ECHL Opens All-Star Jersey Voting

Three finalists selected; voting ends Monday

Polls have officially opened on the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic jersey design contest hosted by the Orlando Solar Bears. Last week, the Solar Bears began accepting submissions from fans. Today, the three finalists were revealed as voting began. Take a look at the options presented to voters.

Image from Orlando Solar Bears

According to the press release, the Solar Bears received more than a hundred entries and the finalists were selected by "a group made up of individuals from the ECHL, CCM, the Joe Bosack Design Co. and the Orlando Solar Bears."

Polls close Mon., Dec. 23 at noon ET so VOTE NOW!

Icethetics contributor's design among finalists

Unfortunately, the Solar Bears elected not to include the designers' names with their entries in the poll of finalists. However, we do know "C" was designed by frequent Icethetics concept contributor Matt McElroy, who tweeted about it earlier today. It also showcases his IceBorn concept template, which is featured here on Icethetics. Good luck to Matt!

For a look at some other all-star jersey submissions which were not among the finalists, check out yesterday's post on the Concepts page.

What do you think of the finalists? And which one will you be voting for?

ECHL Hosts All-Star Design Contest

League accepting fan jersey submissions for 2015 event

Feel like designing a couple of hockey jerseys this weekend?

Players participating in the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic could be wearing uniforms designed by you! This week, the ECHL and the Orlando Solar Bears (the 2015 All-Star host) announced a jersey design contest for the big event.

They are accepting submissions from fans until next Friday, Dec. 13. Three finalists will be selected and posted to the Solar Bears' Facebook page the following week, when the designs will be put to a public vote. Voting runs Wed., Dec. 18 through Mon., Dec. 23.

All finalists will receive autographed replica jerseys. The grand prize winner gets a game-worn jersey and, of course, the opportunity to see his design in action. The winning jersey will be worn by the ECHL All-Stars team, which will face the Solar Bears.

If you're interested in participating, you can find more information and rules for entering on the ECHL's official website. That link also includes a handful of official all-star logos you can download to include in your design. I know we have a lot of younger readers here, but you must be 18 or older to enter.

Also, feel free to send your submissions to me as well and I'll put together a post on the Concepts page.

Finally, in case you're wondering, there will not be an ECHL All-Star game this season. According to the league, there were no bids to host. The first time league skipped the event was 1993. Prior to that, it had been held annually since 1993.

Last year, the Colorado Eagles hosted. In 2011, it was the Bakersfield Condors.

If you need a jersey template, try our new Templates page. Good luck!

IceCaps Unveil Third Jersey

New look designed by a fan of the St. John's club in 2011

As promised, the AHL's St. John's IceCaps unveiled their first ever third jersey on Friday night — complete with the brand new crest seen above. The team had been previewing the new look with daily teaser photos on Instagram since Oct. 28.

The coolest part of this new jersey is how it came about. That story follows these photos.

Photos from St. John's IceCaps

Check out this excerpt from the team's press release:

The jersey was designed by Troy Birmingham, a graphic artist from St. John’s, who approached the team with his concept when the club was formed in 2011. It was the first time Birmingham had designed a logo for a sports team.

To all you concept artists, I guess sometimes it does pay off to approach a team with your design. Great to see the IceCaps taking advice from their fan base on this jersey design.

Photo from St. John's IceCaps

For specifics on how Birmingham's design came about, here's another chunk of the release:

He explains his inspiration: “The primary logo was meant to represent the province as a whole, so for the third jersey I wanted a logo that was a bit more specific to the city, that’s why I used Cabot Tower,” said Mr. Birmingham.

“The font was meant to represent ice-grey gradient, power and motion and I included a stylized iceberg. I included the small outline of Newfoundland and Labrador to tie the alternate logo to the primary logo and have a connection with the original logo.

“For the jersey itself, I wanted to keep a similar colour scheme to the primary jersey but I wanted a traditional look and feel. It kind of reminds me of an old jersey from the 1970′s with the square shoulders.”

The IceCaps debuted the new look for their game against the Manchester Monarchs on Friday where they won 5-2. They'll face the Monarchs again tonight where the same sweaters.

Photos from St. John's IceCaps (via Facebook)

The new looks is fantastic — just what the IceCaps needed to infuse a bit of their own identity. For the last two years they've simply been wearing the jerseys of their NHL affiliate, the Jets. So it's nice to see them go their own way a bit here.

That's the positive. I also have a couple of negatives. The provincial flag on the shoulder is a bad trend. It started with the Calgary Flames in 2007 and the launch of their Reebok Edge jerseys. We then saw Abbotsford of the AHL follow suit.

I can only speak for myself, but I really don't want to see this become a regular thing. The way I see it, throwing a flag on your jersey is a lazy way of connecting to the locals. If your own trademarked logos can't do that job, come up with new logos that do.

Photo from St. John's IceCaps

I'm also not crazy about the crest. I like the tie-in to the city of St. John's certainly, but I'm just not sure it's a well-executed design. The text is the focal point and it has my least favorite feature in the world — a gradient.

But those are just minor issues in the overall picture. The jersey's colors and striping are cool and unique and I really like the square shoulder yokes here. In action, they look great!

St. John's to host 2014 AHL All-Star Classic

While we're on the subject of St. John's, N.L., I should point out that they're hosting the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic. The logo for the event was released back in September along with the announcement of a brand new format.

Instead of pitting two teams of AHL stars against one another, a single team of AHLers will face off against Färjestad BK from the Swedish Hockey League — known as the Swedish Elite League (or Elitserien) until this year. According to the AHL, it's the first time a Swedish club will compete in North America.

That game will take place on Wed., Feb. 12 and Canadians will be able to watch live on Sportsnet.

I'll leave you now with a look at Färjestad's logo. Pretty standard stuff for a European hockey team.

Columbus Hosting All-Stars in 2015

City was set to have game in 2013 before lockout

As expected, the city of Columbus will get a second chance at hosting the NHL All-Star Game in 2015. The announcement was made tonight by the NHL, who also released an updated event's logo.

Ohio's capital was originally scheduled to host the game in 2013, but when the season was shortened by the lockout, the All-Star Game was one of the annual league events to get the ax — along with the Winter Classic which was rescheduled for this season. 

There will be no All-Star Game in 2014 to accommodate the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Who should be the next two hosts?

Not much more to say on this, so let's look ahead. Who do you think should host in 2016? And more important, how about 2017 during the NHL 100th anniversary season? Montreal had it in 2009 and Ottawa in 2012. The only other original NHL city is Toronto and they last hosted in 2000.

ECHL Unveils 2015 All-Star Logo

Orlando will host the game on Jan. 21

The event is still 16 months away, but the logo for the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic is already here! Can't accuse anybody of dragging their feet on this one.

The ECHL named the Orlando Solar Bears host of the 2015 event back on June 26. Then just yesterday, the logo was officially unveiled. This may be the earliest we've ever gotten an official look at a major event logo in any league.

The logo is basically an extension of the Solar Bears brand. No surprise given how Orlando is going to want to really own this event. Of course the Joe Bosack Graphic Design Co. was behind the design of this mark as well as the rest of the Solar Bears' identity.

There's one more detail that caught my eye in all of Monday's press releases. Check this out:

In addition, CCM will provide the All-Star game jerseys which will be designed by one lucky winner of the ECHL All-Star Jersey Design Contest.

So there's going to be an ECHL All-Star Jersey Design Contest. I assume we'll get more details down the road. I don't imagine it will actually take place for another year. But definitely something to pay attention to. I'd love to see one of our talented concept artists create something for the ECHL's All-Stars.

ECHL has yet to announce an All-Star host for 2014

By the way, if you're searching your memory for the 2014 ECHL All-Star Game logo, you won't find it. Not only doesn't it exist, the league hasn't even named a host yet. One ECHL blogger learned last month from the league that there apparently aren't any teams interested in hosting in 2014.

So the ECHL may skip it this season. No big loss, I guess. With the Olympics and all, who'd be paying attention anyway? Still, it's one less new logo for us to stare at.

What are your thoughts on the 2015 logo? Love, hate, indifferent?

Jersey Brief: AHL Classic Edition

Late January was a busy time for some "classic" American Hockey League uniforms. We'll start with the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic which took place on Sun., Jan. 20 at HersheyPark in Hershey, Penn. between the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. (Does anyone else have a sudden urge for chocolate?)

Photos by Matthew O'Haren / The Sentinel

By the way, it turns out that jersey the Pens photographed for Instagram last October was the one they'd be wearing to the big outdoor game a few months later. Now we know. It's surprisingly lackluster for the Penguins, but it works for an outdoor hockey game, which sort of demands that old-timey look and feel.

Photos by Kyle Mace / Sweetest Hockey on Earth

The Penguins ended up winning the game in an OT thriller on a goal from Paul Thompson.

By the way, for more fantastic photos of the Bears' uniforms from the game, head on over to Sweetest Hockey on Earth. Lots of great shots by Kyle Mace. I particularly like the felt appliqué crests on these. Adds even more to the throwback feel of an event like this. Penn Live has more game photos.

Speaking of throwbacks, before the Outdoor Classic, a bunch of alumni from the Bears and Penguins got together for a game of their own — wearing, of course, sweaters of olde.

Photos by JustSports Photography

JustSports Photography has posted shots from the game on their Facebook page. (Note there were three separate links there as they posted their many photos in three separate albums.)

That wasn't the only classic AHL game in the month of January.

Just over a week later, on Mon., Jan. 28, the best players still left in the AHL (after the NHL nabbed a bunch of them) descended on Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. for the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic. After 15 years of pitting an all-Canadian AHL team against players born in other parts of the world, the league switched up their All-Star format in 2010 — to east versus west.

Photos from AHL via Facebook

Since it's not obvious from the sweaters, I'll tell you that the team wearing blue was the Western Conference All-Stars. The Eastern Conference wore white. And both teams feel like a bizarre mix between the old Montreal Canadiens' and Washington Capitals' uniforms for some reason.

For those of you that can't get enough of these "fauxback" jerseys, the AHL is the league to watch right now. And if you want one of your very own, they're up for auction on ebay.

Photo from AHL via Facebook

The West ended up winning the game 7-6. (Maybe because East players started shooting on their own goalie?) But what's interesting about the teams' jerseys is that they were worn during warms-up prior to last year's All-Star Classic. Why is that interesting? Check out this year's warm-up jerseys.

Photos from AHL via Facebook

I'm not saying they AHL All-Stars will wear black and gold in 2014, but these are unique. I doubt the league would stray from their red, white and blue. I'm also not sure I like how the Boston Bruins' primary and secondary logos have been redesigned for the purpose of this event. Seems like they could've been a little more original.

In case you're interested, the Journal Star reported last month that the AHL is considering Peoria to host the 2014 All-Star Classic. (Concept logos, anyone?)

And finally, this...

On first glance, from above, it looks like this could be the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators — or the Boston Bruins in their 2009 Winter Classic threads. But no, it's Providence and Worcester both wearing colored sweaters! Proof that you don't need a white jersey to have a hockey game.

Get with it, NHL. If they can do it, certainly you can too.

ECHL Unveils 2013 All-Star Jerseys

ECHL's 2013 All-Star Game jerseys unveiled Nov. 21

Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S., the ECHL unveiled the uniforms that will be worn at the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game. The jerseys were revealed at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo. — home of the host Colorado Eagles — during the first intermission of their game against the Florida Everblades.

Game features Colorado Eagles vs. ECHL All-Stars

The ECHL is continuing with a new format introduced at the last All-Star event in 2011 (the ECHL did not hold one in 2012), where the host team faces off against the top players from across the league. If that seems a little one-sided, you're not wrong.

The Bakersfield Condors lost to the All-Stars 9-3 in 2011. Currently, the Eagles are third in their division (of four teams) with a record of 8-7-1-2 — which is to say they're mediocre. So it's not like the league's best team is taking on the all-star roster. That said, it's easier to sell All-Star Game tickets in Loveland when the locals can cheer on their own team.

Photo by John Babitz

Four jerseys designed for All-Star Week events

Reebok has designed a total of four different sweaters for the ECHL's All-Star Week festivities, one set for the big game and another for the Skills Competition. The Eagles, who normally wear black, will sport a blue jersey with a few stars around the waist. The All-Stars will wear white with the event logo on the front. All jerseys will have the ECHL's 25th anniversary logo on one shoulder.

For the Skills Competition, the Eagles jersey will have the team name written diagonally down the front. The All-Stars will wear the same white jersey but with their own team's crest on the front. And if all these jerseys feel reminiscent of the NHL's old Colorado Rockies, that's sort of the point.

Uniform designs an homage to NHL's old Colorado Rockies

From the Eagles' press release:

With the strong Colorado theme, it made sense for the jerseys to also pay homage to Colorado's rich hockey history. As such, the jerseys worn by both teams will include the main colors from the state's flag (red, blue and yellow) and are strikingly similar to the jerseys worn by the National Hockey League's former Colorado Rockies franchise, which played in Denver from 1976 through 1982 (before moving to New Jersey as the current day Devils). The ECHL's championship trophy, the Kelly Cup, was named after Patrick Kelly, who coached the Colorado Rockies in 1977-78.

If you want to get your hands on one of the jerseys, here's how:

Replicas of each, except the All-Star team Skills event jerseys, will be available exclusively at the Eagles' holiday store in the Foothills Mall in Ft. Collins, Colo. through Dec. 30. After the new year, the aforementioned jerseys will be available online. Game-worn jerseys from both events will be available via auction from The MeiGray Group; details will be announced in January.

This news came just two days before the NHL announced the cancellation of its 2013 All-Star Game in Columbus. Seeing the unique format the ECHL uses, what do you think of the NHL doing something similar in the future? What sort of format would you like to see?

NHL Unveils 2013 All-Star Game Logo

Outside Nationwide Arena today in Columbus, the NHL unveiled the 2013 All-Star Game logo in front of a surprisingly large crowd.

The logo is par for the course on NHL All-Star logos over the past decade. Nothing surprising. The designers honed in on a recognizable symbol (Ohio's state flag) and were sure to work in some other elements of the host team's identity.

The star and crossed hockey sticks were lifted off the Jackets' shoulder patch. Though technically the sticks are an emblem on a Union soldier's hat, but you get the picture. Plus you wouldn't want anyone in Columbus to see the logo and mistake it for another sport.

All right, I'm not trying to take potshots at the logo. It's a good logo. It's just not mind-blowingly impressive or anything. To quote a fittingly tired phrase, it is what it is.

A big crowd takes in the logo unveiling ceremonyEarlier, I expressed surprise at the size of the crowd, not because of the rotten seasons the Blue Jackets have been having (ergo, jaded fans), but rather because this was nothing more than an unveiling for a logo with a shelf-life of 275 days.

Goes to show that hockey fans in Columbus don't need a winning team to be great hockey fans! My fellow Lightning fans from the '90s and I know a thing or two about that. Granted, there probably weren't as many of us back then.

I didn't hear any mention of the All-Star uniforms today. If I had to guess, I'd say we get the same ones for a third year in a row — which would be a first since the mid-90s. Those teal and purple jerseys were used from 1994 to 1997.

I'm not saying it's necessarily bad thing that we'll get them again. I actually like them a lot. But it would be one less new NHL design to anticipate in 2012. But I assume Reebok spent a lot of time on those 2010 jerseys, so they want to get their money's worth.

If you missed the live-streamed unveiling today, you can watch the cannon fire here.

I'd love to know what everyone else thinks. Share your critiques in the comments.

New All-Star Logo Coming Friday

The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that the 2013 NHL All-Star Game logo will be unveiled at Nationwide Arena this Friday. The event will take place at noon ET.

The team designing the logo, Frederick & Froberg Design Group, have been hard at work on the new mark for the past several months. For more background on the design process, check out this blog post from February.

If you'd like to see what some of our talented concept artists have come up with for the next All-Star Game, click here to have a look.

Drop by Icethetics on Friday to see the logo and share your reaction.

At Work on Columbus' NHL All-Star Logo

Since I'm in the process of reinvigorating the Concepts page here at Icethetics (with new concept posts daily!), it seems only fitting that this latest blog update features a number of professional concept logos that have been created for the NHL.

It all comes by way of a video posted on the Columbus Blue Jackets' website — the first in a series chronicling the development of the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend.

In the video, the guys who will be designing the All-Star logo talk about the process. It's all very fascinating to people like us.

Bill Frederick of the Frederick & Froberg Design Group and NHL Senior Design Director Paul Conway arrived in Columbus Tuesday to meet with Blue Jackets marketing and creative team members and begin planning the art for the 2013 All-Star celebration. Conway and Frederick have been a part of several NHL sanctioned event logo designs, most recently working on the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa.

NHL All-Star 2012 logo developmentPerhaps the best part of the video is the B-roll in which we see the logo designers leafing through their incredible portfolio. Getting to see the logos that didn't make the final cut is very cool.

On the right are three screen grabs from the video that show the early development process of the 2012 NHL All-Star logo. Interestingly, it was the design labeled Concept A that appears closest to the final version.

Concept B is pretty nice, but it makes sense the overall shape of an All-Star logo is more of a — you know — star. And I guess the Peace Tower was kind of the obvious choice as far as a central design theme.

As the designers say in the video, the first thing they do is try to determine what makes the host city iconic — if anything. The goal isn't to rework the host team's primary logo with some stars in it — despite the fact that that's basically what happened with the 2011 game in Raleigh.

As Conway says:

“Some cities are more challenging than others, and Columbus certainly is one of those. There’s not that one key iconic aspect of the city that stands out, which makes this research phase and interview process even more critical.”

Columbus is a beautiful city, but I'm not sure the skyline is recognizable enough to cut it here. It'll be interesting to see what they go with since the Blue Jackets' primary mark is basically tailor-made for an All-Star logo — what with it being a giant star and all.

I hope the Blue Jackets continue to release videos throughout this process. It'll be fun to follow along with the development of an NHL logo. It's something we rarely get an inside look at — and something no Icethetics reader can get enough of.

Conway says the process can take about four to six weeks from start to finish. But that doesn't necessarily mean the official logo will be unveiled in April. It may not come until late summer. We'll obviously be keeping an eye on it.

One more thing. In the video we see someone thumbing through a Blue Jackets logo portfolio. It appears to share a glimpse of elements of an unused third jersey design.

I would guess the logo we see there was probably an intended shoulder patch. Beneath it we can see the numbers and letters that are actually used on the current third jersey — only in different colors. Bet it would've been a neat look. (UPDATE 2/26: After the initial post, Avi Stein put together a hi-res rendering of what we can see in that video frame.) And if you feel like putting together a uniform concept featuring this logo, maybe you can take some inspiration from some other Blue Jackets third jersey prototypes seen here last year.

For what it's worth, the NHL is currently promoting the 2013 All-Star Weekend with graphics like the one seen here. But it's merely the Blue Jackets' custom font. Nothing special — or permanent.

My thanks to Mike R. for letting me know about the video.

While we're on the subject of logo development, Denver Post beat writer Adrian Dater posted a podcast he did with Dan Price, the creative director for the Colorado Avalanche in 1995 when the team moved from Quebec. He was responsible for the logo, but credits Michael Beindorff with actually designing it.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview to me was learning that the franchise was originally going to be named the Rocky Mountain Extreme. The name was actually leaked early by Dater in the Post but Denver hockey fans revolted and the marketing guys went back to the drawing board. Price points out that before the organization settled on Avalanche, they also considered naming the team Cougars and Black Bears. Glad they went with Avs.

Price is currently the head of a local marketing firm called Adrenalin. They are responsible for rebranding the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003 when Wayne Gretzky got involved with the team. Anyway, the podcast is a good listen if you've got a half hour to kill. But a necessity if you're an Avs fan.

NHL Recycling 2011 All-Star Jerseys?

Sens Town posts photo of apparently leaked 2012 All-Star jerseys — which look quite familiar

According to Ottawa-based blog Sens Town, the 2012 NHL All-Stars will wear the same uniforms they donned in 2011 in Raleigh. The blog claims to have "gotten ahold" of photos that prove this. The shot above shows the old jerseys with the 2012 All-Star Game logo on the shoulders.

In the blog post, Stephen Smith writes: "It appears the only difference is a few minor touches on the sides."

2011 NHL All-Star jerseysI'm not sure what he means by that unless he has other photos he didn't publish. From what I can see here, the design of both jerseys appear to be exactly the same as last year's — sides and all.

While the sweaters were highly unpopular with readers last year, personally, I was a fan. I love seeing the league try new things. It annoys me that ultra-traditionalists think every hockey uniform should look exactly like it did in 1960s. How perfectly dull. There's a time and place for it — the Winter Classic, for example.

So we'll see if this turns out to be true. I have no reason to believe it won't. In fact, in my Nov. 28 post about the Rangers' Winter Classic jersey unveiling, I flat out said I wouldn't be surprised if the league just recycled last year's All-Star look. It's a good one. It deserves to stick around another year or two.

That brings me to one last thought. Despite the NHL realigning next year, there won't be any need to reformat the Fantasy Draft/All-Star Game since players aren't divided up by conference anymore anyway. Having said that, I'm sure not everyone would agree. So after realignment in 2012, should the 2013 All-Star Game be reformatted? And if so, how?

Super Skills & Super Shenanigans

This year's NHL SuperSkills Competition was not nearly as memorable as Montreal's in 2009, but it was still a fun part of the 2011 All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, N.C.

In case you missed it, I thought I'd recap some noteworthy Icethetics-related elements from the event — you know, logos and uniforms and such. There were errors and shenanigans of course, but what surprised me were the technical mistakes on both Versus and CBC coverage. I kept switching back and forth tonight.

As someone who used to direct live television, I know things can get out of hand and missteps are anything but few and far between when you barely know what's coming next. But I felt like both broadcasts had more than their share of issues, be it incorrect graphics or bad communication between the truck and the ice.

Misrepresentin' / Glen CuthbertBut it wasn't just the broadcast guys that had to battle some hiccups. The night began with your typical player introductions. The player's number, surname and team logo were projected onto a sheet of dry ice they could skate through as their names were called.

It was a cool effect. For everyone but Patrick Sharp. Ouch.

Glen Cuthbert nabbed this shot from his TV screen, clearly showing Sharp's name above a Columbus Blue Jackets logo. I'm sure that didn't panic any Blackhawks fans for no reason. Or maybe Stan Bowman has been busy this weekend.

Interestingly, Sharp is the only Hawks player on Team Staal, which is being coached tomorrow by Chicago bench boss Joel Quenneville. Kane, Toews and Keith are on Team Lidstrom under the direction of Peter Laviolette, the coach of they team they beat for the 2010 Stanley Cup championship.

Anyway, this is a pretty big mistake on a pretty big stage. Sadly, it tells us that whoever was designing the projection graphics is not a hockey fan. I'm sure it was just one of many All-Star elements farmed out by the folks in Raleigh. Shame about that.

Subban sports Skinner's sweater / NHLIThe shenanigans continued even after the competition got underway.

At the urging of Dan Boyle, a guy who knows a thing or two about how to please a home crowd, Jeff Skinner gave P.K. Subban the jersey right off his back to wear for the Breakaway Challenge.

Canadiens fans may not have liked it, but the crowd in North Carolina sure did. Subban was met with wild cheers and put on some pretty smooth moves.

The jovial stunt helped Subban win second place with 20% of the fan vote and three points for Team Staal — which obliterated Team Lidstrom, by the way. The final was 33-22, much to my dismay.

Jamie McBain's many patches / NHLIThis bit isn't really shenanigans, I just thought it was funny. Jamie McBain, the rookie selected to replace Jeff Skinner after he got bumped up to full-on All-Star, started turning into an emo kid's backpack with all the patches he had on his jersey.

All of the rookies at the SuperSkills Competition, save Skinner, wore a Rookie Face-Off patch on their sweaters so we could tell them apart from the real All-Stars. But because McBain was already wearing the All-Star Game patch like all Hurricanes players, it had to be shifted to the other shoulder.

Add to that, he's got the regular shoulder patches on his Canes sweater and there's no room for anything else. Good thing he wasn't a captain or anything.

SuperSkills event logos / NHL.comAs I watched the SuperSkills Competition tonight, I really noticed how much of a branding frenzy the All-Star Weekend can be.

Not only did the competition itself have a logo (top), but every one of the six events had its own logo (left). And I do understand the reason behind it all. It's just another opportunity to grab some all-important sponsorship dollars.

But I think we should really count up just how many logos were created specifically for this weekend — and that will never be used again. Doesn't the money spent on designers sort of cancel out all the sponsorship money?

Okay, maybe I'm just being ridiculous.

But seriously, just set aside all the team logos on the ice. Every SuperSkills event had its own logo. The rookies have one. The SuperSkills Competition and Fantasy Draft have logos, not to mention the game itself and all of the different variations along with Fan Fair and all that fun stuff.

Branding the NHL All-Star Weekend is no small task, obviously. But I am curious as to why the SuperSkills logo is blue while everything else is red. Seems odd, but perhaps it has to do with the sponsor, Honda, preferring blue over red?

As you know, the All-Star festivities actually kicked off Friday night with that highly anticipated All-Star Player Fantasy Draft.

Captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom made their selections with the help of their alternate captains. Staal of course took teammate Cam Ward first and Lidstrom's first choice was Stamkos, assuring the deadly St. Louis-Stamkos combination for Sunday night.

If you watched, you noticed that players were handed jerseys with their name and numbers already stitched on as soon as they were picked. As confirmed by Bob McKenzie, both blue and white jerseys were prepared for all 36 players and the appropriate jersey was brought out when the player was selected.

The rookies, who came out and picked which team they wanted to join after the 15th round of the draft, stood on stage holding both white and blue jerseys with their names on them. Once the teams were selected, the gave up the other jersey. At the end of the day, it all boiled down to a lot of extra work for the equipment guys. But they get to stand behind the bench at the All-Star Game, so I'm sure they're not complaining.

I think that wraps it all up. Anyone else pick up on anything noteworthy from the last two nights?

All-Star Team Captains Named

All-Star team captains named / NHL.comWe can stop referring to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game opponents as Team Red and Team Blue. This morning, the league revealed the two team captains.

Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom were selected by a vote of the 42 players named to this year's All-Star roster. Team Staal will wear red and Team Lidstrom will sport blue.

I'm not questioning the validity of the vote, but it does seem rather convenient that one of the captains plays for the host team, and as a pair, we have one from the East and one from the West.

To be fair, hockey players seem like a magnanimous bunch when it comes to things like this, so I could see them picking the hometown hero. And Lidstrom, well, he's an 11-time All-Star on his own. No question.

It is refreshing to see that Crosby (unless his injury keeps him out) and Ovechkin will be standing behind the fence waiting to be picked, and — perish the thought — not the center of attention. But it just goes to show who's popular among the players.

So how do you see the Fantasy Draft playing out? Does Staal take the North Americans while Lidstrom goes with the Europeans and Russians? Do they each get a Sedin twin? Do they snub their rivals?

An All-Star cover-up / Uni WatchWhile you ponder that, here's something else. Uni Watch posted a photo yesterday that clearly shows the decision to reformat the All-Star Game was made after the jerseys had already been designed — and produced for that matter.

As you can see, this All-Star jersey (left) on display at the NHL store in New York City is covering up a little secret.

The blue jerseys were originally going to be worn by the Western Conference team. Red would've been worn by the East, of course. And each conference would've gotten a brand new All-Star logo, as this does not match what was used in 2009, 2008 or 2007.

My guess is that the rest of the jersey design remained the same — the NHL shield as the crest and all — while the conference would've been identified only on the back beneath the number. I'm sure it would've looked just fine, but I'm glad they chose to reformat the game.

Regardless, it looks like Staal and Lidstrom ended up in the right sweaters anyway. Now the question is, who will join them? We find out on Friday, Jan. 28.

All-Star Sweaters from the Back

On Tuesday we were inundated by images of the new 2011 NHL All-Star Game uniforms. But there was one problem. All we saw was the front. And that's left us with a few questions.

First, what does the design on the back even look like? And second, how are the numbers and surnames styled? Today we have our answers.

Backs of All-Star jerseys / from NHL.comThe NHL's online store now has the sweaters available for customization and that means we can preview the numbering and lettering in advance of All-Star Weekend.

Of course we won't know who'll play for which team until the Fantasy Draft on Jan. 28. So if you want to get your favorite player's name and digits stitched on the back, you'll just have to guess until then.

One interesting feature you notice straight away about the design on the back is that, while we all thought the pinstripes just stopped at the elbow, it turns out they didn't. They just teleported to the other side of the sleeve and kept going.

Some have called it a baseball-inspired uniform element. I'm not so sure. But regardless, I do like it. It's one of those things that I've not seen on a hockey jersey before.

I talked Monday about how I liked the outside-the-box thinking on these and all All-Star jerseys. One commenter then said, "there's such a thing as going too far."

I have to laugh at the overblown rhetoric for a simple website like this. Going too far? The Florida Everblades decorated their jerseys like Christmas trees this year. That's going too far. This is an attempt at something new that still keeps a very professional feel while attracting a younger crowd.

And sure, you're free to disagree. Many of you seem to be traditionalists when it comes to hockey sweaters. But personally, I hope you don't win out. Because that will make our sport look really dull. And I like that it stands out, especially at the All-Star Game.

Official: NHL All-Star Jerseys Revealed

2011 All-Star jerseys / from WRAL-TVThis morning on WRAL-TV, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game sweaters were officially unveiled in the host city of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Carolina Hurricanes marketing director Doug Warf stopped by the station's studio to show off the new jerseys. In his segment, he talked about some of what went into designing them:

  • Colors, six of them, were selected because they represent the majority of teams in the NHL. (At least they kept black out of it.)
  • NHL shield was used as the crest because we won't know the team's names until the captains are selected. (Which we knew already.)
  • Warf says the captains will be picked a week from today on Jan. 18.
  • Red team is "home" while blue team is "road." Warf doesn't say how that was determined since the dark jersey is typically worn at home in the NHL. (Maybe because the host team color is red?)
  • Reebok is trying new things. Oh geez.

This unveiling comes just a day after we got an early look at one of them here at Icethetics. Now we're able to have a good look at both of them.

2011 NHL All-Star replica jerseys / from NHL.comAs predicted, the blue sweater is the inverse with all of the same design elements as the red one. Aside from the colors, the main difference between the two is that the All-Star patch is on the left shoulder of the blue jersey while it's on the right shoulder of the white one. 

The league confirms the opposite shoulder will bear the player's home team logo. That article also contains more details about the uniforms including Reebok's new Smoothfit numbering and lettering. Good luck buying an authentic customized jersey.

As a side note, the more I see the red jersey, the more the lighter shade starts looking like pink. But I'm sure it'll look fine under the lights on the ice. Well, I hope. Also today, with just 17 days until the Fantasy Draft, the full 42-man All-Star roster has been announced. Half of that group has never been to an All-Star Game before, so that will be fun.

Who do you think the players will pick as captains? And who do you think the captains will pick? Or instead, if you were an All-Star captain, who would you pick? List your rosters below (paragraph form with commas please, bullet lists will be deleted). And don't forget to tell us what you think of the two sweaters.

Exclusive: Red All-Star Jersey Surfaces

Red 2011 All-Star jersey / exclusive to IcetheticsJust last week I shared some details of an early sneak peek I got of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game uniforms.

Today, a loyal Icethetics reader emailed in a photo of the red team's jersey. I'm told the sweater was found hanging on a rack inside a Pittsburgh sporting goods store. You can see some Penguins jerseys beside it.

I don't want to reveal where exactly this was found as I'm not looking to get anyone in trouble, merely to show you guys. A few observations based on the photo:

  • The gaudy Reebok patch on the front tells us this is a Premier replica jersey, not an Authentic one like the players will wear.
  • The collar is a style we've never before seen on a Reebok Edge jersey. Nice to see something fresh.
  • The red NHL shield fits perfectly with what was posted last week, but because this isn't a customized jersey, there's no number above it.
  • There appear to be red stars spaced out around the bottom of the sweater just above silver and maroon stripes.
  • The arced pinstripes on the lower part of the sleeves resemble what I was trying to describe as the design inside the numbers on the back of the uniform.
  • And the All-Star Game logo patch seems to be placed on the top of the right shoulder, not the front as previously assumed.

I still don't have a picture of the blue jersey to share but it's probably a safe bet it will be the inverse of this one. Having seen this, are there any concept artists that care to take a stab at the set? You have my email.

Preview: New Look for NHL All-Stars

2011 All-Star team logos / Icethetics renderingThe best players in the NHL will get together at the end of the month for what's arguably the most fun event of the hockey season. And Icethetics has a preview of what they'll be wearing.

Since the league changed the format of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, there's no East vs. West. And no North America vs. the World. Instead, two captains will hand pick their teams in the coolest fantasy draft ever.

I recently got a sneak peek at the new uniforms and logos to come — though the official unveiling date must be imminent. Each team will wear a colorized version of the NHL shield with two stars placed inside.

I'm not sure what the teams will be named yet, but as you can see, one will wear blue and the other red — the NHL's two favorite colors. The logos above are the crests from the front of the sweaters. But there's more I can share so I'm breaking it down here, bullet style:

  • Team Blue will don dark blue jerseys while Team Red sports white.
  • On both uniforms, it looks like the jersey number will be placed on the front, centered just above the colorized NHL shield.
  • The numbers on the back have a unique look, filled with unevenly spaced thin lines that angle upward. Hard to describe but you'll understand when you see it.
  • The numbers and surname letters are set in italicized text, not your typical block font.
  • It also looks like both jerseys have the 2011 All-Star Game logo sewn on the front, right shoulder.

At this time, I have no information about the striping or any other elements of the jerseys. We'll have to wait until the NHL is ready to show it to us. Have to ask, though: What's taking so long?

In the meantime, just know that the above logos are renderings I've made based on what I've seen and been told up to now. Things can change, but as of now I do believe them to be accurate.

Ottawa to Host 2012 All-Stars

NHL unveils 2012 All-Star logoThe Ottawa Senators will host the 59th NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29, 2012, the league announced today.

No time was wasted in unveiling the new logo for the event. It features the Peace Tower, which was a key element in the original Senators' logo, which was replaced by the time the team took the ice in 1992.

It will be the first time hosting All-Star festivities for Canada's capital city. All-Star Weekend will take place Jan. 28-29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

Some other bits of information that might be of interest: This will be the fourth consecutive All-Star Game hosted by an Eastern Conference team. But to be fair, the East hosted only one game between 2001 and 2007, and that was in South Florida in 2003. (Also '05 and '06 had no All-Star games.)

Also, Tthe 2011-12 season marks the Sens' 20th anniversary. And while it is Ottawa's first time hosting the All-Star weekend, they did host the NHL Entry Drafts in 2005 and 2008.

By the way, it took the league almost four months to give up the logo for this year's All-Star Game after the Hurricanes were announced as host in April. This one we got the same day. Yet we're still waiting just to see the uniforms for the 2011 All-Star Game. Something's out of order here.

You can read more about the 2012 All-Star Game on the Senators' website.

All-Star 2011 Logo Unveiled!

Hurricanes unveil 2011 All-Star Game logoThe Carolina Hurricanes unveiled the 2011 NHL All-Star Game logo today in downtown Raleigh. They also revealed a giant window treatment on the RBC Plaza building promoting All-Star Weekend.

The NHL released its official description of the logo as well:

The primary color of the logo is a tribute to the Hurricanes and their legion of fans, the ‘Caniacs,’ who display their team pride by wearing red during home games at the RBC Center. Also, the holding shape is consistent with the Hurricanes’ primary logo.

With the 2011 NHL All-Star Game being played in the state capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, and the popularity of the Hurricanes stretching well beyond the Triangle, inspiration for the banners along the top and bottom of the logo is derived from the official flag of the state of North Carolina.

It's very, very red. Very red. I do like the subtle hurricane shape the logo sits in. Outside of that, I think it's rather red. I understand they didn't have a lot to work with, what with red being the Canes' primary color.

Anyway, what do you think of it? Share your comments below.

By the way, there were no details released regarding the All-Star uniforms. I'm not sure when we'll get our first look at those. Of course, they may just recycle those worn during the 2009 game in Montreal. Maybe swap the blue for black. Maybe not.