Wake Up, Sleeping Hockey Fans!

Blackburn Hawks / Rob DaviesIf last month's NHL JerseyWatch was any indication, news of the NHL uniform variety is going to be hard to come by this summer. Meaning if I'm going to keep this blog from getting stale, I'm going to have to branch out a bit.

As luck would have it, I recently got an email from a reader who lives in a place that has hockey but isn't commonly associated with it, much like my home state of Florida.

Rob Davies is from Blackburn, England and I'm going to let him tell his story.

Long time follower of the blog, and a big fan of all you and your contributors do.

Sunday the 22nd and Sunday the 29th are big nights for a small town in the north west of England.

Blackburn, a town raised in the rush of the cotton trade during the industrial revolution, is mostly known for its football team. The town's pride, Blackburn Rovers, have a prestigious history stretching back to 1875 were English Premier league champions in 1995 but have since fallen on hard times and face being relegated to a lower division as their season comes to a close.

Blackburn HawksHowever, these dates aren't big for that reason. Across town, a small yet passionate fan-base is preparing for one of the greatest moments in their team's history. The Blackburn Hawks, a small hockey outfit playing in the upper tier English National League North are in the two-leg final of the playoffs, and hoping to end their reputation as one of British Ice Hockey's 'also rans'.

Playing out of the Blackburn Ice Arena, the Hawks have traded blows with some of the biggest names in UK hockey, including some of the more infamous televised games against the Manchester Storm, in front of 9,500 in the stands, and many millions more at home. These days the crowds are more modest; just a few hundred barely fill half the stands each weekend, but they are a knowledgeable, passionate and noisy bunch, widely regarded as some of the best fans in the league.

It's hoped that a league title will renew interest in the team and in ice-hockey generally. There are certainly a lot of sleeping fans out there, proven by the number one question I get when people see my jersey on the way to games:

"Blackburn Hawks? Are they still going?"

"Very much so!" I reply.

I've included a couple of snaps of the team's home jersey for you to share with your readers. I hope this will inspire supporters from around the world to share their lesser known team jerseys and stories with you, and perhaps it could become a regular feature.

Only one last thing to add: 'MON T'HAWKS!

Do you have a story to share? Email me and I'll get some good ones posted on the blog.

Gotta have something to read here, right?

In the meantime, I still have so many unread emails in my inbox relating mostly to new minor league uniforms. I think I'll start posting some of those links as I find the time, if only to keep the site fresh.

Elsewhere on icethetics.info, don't forget the the IceHL Project is back and better than ever. We're more than halfway through the process of designing jerseys for all 30 teams. In fact, right now you can vote for the Southeast Division jerseys. Plus, we'll have to design logos for a couple of expansion teams pretty soon.

Plenty still going on in other areas of the site, even if there isn't much news to report on the blog. And of course, don't forget, new concept posts are still going up every single day.