Entries in springfield falcons (5)


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?


Minor League Anniversaries

It's been a busy summer with a lot of changes in the NHL. While I work on the next edition of NHL JerseyWatch, how about some new anniversary logos to hold you over? The AHL alone has at least four that I know of. Let's take a look at them here.

The Syracuse Crunch will mark their 20th season after arriving in upstate New York in 1994. (The franchise was actually founded as the Hamilton Canucks in 1992.) This logo was unveiled Aug. 14.

Also in 1994, the Springfield Falcons joined as an expansion franchise. So this season marks their 20th in the AHL as well. Although, I don't know what to say about this logo, which was released just last week. There's just too much going on and none of it good.

Fifteen years later, a couple more teams arrived on the AHL scene. The Abbotsford Heat are celebrating their fifth anniversary with this neat mark. It was unveiled almost two months ago, back on July 11. This is what most anniversary logos should be, actually. It cleverly incorporates an aspect of the team's primary logo with a unique type treatment for the number.

Here's what not to do. The Texas Stars are also marking five years, but in a much less interesting fashion. Hey, it's an anniversary logo. They can't all be winners. It was unveiled way back on June 28.

I'll wrap this up with a league anniversary. Can you believe the Southern Professional Hockey League has been around for almost a decade? But I think an intern made the logo. (Does the SPHL have interns?) Regardless, the execution is poor even if it's not a bad concept.

See any minor league anniversary logos I missed? Drop me a line and I'll update this post.


AHL: 75 Years of Identity Issues

Over the past two weekends, the AHL has been celebrating its 75th anniversary by calling on its six oldest teams — sort of — to sport special throwback uniforms. Some for the better, others not so much. 

For those of you that enjoy Icethetics history lessons, boy do I have a doozy, but first let's review what these six teams looked like in their retro threads.

Springfield Indians vs Providence Reds

Why is it the Peoria Rivermen should've played as the Indians, instead of the Springfield Falcons? And do the Connecticut Whale really have a better claim to the Reds than the Providence Bruins?

Syracuse Stars vs Cleveland Barons

Plus, are the Buffalo Sabres responsible for killing the Syracuse Stars? And are the Worcester Sharks more worthy of skating as the Barons than the Lake Erie Monsters?

Hershey Bears vs Rochester Americans

And finally, two teams just the same as they've ever been for more than a half-century. What more could you need to know?

All of these questions will be answered. It's time for that history lesson.

When the AHL was formed in 1936, known then as the International-American Hockey League, eight cities were represented, six of which have teams today that took part in the anniversary festivities: Springfield, Providence, Syracuse and Cleveland. Hershey and Rochester joined later but most of the other teams are suffering through an identity crisis of some kind. Let's break this down.

Springfield Falcons

The Springfield Falcons were founded in 1994 so they certainly aren't among the AHL's oldest franchises. But last weekend, they played as the Springfield Indians, who were. In fact, the current Falcons team has no ties to that original franchise, which now exists as the Peoria Rivermen. So how did that happen?


The city of Springfield, Mass. has had pro hockey since before the AHL formed. The Springfield Indians were founded in 1926 and played in the Can-Am, or Canadian-American Hockey League, under that name until 1951 when they were renamed the Warriors. That lasted only three years before the club reverted to Indians moniker.

In 1967, the name was changed again, this time to the Springfield Kings. But a classic name dies hard and this time seven years passed before the Indians name was brought back once more. Then finally, in 1994 the franchise was relocated to Worcester, Mass. and dubbed the IceCats. Because it was the '90s and minor league teams did that sort of thing. Not willing to go down without a fight, ex-Indian players were granted a new franchise, now named the Falcons.

The IceCats moved to Peoria, Ill. in 2005 and so goes the story of the Indians franchise. However, the league couldn't very well dress the Rivermen in their old Indians uniforms while hockey was still going strong in Springfield. So the Falcons paid tribute to their city's past in style.

Providence Bruins

The Providence Bruins franchise was founded in 1987 but has only been playing in Rhode Island since 1992. Again, it's definitely not one of the league's original teams. Actually, just like Springfield, this city had pro hockey long before the AHL in the form of the Providence Reds, who are now about to become the Connecticut Whale. What?


Just like Springfield's story, it all began in 1926 in the Can-Am. The Providence Reds were one of the eight teams that joined the new International-American Hockey League in 1936. They were successful and stuck around a long time. But when they affiliated with the New York Rangers in 1972, things were changing. And it started with a new arena.

Then in 1976, the team name was changed to Rhode Island Reds. But that would be the team's final season in the Union's smallest state. When the North American Hockey League folded in 1977, the owners of a Binghamton, N.Y.-based franchise, called the Broome Dusters (not kidding), bought the Reds and shifted them about 300 miles west and appropriated their own name for the club.

The Binghamton Dusters became the Binghamton Whalers in 1980. Then a decade later, they were named after their NHL affiliate, the Rangers. In 1997, the team became the Hartford Wolf Pack, and later this year, Howard Baldwin will officially rename them the Connecticut Whale. What a lineage. Ouch.

Once again, the Providence Bruins will only wear Reds jerseys as a tribute to their town rather than their own team heritage — a team which began life in 1987 as the second incarnation of the Maine Mariners and relocated in 1992.

Syracuse Crunch

The identity crises don't end in Providence. The Syracuse Crunch is a franchise only slightly older than the Falcons, having been established in 1992. And would you believe this? The team once known as the Syracuse Stars was actually killed by the Buffalo Sabres in 1970.


The Stars' story is long, but not all that complicated. Founded in 1930 as a member of the International Hockey League, the team from Syracuse, N.Y. hooked up with the I-AHL in 1936. By 1940, they were on the move, however, to Buffalo. Renamed the Bisons, the new team was a replacement for the club of the same name which disbanded in 1936 when its arena collapsed.

The Buffalo Bisons were effectively sent to slaughter in 1970 at the announcement of the Buffalo Sabres NHL franchise. They vacated the Memorial Auditorium for the new major league team and that's the end of their story.

Meanwhile, the Syracuse Crunch were founded as the Hamilton Canucks in 1992. After just two seasons in Ontario, the club relocated to New York. Just like the Falcons and Bruins, they don Stars attire not as a tribute to their own past but to their city's and that of the AHL.

Lake Erie Monsters

Once again, we have a club still in its teens masquerading as one of hockey's oldest. The Lake Erie Monsters franchise was founded in 1994 but only moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 2007. The actual Cleveland Barons were founded in 1929 and the lineage of that name can be quite confusing as you're about to learn.


The Cleveland Indians were a member of the International Hockey League from 1929 until 1936. However, they were known as the Cleveland Falcons for the last two years in the IHL and in their first season as a charter member of the I-AHL.

The following season, in 1937, the Cleveland Barons were born. And that's where things get interesting. Everything was fine until 1972 when the WHA and the Cleveland Crusaders came along. This spelled instant death for the minor league franchise, which was forced to relocate midway through the 1972-73 season. Unfortunately, they moved to Jacksonville, Fla. so they only got in one more full season before folding. The bloodline ends there.

As a side note, the Cleveland Barons name was revived in 1976 when the NHL's California Golden Seals relocated to Cleveland, forcing the Crusaders to St. Paul, Minn. But the Barons lasted only two seasons in the NHL before disappearing again. Ironically, the players from the disbanded team went to the Minnesota North Stars.

One more attempt was made to revitalize the Cleveland Barons moniker when the AHL's Kentucky Thoroughblades were bought by the San Jose Sharks in 2001 and relocated. Five years later, the Sharks moved the club to Massachusetts and renamed it after themselves. So technically, the only existing team that came claim the Cleveland Barons name in their heritage is the Worcester Sharks.

Yet the Lake Erie Monsters, founded in 1994 as the Denver Grizzlies, donned Barons duds last weekend. The Grizzlies played in Colorado only one season before the Quebec Nordiques announced they were to move there. So the Grizzlies went to Salt Lake City, Utah for the next 10 years.

The club suspended operations for two years while it looked for a new owner, who would then put the club in the home of the departing Cleveland Barons. By the way, don't confuse these Utah Grizzlies with the ECHL club of the same name. They have a long history of name changes and relocations but actually began life as a charter member of the East Coast Hockey League.

Hershey Bears

At last, a true original AHL franchise. Almost. The Hershey Bears joined the I-AHL in 1938, two years after its founding. End of story, right? Not quite.


The Bears were actually founded in 1932 as the Hershey B'ars. Then it was changed the following season to Hershey Chocolate B'ars in case the original name was too subtle for you. Then back to Hershey B'ars once again in 1934.

The Bears nickname actually came about by way of New York sportswriters who thought the B'ars name was overtly commercial. Gee, you think? In 1936, it stuck. Officially. And though the Hershey Bears have endured minor uniform, logo and color alterations over the last 72 years, the name has remained the same. 

Rochester Americans

The Rochester Americans didn't join the American Hockey League until 1956, but at least they're not masquerading as some other team just to celebrate an anniversary.


Now in their 55th season, the Amerks, like the Bears, have been through logo and uniform changes over the years but have always kept the name. It's refreshing to see that some teams can exist over long periods of time like this. We could all wish for more of them, but that would just make for a much duller history lesson, wouldn't it?

Hope you enjoyed this post, by the way. Spent over two hours working on it this afternoon. But it was rather fascinating.


Loose Threads: News & Notes

When jersey news accumulates, I find the blog in need of an outlet with some kind of generic title. This is first of likely many editions of Loose Threads. Just a quick rundown of anything the blog may have skipped over earlier in the week.

Flyers to "unveil" new road sweater

Claude Giroux #28They're not making a big deal about it, but the Philadelphia Flyers will "unveil" their new road jersey when training camp opens on Sept. 17.

I use the "sarcastic quotes" because it's no secret that the Flyers will be promoting last year's Winter Classic sweater to full time road jersey — as first reported by Icethetics back in January.

The Flyers confirmed the date with the following posting on their website:

On Friday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. the Flyers will officially open training camp and unveil the new 2010 road jersey.

They don't specifically say that it will be the Winter Classic jersey — maybe in order to be mysterious to folks unlike ourselves who do not follow this aspect of the sport so closely — but I'd be shocked if they actually designed something new. Plus, readers say it's already been seen in EA Sports' NHL 11 video game as the road uniform.

Presumably, the old white jersey will disappear while the black one will continue serving as the alternate sweater next season.

Baby Penguins try on another new third jersey

WBS Penguins unveil new thirdThe AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are redesigning their third jersey for the new season.

The new sweater was unveiled last week and the Penguins tweeted a link to this photo. Didn't realize blue was one of their colors.

Despite the color mismatch, it's not a terrible sweater overall. I like the idea of breaking the penguin out of the stripe-y circle, though the stick sticks out awkwardly.

But it does make me wonder if it might have a link to what the Pittsburgh Penguins will wear in January at the 2011 Winter Classic. Are the Baby Pens giving us a preview here? Something to think about.

By the way, earlier this month, the AHL Pens posted images of past third jerseys to their website. You can check out the 2006-07 design as well as the more recently 2008-09 alternate. See a pattern developing? Next new Baby Pens third coming in 2012.

Falcons reveal Indian throwbacks

Falcons throw back to IndiansAlso in the AHL this week, the Springfield Falcons unveiled a special throwback jersey, paying tribute to the Springfield Indians of 1936.

Here are a few details from the announcement on the team's website:

As part of their annual summer barbeque exclusively for ticket package holders and corporate partners, the Springfield Falcons unveiled the special throwback jersey they will be wearing for their first two regular season games on Friday, October 8 at Providence and Saturday, October 9 at home against Providence.

The special jersey unveiled pays homage to the 1936 Springfield Indians and will be highlighted during the American Hockey League’s 75th Anniversary weekend.

As mentioned there, this jersey will be one of a handful of throwback sweaters being worn by AHL teams to mark the 75th anniversary of the league. Also being included in the opening weekend celebration are the other five oldest AHL cities, which are Providence, Syracuse, Cleveland (Lake Erie), Hershey and Rochester.

This probably means we'll see the following throwback transformations:

  • Lake Erie Monsters → Cleveland Falcons/Barons
  • Providence Bruins → Providence Reds
  • Syracuse Crunch → Syracuse Stars/Warriors
  • and of course, Springfield Falcons → Springfield Indians

The Hershey Bears and Rochester Americans have never had any other names — nor have the cities — but they certainly have vintage jerseys I'm sure we'll see.

And finally, in case you don't follow the Facebook page, Eric B. posted a link to photos of Marty Turco's new Blackhawks masks — seeing Turco leave the Stars is a lot like seeing Modano leave.

If I missed anything else, drop me an email and I'll update this post.


The Big AHL Affiliate Swap

It's been a busy week for affiliate relations between the NHL and AHL. Three teams from each league were involved in the big swap. Here's how it all breaks down.

The Edmonton Oilers started it all on February 9 by announcing plans to resurrect their dormant AHL franchise in Oklahoma City, ending their partnership with the Springfield Falcons.

The Oklahoma City team will be a relaunch of a franchise that has existed since 1984, most recently as the Edmonton Road Runners for the 2004-05 season, during the NHL lockout. The club gets back in action in 2010-11 but has yet to be named.

Some have predicted that it will be called the Blazers after the Central Hockey League team which was originally founded in 1965. The latest incarnation of the club, assembled in 1992, folded in 2009. The head of that ownership group is now involved with the AHL franchise.

Count on Icethetics for details on the new name and logo when it is officially announced.

Falcons announce new NHL partnerAbandoned by the Oilers, the Springfield Falcons announced a new affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

During the press conference, the Falcons said they would be changing their colors to match their new parent club. The recolored Falcons logo was unveiled along with renderings of the new uniforms.

The Falcons are still affiliated with the Oilers through the end of the season, so the new colors and uniforms will not be adopted until next season.

The Blue Jackets' new deal suddenly left another AHL team without an affiliate.

Crunch joins forces with DucksThe Syracuse Crunch wasted no time, announcing the same day that the Anaheim Ducks would be their new NHL partner.

And just like the Falcons, the Crunch announced they would also be changing their colors to match the Ducks. The red and blue will give way to orange and gold. A recolored logo and uniform set has yet to be officially released.

The Ducks have spent this season without an affiliate, partnered previously with the Iowa Chops, who were suspended by the AHL on July 7, 2009. Recently, the Ducks expressed interest in placing an AHL franchise in San Diego. Costs led them to back down. Instead, they opted for an existing team on the opposite coast, a geographical head-scratcher.

As of now, each of the 30 AHL franchises set to play in 2010-11 are affiliated with their own NHL teams. Most wear their parent club's colors and/or logo on one or both shoulders of their uniforms.