Entries in minors (159)


Around the Minors

I've actually got a lot to talk about on this Friday, including a few minor league-relating items.

We'll begin with a shoutout to PuckDrawn, with a first look today at the new uniforms of the IHL's Quad City Mallards. Icethetics first took you "quack to the future" with the unveiling of the team's new logos back on July 1. Now see them on the jerseys.

Mallards unveil uniforms (via PuckDrawn)

You can see the home, road an alternate sweaters being modeled here. A little shockingly, those neon greens are not the third jerseys. So they're going to see a lot of ice time this year. The Mallards also made available the lowest quality images ever of the designs.

Typically, we like these images to be larger for the purpose of seeing the detail of the design. But we'll live. One thing worth noting is that the green in this image and the actual green of the jersey look nothing alike. I like the one shown here better.

It also appears that the alternate sweater in the photo is dark blue while seeming to be black in the following image. Not sure which one is playing tricks on my eyes.

Next, we move on to another obscure minor league — the SPHL. On Wednesday, the Pensacola Ice Flyers announced they have sold enough ticket packages to be able to field a team this season. Now it's time for a real web site. But that also means they need a logo.

This morning I checked back in on the poll being conducted by the Pensacola News Journal. Much to my disappointment, SixZero's design (Logo 3) has fallen behind option 4. After 2,776, Logo 4 is ahead with 35% of the vote, just three percentage points ahead of SixZero. Normally, I'd tell all of you to get over there and get voting, but this isn't for us, it's for hockey fans in North Florida. If that's what they want, that's what they get.

However, the poll, which began on July 17, indicates no end date. Therefore, there's no way to know when the Ice Flyers club will make its decision with regard to the team's logo. So I will keep an eye out for that and keep you all updated.


Quack to the Future!

Just days ago, hockey fans in Moline, Illinois were mourning the loss of hockey as the Abbotsford Heat unveiled its new logo and uniforms. But happiness now reigns as the league that once hatched the Quad City Mallards resurrects them — and with six new logos to boot.

Today the International Hockey League announced the approval of the expansion franchise. The team now has a bare-bones web site set up with the following splash page graphic — from which I borrowed tonight's headline.

It features six different logos, two of which are textless. I didn't think you could make a mallard look intimidating but somehow these guys actually managed. And while I'm impressed by the look of this club, I can't help but wonder how wise it is to exist in the first place.

An article in the Quad-City Times points out the frequency of attendance trouble the i wireless Center has faced for hockey in the last decade. (Also talks about the management's marketing strategy for getting fans back.) The arena has been home to the sport since 1995, but has also lost two different teams — the original Mallards shut down when the Calgary Flames moved the AHL's Ak-Sar-Ben Knights to town in 2007.

Now they're gone and I hate to pass judgment on the fans, but it just doesn't seem like there are enough of them in Moline to warrant a team. Maybe you just make the 90-minute trip down I-74 to see the Rivermen in Peoria.

Having said that, there's more to this story. See, the IHL used be called the United Hockey League — the home of the first Quad City Mallards club. So in a way, it's like they just took a two-year vacation while the AHL tested the waters of a market that it found couldn't quite support it. So maybe they're right where they're meant to be.

Thanks to J.D. for the tip on this story and for making the "Mallards are re-hatching" joke. And now that you've heard enough from me, what do you guys think of the menacing green-headed bird logos above?


Retro Revamp for Logo Champ

Why repair what's not broken? Tradition is a common response in this sport. The only thing that bothers me about it.

The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League officially announced last month their intentions to sport a new — or old, rather — look for the next season. Interestingly, they didn't even bother to post their own news release on their web site, but rather borrow from Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press.

The Knights recently updated their web site to reflect the new symbol, seen here to the left. I'm all for a throwback except for when it goes out of its way to be aesthetically unpleasing. Which I feel like this does.

What I will give them is the new shades of green and gold. Huge improvements over the previous design. That's what you should be seeing on a hockey jersey.

GM Mark Hunter said, "When we took over the team, we didn't know what that Spider-Man Knight thing was. We wanted to go back to the old look, the green-and-white."

I half-agree with him. That logo was always a little off. While I don't know where he got "Spider-Man" from, it never seemed like it was balanced quite right. Despite its lack of clean, sharp design elements, this new logo is actually balanced.

However, I think hundreds of Icethetics readers and fans might disagree. After all, it was just over a year ago that the previous incarnation of the London logo beat out 19 others and was declared the best in the OHL by voters here. And not two months later, deemed to have the overall best logo of the 60 Canadian Hockey League clubs.

I think there could be no better reason to call a rematch. As we move into the summer, I plan to relaunch a feature that allows Icethetics readers to do what they do best: Express your opinion and vote! Logo tournaments will be back with a new format and everything. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After the Knights unveiled their new logo, shouldn't a jersey have followed? Reebok has infiltrated even the OHL now and has deemed it inappropriate for any team to unveil their new look prior to the giant, soul-crushing corporation's say-so. Or more accurately, "The OHL has a new sweater agreement with Reebok so teams have to wait for the cue in early September." Right.

So we'll wait until then to see it, but in the meantime, the article says to expect something from the early days circa 1968-70. For a better idea of what that means, we visit KnightsHistory.com, an offshoot of the Knight's official web site. See the following image.

I really hope Knights fans are happy with this. I mean it's for you guys anyway. It just seems like taking a giant leap backwards. On one hand, yes, it truly looks like a hockey sweater. But on the other, "Those sharp-looking green third jerseys are done," writes Pyette.

Being a Lightning fan, I don't think I deserve a vote. So let's hear from some Ontarians. (Is that what you're called?) Is the retro look an improvement or did the Knights already have the best logo in all of Canadian junior hockey?


Heat Unveil New Logo

Words I love to write: "unveil... new... logo." Always exciting.

Yes, legitimate Icethetics news coming in today! The Abbotsford Heat, the newest addition to the American Hockey League unveiled their new logo this morning. And despite my hype in the previous graf, it is rather unremarkable. I mean, I looked at it, started writing this post, and had to look at it again to remember what it looked like.

See for yourself.

Now then, some of us may need a quick history lesson (I know I did). Who are the Abbotsford Heat and when did they join the AHL? The Heat is just another in a long line of aliases for a team I'm not entirely convinced isn't in witness protection.

This franchise began life in 1987 as the Utica Devils, the natural minor league farm club of the New Jersey Devils. That lasted only six years, until Calgary Flames took over the team in 1993, moved it to Saint John and shared its own moniker. The Saint John Flames lasted a full decade before it all hit the fan.

In 2005, following two years of absence from the league, the club was reestablished in Nebraska and were re-dubbed the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. ("Ak-Sar-Ben" being "Nebraska" with some hyphens in your rear view mirror.) After two seasons, the franchise was relocated to Moline, Illinois and reunited with their parent club's nickname. Known then as the Quad City Flames, they were responsible for the immediate death of the UHL's Quad City Mallards, who had occupied the same arena for the 12 years prior.

Now for the worst part. After just two seasons in Moline and two stints in the American Midwest, the Flames ultimately decided that it really wasn't for them. This fall, the AHL's globe-trotting club returns to Canada once again after a zig-zagged trek across the continent. For the record, it's been 4,888 miles of relocations and counting. (If you're really bored, I've mapped it out for you.)

Now, about the logo from before that by now you've forgotten about. Go look at it again real quick. Responsible for the rather banal basketball-esque logo is a local company called Domain7.

The alleged lead designer Stephen Bau excused the drabness by saying, "We wanted to capture the essence of hockey and position Abbotsford as a destination for world-class hockey in the logo and branding."Before you assume he's about to follow up with an apology for failing, he goes on by saying "and I think we were able to do that." Out of curiosity, do you think he's actually seen it?

Furthermore, I was ready to express my sympathy for the fans of Abbotsford before I read that they voted for the name! Really? The Heat? Miami can get away with it. Your average high for the year is 74 degrees. Unless it's irony. And then it's funny. But I think we all know you aren't that clever, Abbotsford.

Not that you'll necessarily want to see it, but Heat's web site is claiming to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the new brand. Someone actually wrote the following line describing this logo: "the movement of the puck looks somewhat like a flaming comet." Really playing it fast and loose with the phrase "looks somewhat like," aren't we?

Not even joking about that.

Anyway, I apologize if I've been a little harsh this afternoon on this, my first logo unveiling since the return of Icethetics. But I'm just unimpressed. I will say one thing in its favor, however. I'd sooner buy something with a "flaming comet" on it than that horrible Quad City Flames logo.

Anyone else have an opinion?

Thanks to Ian for the tip.

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