Loose Threads: Leafs, Jets and the CHL

It's been a busy week on the blog. We've seen a new logo, two jersey unveilings, and oodles of new sweater numbers for recently relocated NHLers! And there's still more to talk about. I've collected a few items for you in a new edition of Loose Threads.

Berger Talks New Leafs Third Jersey

Maple Leafs concept by Jeff Veilette / LeafsHQThe Toronto Maple Leafs will get a new third jersey next season and that's become a hot topic again.

It's been reported in each edition of NHL JerseyWatch 2011 that the Leafs will replace their current white alternate sweater with a new one. But like the old one, it will borrow from the club's past.

Howard Berger, who covered the Leafs for FAN 590 in Toronto until last month, wrote about it Thursday on his new blog, Berger Bytes. (Hm, clever.) He said it "will look very much like the jersey the club wore at Maple Leaf Gardens on May 2, 1967 — the night it last hoisted the Stanley Cup."

In other words, like this concept (right) created by Jeff Veilette of LeafsHQ in April 2010. You'll notice the distinct watermark. However, despite this, I've been getting tweets and emails telling me Berger leaked the new Leafs sweater. He hasn't.

Don't get me wrong, I fully trust that this design or something similar will basically be what the new third jersey looks like, but don't be confused in thinking that this is an actual photograph of it. It isn't.

For a little background, Berger was a helpful in providing early details of the first Reebok Edge third jersey designs back in 2008. While some of his descriptions were slightly inaccurate — which can be attributed to the low quality images he was describing — he was mostly on the money.

Personally, I was hoping the Leafs would go with the 1970s/1980s look for the new third and, admittedly, my reporting was slanted because of that. But most of the trustworthy rumors I've read have said this 1967 design will be the one. Not that that's a bad thing. We get to bring an old logo back from the dead.

Jets Prepare to Unveil New Logo

It's a sentiment I share with many hockey bloggers, but it feels so strange talking about the Winnipeg Jets in the present tense again. Strange indeed, but also true.

On Thursday, Canada's National Post reported that the Jets were close to completing their new brand and nearing the point of releasing it to the eager public. You can read the article for yourself, but if you just want the bullet points, here you go:

  • Final tweaks are being made to the logo and jersey designs.
  • The new Jets logo will look "dramatically different" from the old one.
  • Anyone who prints anything NHL-related is breathing down True North's neck to finally release a logo. (This includes Upper Deck, who can't print trading cards yet.)
  • The new Jets jerseys will be ready by the time Canucks' rookie camp starts on Sept. 11. (Probably with an unveiling a week or so before that.)

So, here's my read of the situation. We'll be lucky to see the logo by the end of July. It's possible, but knowing the way the design process tends to go, it'll be a couple more weeks yet. They don't want to rush and make a mistake with so many eyes watching. I expect we'll see the new Jets logo in early August.

As far as the jerseys, I'm anticipating late August to early September for the unveiling. This is a little trickier than the logo. Most fans are impatient and don't understand what goes on behind the scenes in a situation like this. With so many fans desperate to get their hands on a jersey, a leak would be disastrous at this point. Why? It boils down to knockoffs.

They need jerseys to sell to fans the minute the design goes public. Otherwise, they risk counterfeiters being able to throw together their cheap crap faster than Reebok can manufacture the real thing. The bottom line is they don't want someone else stealing their money. Would you?

If you don't see this as a problem, you may lack critical thinking and reasoning abilities. (Sarcasm, folks.) Just accept it and try to have a little patience. The logos and jerseys will all be out soon enough. It's like Christmas Eve right now. Why not enjoy the anticipation of it all a little bit longer?

Blazing a path to the CHL

The Central Hockey League has welcomed the Bloomington Blaze as its newest franchise for the 2011-12 season. This team is not be confused with the now-defunct Bloomington PrairieThunder, who played in the CHL last season after the International Hockey League merged with it a year ago.

Basically, the PrairieThunder folded after last season and the Blaze are a new franchise with new ownership — though they just hired the same coach. The team has not yet unveiled a logo and doesn't even have a website I can direct you to. I'll try to keep an eye on it, but it is the CHL.

Speaking of the CHL, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees — the only hockey team I know with five words in its name — have unveiled a new logo. And by new, I really just mean simplified. I'll leave you with a before-and-after image as I wrap up today's post.

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees unveil new logo