Entries in minors (159)


Lethbridge Forced to Change Logo

Starting next season, the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes will have a new logo and uniforms. The change comes after the Washington Capitals told the junior club their current logo and uniforms were a bit to similar to the NHL club's.

CTV reporter Darrell Romuld tweeted this last week: 

He followed up by pointing out that the logo currently used on the Canes' third jersey would be promoted to "full time" use next season. It's the logo you saw at the top of this post. The real story is in how this new logo came to be and its designer's connection to Icethetics.

But first, we should compare the offending logo with that of the Capitals.

The Hurricanes made this their primary logo in 2011. At first, it looked like a bad mix between two Southeast Division NHL teams. But after two seasons, the Caps have had enough.

We all know what their logo looks like. The similarities are obvious but, to be honest, the Lethbridge logo is just a poorly-designed rip-off. No one should be disappointed to see it go.

The new one, however, is a breath of fresh air. It was designed by Joshua Schroeder, who was named GM of IceHL's Calgary Cavalry in the fantasy league's inaugural season in 2010. He departed last summer. But his connection to the Hurricanes is what's interesting here.

Photo courtesy Joshua Schroeder

Josh writes:

I've got a bit of a history with the Hurricanes, starting in 1999 when I was invited to training their training camp. That's me sitting on the boards in the middle. As you can see, we were wearing an old set of the team's jerseys. I was on my way home by the time the veterans reported to camp.

The Hurricanes' actual logo at the time was the infamous Tasmanian devil, or "Twister" logo, since that's the name of our Tasmanian devil mascot. (Yeah... twister, hurricane... apparently we're pretty confused about weather around here.)

Fair enough. Speaking of which — here's that "infamous" logo.

Josh tells me he moved to Lethbridge a few years later to attend college. He stuck around, became a season ticket holder, then founded CanesCast, the official social media partner of the Hurricanes. He bemoaned the bad logos the team endured over the years. And in 2010, he got inspired.

In March 2011, the Hurricanes launched a design contest for the team's 2012-13 alternate jersey — which was more than a year away at the time. So he started putting together a concept.

Artwork and photo courtesy Joshua Schroeder

Josh explains:

I also put together a full proposal package explaining the symbolism that was worked into the design and sent that off to the Hurricanes.

Right around the time I learned that my design had been selected, the new Winnipeg Jets logo was leaked. Another hockey team logo with an aircraft in an RCAF emblem-inspired design. I was a little discouraged at that point, since I figured that by the time my jersey was unveiled it would look like I had just copied the Jets (who, remember, were still the Thrashers when I created my logo).

I got over it, and I still like that I managed to work the symbolism into my logo a little more subtly than the Jets did.

Artwork courtesy Joshua Schroeder

As you can see, Josh put a lot of thought and research into this design. Never has one team worn so much meaning and history on their uniforms. Great to see it will be getting full time use starting next fall.

Photo courtesy Joshua SchroederMore from Josh:

Anyhow, that's pretty much where my involvement ended. I'd been told I'd won, but couldn't make it public knowledge.

The next summer I got a sneak peek at the jersey, and again had to keep it a secret. Unfortunately, the final design the team went with abandoned the striping pattern from my concept, which again was a bit disappointing, but it still looked good.

Early in the 2012-13 season the logo was leaked on our veteran goalie's new mask, and finally (FINALLY!) we got to unveil it in November.

I was able to talk about it and enjoy doing the media rounds for a couple of days. And of course, as winner of the contest, I got my own customized jersey, presented to me at centre ice by captain Graham Hood (photo above).

Sounds like any hockey concept artist's dream!

Josh said a handful of the jerseys were made available in the team store and — despite a higher price — sold out in two nights.

I'd heard a rumour earlier this season about the current Capitals-style jerseys needing to be replaced.

While it sounds like they haven't made a decision on what to wear next year, the indications point toward them adopting the Hawker Hurricane logo full time. The third jerseys were in heavy rotation by the end of the season.

And check out the carpet in the locker room (even Curtis Joseph thinks it's awesome!).

CTV Lethbridge has speculated that the team will add a blue version of the jersey and promote the third jerseys to full time use. As you can imagine, that would suit me just fine. I do work pretty closely with some of the Hurricanes' front office staff on game days now, so they know where to find me if they wanted to get me involved with the design process again.

To this point, though, I haven't been invited to be part of the process.

I know that's a lot of information to digest, but if you're interested in even more background on the forthcoming changes to the Lethbridge Hurricanes branding, I've got a couple more links.

Pat Siedlecki, the play-by-play voice of the Hurricanes, talked on his blog about how this will be the team's fourth primary logo in seven years. (He even used an old graphic I made for NHLToL years ago.) And on Yahoo! Sports' Buzzing the Net blog, Cam Charron compares the looks of other junior teams to NHL clubs. (Those pesky Reebok templates are generally to blame for this.)

Hope you found all this as interesting as I did. And I hope it makes up for both the lack of posts recently and the lack of posts to come while I'm busy moving to a new place this week.


Phantoms Sport the Retro and Ridiculous

Last week the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms busted out a couple of specialty jerseys. Nothing new in the minors. But these deserve a special look for two very different reasons.

AHL club returns to Philly in throwback threads

On Friday, Feb. 22 — for one night only — the Phantoms hit the ice at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia — sporting retro purple-infused threads just like they did back when they called Philly home from 1996 to 2009. The club moved to upstate New York when their arena was taken down.

Photos from Adirondack Phantoms (via Facebook)

The Phantoms faced their former in-state rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a game which drew one of the largest crowds to watch an AHL game indoors. Borrowing their NHL affiliate's arena was certainly helpful there. But the Phantoms ended up falling to the Penguins, 2-1.

It's always neat to see classic minor hockey sweater make a comeback — even if only for a night.

And then there's this disaster.

Phantoms celebrate mascot's birthday with silly sweater

I guess this is a situation where the universe required balance. The only way to allow an awesome jersey to be worn is to follow it up with an awful one. The Phantoms returned home two days after their trip to Philly to celebrate the "birthday" of their mascot, Dax.

Photo from Adirondack Phantoms (official website)

Last Sunday, grown men — professional hockey players, no less — wore these silly numbers with Dax's cartoon head replacing the classic Phantom crest. If ever there was a specialty jersey squarely meant for the kids, folks, this is the one. It's incredibly dorky and yet somehow charming.

Surprisingly, the Phantoms won while wearing it. They beat the Binghamton Senators 2-1. Still, let this not be a common occurrence. Maybe next year you just get Dax a gift card or something.

Photos from Adirondack Phantoms (via Facebook)

I'll leave you with these close-ups of the jersey. Recognize that awful number font? Remind you of something "Mighty" from way back when?


Connecticut Whale to Be No More?

Silly name and logo could soon be gone

It sounds too good to be true, but just three years after the Connecticut Whale brand was introduced, it may be disappearing, according to the Hartford Courant.

With Howard Baldwin no longer at the helm and new ownership in the picture, there's the possibility the franchise could revert to its previous (better) identity — the Hartford Wolf Pack. The article isn't specific about when the change would happen, but I'm hoping they don't do another midseason rebranding.

Evidence indicates return of Hartford Wolf Pack brand

Here's some of what writer Paul Doyle had to say on the matter — and why he thinks the Wolf Pack could be staging a comeback:

The Connecticut Whale brand was created by Howard Baldwin's Whalers Sports & Entertainment in 2010 and that company no longer runs the business side of the franchise, although it allowed current XL Center operator AEG to use the name and logo this season. The franchise is owned by MSG, but Global will run the team's day-to-day operation in Hartford and handle the marketing.

Unless MSG and Global decide to work out an agreement with WSE, the team's name will likely change. The team could return to the Hartford Wolf Pack, the name of the franchise from 1997 until it was re-branded in 2010. MSG has kept the brand alive by retaining uniforms and has even renewed the hartfordwolfpack.com domain name, updating data base information on the domain name Saturday.

Another possibility is to simply call the team the Rangers — Hartford or Connecticut preceding the name — although that could be a public relations risk. Returning to the Wolf Pack would be simple, especially with the still visible around the team and the XL Center.

The activity with the domain name is interesting. Why keep it if you have no intention of using it again? Plus, we all know the Connecticut Whale name and logo are just dumb.

I'm rooting for the Wolf Pack!


Solar Bears Roll Back the Clock

Photos provided by Orlando Solar Bears

Twelve years is a long time to wait for something. Orlando hockey fans had to wait that long to watch their championship banner be raised to the rafters. Last Saturday, Feb. 2, the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears paid tribute to their IHL predecessors by celebrating their 2001 Turner Cup championship.

But the interesting thing to us jersey geeks is what the Solar Bears wore while doing it. The team broke out the old Solar Bears jerseys for the special night — complete with the upper/lowercase surnames and everything! Those uniforms looked great from 1996 to 2001 and they look great now.

Photos: ©2013 Gary Bassing/OSB via Solar Bears official Facebook page

Great to see the new Solar Bears honoring the old Solar Bears. You can find a lot more pictures on the team's official Facebook page.


S.F. Bulls Plan Sharks Homage

San Francisco Bulls to sport old San Jose sweaters

For all you lovers of the original Pacific Teal, the ECHL's San Francisco Bulls are about to make your weekend. The classic San Jose Sharks sweater returns to the Cow Palace ice after 20 years this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. 

The Bulls, who are affiliated with the Sharks, will be wearing their parent club's very first teal jersey — only without the awesome shark on the front. In their press release, the Bulls point out that this will be their first time wearing something other than their orange and white jerseys.

If you can get over the ugly crest, the jerseys will be auctioned off during this weekend's games. The Bulls host the Bakersfield Condors for both games on Sat., Feb. 9 and Sun., Feb. 10. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for photos to share.

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