Carolina Hurricanes videos

Trying something new today. This lengthy post is my review of the new uniforms unveiled Tuesday by the Carolina Hurricanes. It's not that I've never shared an opinion on the blog, but making time to do a proper analysis has often eluded me.

The Hurricanes released a handful of great videos documenting at the new design itself, the process of creating it and even the team's own 16-year jersey history. For this review, I'll be using the wealth of great content in the unveiling video, which breaks down every element of the uniform detail by detail.

So let's get started. There's a lot to cover.

At the time of the unveiling, I was sitting on an airplane with a weak wi-fi connection. Needless to say, the live steam of the event wasn't so much a stream as an occasional trickle. But I still ended up getting the gist through fleeting glances and frozen shots.

In my initial reaction to seeing the two uniforms side by side on the stage, what struck me was how red they were. The Hurricanes have always worn red, but somehow the seemed... redder.

And there's the reason why. The Canes describe the new design as "clean and unencumbered." A lot of the the secondary colors and striping are gone. To some, it came seem plain or boring. To others, an example of a classic hockey sweater with no clutter and a striking crest. To me, it's a little bit of the former. I'll get into why shortly.

Great hockey jerseys are anchored with bold stripes around the elbows and waist. Or at least that's what we've come to accept as an essential element. The Canes have always had that. Only now, the black and silver from their palette is missing. That alone isn't a problem. What is? The striking resemblance to one of the most well-known hockey uniforms on the international stage.

Two evenly-spaced white stripes on a red sweater? That's not Carolina. That's Canada. Many Icethetics readers and tweeters pointed this out with side-by-side comparison graphics making the rounds almost immediately after the unveiling. Canes captain Eric Staal was present for the unveiling and, modeling the sweater, he almost looked like he was wearing his national team threads.

So the Hurricanes have to a lose a few points for this and a few more for dropping what made their sweaters unique — those storm flags that used to line the waist. I will grant simplicity is king. But not at the expense of losing your identity. The Canes said this whole uniform redesign was prompted by the need to move the brand forward. It feels like a move backward to me.

The sign of a great "brand jersey" is one where you can still tell which team it belongs if you remove the crest. Take off the swirling storm and this could/should be Team Canada. With the old one, the storm flags around the waist made it clear this was the Canes. Why did that have to go? I would've strongly made the case to keep that and lose all the other stripes.

Right or wrong, the lace-up collar is one of those elements that instantly gives a hockey sweater that classic feel. Some consider it odd for young teams to sport old-style sweaters. What works for the older teams isn't necessarily the simplicity but the age of their look. It's been around so long we just accept it as a given. And love it for its staying power.

Perhaps that's the goal for Carolina. I know they want a jersey that can be around for years to come. But I can't help but feel they've sacrificed their identity a little to do it. They're not the "red team." They're not the "old classic team." They're the Hurricanes, and they were born in 1997. They should own that instead of trying to be something else.

That said, the lace-up collar is found only on the home uniform. The white road jersey uses Reebok's standard V-neck collar. In the making-of video, we saw that the original red prototype didn't have the laces, but basically, Kirk Muller convinced them it would make the jersey more interesting. It did.

One more observation on the collar. It's the only part of the jersey that's black. Sure, there's the crest and the trim on the letters and numbers, but it feels unbalanced to not have a black stripe somewhere as well — like they've done with the non-matching white jersey.

The crest introduces a new technology from Reebok that helps the giant patch weigh less. Hurricanes marketing VP Doug Warf talked a little about this in the documentary. It's not that it was necessarily binding players, but it was the biggest in the league. So along with the lightweight material came a change in size.

The size of the logo was reduced by 15% from the previous jersey. That paired with the minimal waist striping gives the illusion that the crest sits much higher on the jersey, leaving more of an open space between it and the stripes. This doesn't bother me. And the more I look at the full uniforms, the better I like the smaller crest. It doesn't overpower the sweater the way it used to.

The video also points out that the silver in the crest — now the only place you can find silver on the Canes' uniforms — has been changed to a matte finish. So it's less sparkly now. Your first instinct might make you say, "isn't a 'matte silver' just grey?" But actually it still has that metallic luster. The difference now is it doesn't look like it has glitter on it.

At this point, the video switches to the back of the road uniform — but that jersey is focused on more in the second half. We get to see the new letters and numbers. The Canes describe it as a "clean, sans-serif font" that can "remain for upcoming years." Sounds to me like an oxymoron. In sports uniforms, the longest-surviving font has been the classic block style. Many teams have their own unique spin on the concept, but rarely do you find sans-serif fonts that stand the test of time.

That said, there's nothing that stands out about this type, so it's probably a safe choice. The good news: It's visually more appealing than the oversized, rounded italic font they had been using. The bad news: It's blander. Bland isn't a dealbreaker, it just doesn't do much for your brand. Despite its ugliness, at least the old italic font made you think of the driving winds of a hurricane. (Or maybe that was just me.)

Speaking of bland choices, the shoulder patches weren't carried over to the new look. The Canes say it's about "siimplicity" and "timelessness" but I disagree. A jersey with shoulder patches can be timeless. But if they didn't like the torn storm flag, perhaps a redesign was in order. Instead, blander.

Here's a new term from Reebok. They call this the "Hanger Effect." It's a design detail on the inside of the collar that is only visible when the jersey is hanging up — not when it's being worn. That means it's meant for the fans who are going out to buy them. As we can see, it's that warning flag stripe I was talking about before.

It's clearly a nod to the team's own tradition. Which begs the question, why hide it? It's a solid, simple design that, as a brand, they can own. I still can't quite understand why they would dilute their identity this way. Not every team has this sort of built-in design aesthetic. Take advantage of it.

The pants and gloves are now a solid red, without any extraneous design features. This is a good look. When trying to simplify your uniform — and this is definitely a team that needed it — a clean look for these pieces of equipment is always a plus.

So now we move to the features of the road uniform.

Right off, I love the squared off shoulder yoke. It's a unique look you don't really see with any other NHL teams. Only the Devils come close, but theirs is black so it's not as visually striking. And speaking of black, it's great to see the Canes kept it with this uniform.

The biggest thing we notice is that the overall design is completely different from the red sweater. Typically, teams tend to design their white sweater as an inverse of their dark one. Here, the Canes have changed everything but the crest and font style.

Making the uniform unique on the league stage is the shoulder yoke — which is not only squared off but also extends down below the the nameplate. The Canes proudly draw attention to the fact that they are now the only NHL team with the nameplate inside the shoulder yoke.

They aren't the first — Buffalo did it back in their black-and-red days — but they are the only ones doing it currently. Could it be the start of a trend? I wouldn't mind. It's a nice look. (And it saves the equipment manager from having to keep track of two sets of lettering.)

Black numbering. I'm not sure why this is a plus. Or why it was even deemed necessary. The Canes have always worn red numbers, trimmed in black. Now they're black trimmed in that matted silver from the crest. Is this an overcompensation to keep black in the uniforms? Especially considering the red jersey barely features it.

I don't want to say this hurts the design. Overall, the black numbers look good on the sweater. But would red numbers have looked just as good? I'm going to call this a lateral move.

Finally, there's new striping on the road whites, which the Canes are calling "bold." If they mean that it's thick, solid colors, I can agree. But apart from that, in my mind, there's nothing bold about recoloring the Vancouver Canucks' striping pattern. Moreover, these stripe sizes would've provided the perfect opportunity to keep the warning flag stripe — around both the waist and sleeves.

They say it "further establishes [a] traditional look" but all it really does for me is move them away from their unique identity. The graphic also says the look is a "unique compliment" (think they meant "complement") to the new home threads. Again, it's different, but that doesn't mean unique.

I know reviews are supposed to end with a tallying of the score and a final grade. But I think trying to assign an objective number to a uniform design is a waste of time and in the end doesn't serve a purpose. You've seen the pictures and read the reasoning but you'll form your own opinion. and you've got my full review here in about 1,800 words.

Then again, I know everybody likes a good nutshell. I can do that.

The good:

  • Cleaner, uncluttered design
  • Simpler, straighter font style
  • Unique shoulder yoke design on the white jersey
  • Warning flag effect on the collar
  • Going outside the box with non-matching jersey set

The bad:

  • Losing the warning flag stripe from the waist
  • Losing the shoulder patches
  • Slightly too much red, not enough black
  • Unoriginal striping patterns (Team Canada and the Canucks)
  • Where is this team's unique identity?

Again, I don't feel right trying to assign a score. I'm both impressed and disappointed with different aspects of the Hurricanes' uniform redesign. I know we'll be stuck with it for some years to come now, but it's not about getting used to anything. The design is what it is and these are the things I think work and don't.

But there's an old foul-mouthed adage about opinions. I'm sure you know it. These opinions are mine. I'm curious to hear yours. The best comments below will be backed up with reasoning and explanations. The rest will probably be ignored by your fellow readers.


Hurricanes, Stars Unveil New Looks

To put it mildly, yesterday was a busy day. As expected, two NHL clubs launched redesigned uniforms and even a few new logos. And considering I actually attended one, there's no way I could possibly cover everything fully in a single blog post. And since I'm running on a lack of sleep, I'm just focused on nuts and bolts today.

Over the next several days, I'll be writing more in-depth posts including detailed point-by-point reviews of all the new stuff — something I've never done before but always felt I should. Stay tuned for that!

Carolina goes for simplified jersey designs

The Carolina Hurricanes were first out of the gate on Tuesday with the much-anticipated unveiling of their new home and road uniforms. The event was held at PNC Arena in Raleigh and streamed live to the world from their website.

Photos from Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal was present at the unveiling, where the team released some promotional photos of the new threads, as you see above. Gone are the storm flag stripes and really any silver outside the crest. Now it's all about the classic, simplified styling — even if it's not all that original. But I'll get to the editorial stuff in my review later this week.

Here's the full home set:

Graphic from Carolina Hurricanes

It is very red, much more than before. The striping — as many have pointed out — is reminscent of what Team Canada wears. But most notably, the design is much cleaner than the previous look Carolina wore for the last 16 years.

Now take a look at the full road set:

Graphic from Carolina Hurricanes

Again, it's a clean design. But the noteworthy thing here is that the two sweaters don't match. And it's not just the striping, it's the colors and collar design as well. The only black we find outside the crest on the red jersey is on the collar. And speaking of which...

Images from Carolina Hurricanes

The collar on the red home sweater has traditional ties, but the white doesn't. What the two collars share, however, is the unique design on the inside. The storm flags live on — but only when the jersey is hung up. Naturally, Reebok calls this the Hanger Effect. Clever.

Again, I'll dig into it a bit more in my review. For now, let's keep it brief and move on.

Dallas overhauls logo, colors and uniforms

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars gathered their season ticket holders at the AT&T Performing Arts Center to discuss some big changes to the franchise. That included a complete rebrand — new logos, new colors and new uniforms. New everything.

Image from Dallas Stars (via Facebook)

I was honored to get an invitation from the team to attend the event. I'll have a lot more of my photos in my review and a subsequent post detailing my experience watching the unveiling in person. But for now, I'll run down all the important stuff.

Like these new logos, for instance. Along with their new primary mark, the Stars introduced these secondary designs. The circular logo will be worn as shoulder patches on both jerseys while the one shaped like Texas gets featured on the pants. Both of these logos incorporate the new D-star.

Now to the uniforms. The graphics released by the Stars perhaps erroneously call the green jersey the "road uniform." Some have taken it to mean the NHL is switching back to whites at home next season after 10 years of whites on the road. But I haven't heard anything to that effect. Plus, people at the Stars' event were referring to the green as the home sweater. (And Carolina labeled their reds as home sweaters, for that matter.)

So there you have it. The new looks of the Hurricanes and Stars. I'd love to keep writing on the subject, but I'm running on a lack of sleep after the last couple days so I'm going to take a nap. While I'm snoozing, leave your thoughts on these in the comments. Your feedback will help with my upcoming reviews.


Icethetics: Live From Dallas

The Icethetics TweetTracker

All times Central

If you want to follow everything going on in Raleigh and Dallas on this huge day, look no further. Icethetics is the only place you need to be. We've got the TweetTracker! In the box above, follow tweets all day long from myself along with the fine folks below.

Tracking the Carolina Hurricanes:

  • @NHLCanes: Carolina Hurricanes, official
  • @ice_chip: Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer
  • @dougwarf: Doug Warf, Hurricanes marketing department
  • @CanesCountry: Canes Country, Hurricanes blog for SB Nation

Tracking the Dallas Stars:

If there are any other great tweeters in Raleigh or Dallas that I'm missing, let me know right away! Should be an exciting day!


The Big Day Ahead

Tomorrow is a big day for Icethetics. The biggest ever, in fact.

Two NHL teams are unveiling new uniforms and — for the first time ever — I'll be there in person to report on one of them. It's a long way this little blog has come in six years and it's all thanks to the Dallas Stars — who graciously invited me to their event — and you guys, of course.

I'm immensely grateful to the dozens of readers who donated a few bucks here and there to help cover my travel costs. But without the thousands of readers like you who drop in every day, there wouldn't be an Icethetics at all. So this whole trip to Dallas is for everyone. And I intend to share every minute.

Since you can't physically travel with me, the next best thing is Twitter. (If you don't do Twitter, at least bookmark this page tomorrow and watch the updates roll in.) I'll be tweeting all day.

Here's the schedule. Since I'll be in Dallas, all times are CENTRAL:

  • Tuesday, 6:00 AM — New Hurricanes concept art goes live on the Concepts page.
  • 9:30 AM — My flight to Dallas departs. Should be just under 4 hours.
  • 11:00 AM — HURRICANES UNVEILING: The fun starts in Raleigh while I'm somewhere above the Rocky Mountains. The Carolina Hurricanes will unveil their new uniforms inside PNC Arena at noon local time. The event will be streamed live on the team's website. I just hope my plane is equipped with wi-fi so I can follow along in real time.
  • 1:30 PM — I land in Dallas. Once I'm checked in to my hotel room, I'll get to work recapping the Hurricanes' unveiling on the blog.
  • 2:30 PM — New Stars concept art goes live on the Concepts page.
  • 5:30 PM — STARS UNVEILING: Two hours have been blocked off for this event. I don't know what time exactly the new logos and uniforms will be revealed to us, but if you're following my tweets, you'll know as soon as I do.
  • 7:30 PM — The great folks in Dallas agreed to set up an interview for me with someone who can talk about the new branding efforts. I don't have any details on that yet. Any write-up would probably come later in the week.
  • Late Tuesday — Following that interview, I'll get to work on a blog recap of the Stars' unveiling event as well. Not sure where I'll be squeezing in meals on this trip, but food is for chumps anyway. Amiright?
  • Wednesday, 8:00 AM — I'm on a plane right back home. (Gotta get back to my real job, you know.) I'll use to the flight to try to put together some thoughtful reviews on the new looks we were treated to on Tuesday. Oh, and did I mention it's my birthday? I can think of worse ways to spend it.

Fair warning — I plan to tweet the whole trip. Or as much as I can without overwhelming your feed. It'll be like you're right there with me — good or bad — for about 30 hours.

I'm extremely psyched about tomorrow. It'll be a long, hectic day — but I'm sure completely worth it in the end.