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Chris Smith

Get ready for 7 amazing minor league jerseys this season

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Get ready for 7 amazing minor league jerseys this season

They're as certain as death and taxes. Theme night jerseys in minor league hockey. And the 2014-15 season looks promising with a handful of sweaters we won't want to miss. I've combed promotional schedules around the AHL and ECHL to find these seven gems.

Among them: a pair of NBA-themed jerseys, a pair of sitcom-themed jerseys, and a jersey based on a mathematical constant. So you should keep reading this.

Reign take the crown

From Stanley Cup champion to ECHL novelty, the Los Angeles Kings' crown takes a mighty fall from grace as the Ontario Reign celebrate affiliate night.

The Reign will sport these Kings-inspired jerseys on Sat., Oct. 25. But even these simply can't compete with the most epic Kings' affiliate jersey of all time. The AHL's Manchester Monarchs wore a replica of L.A.'s infamous 1996 third last February.

A jersey about nothing

The Bakersfield Condors have surely seen their share of oddball theme jerseys — including the time they dressed like convicts on Rod Blagojevich Night in Las Vegas. But this season the ECHL club is honoring the classic sitcom Seinfeld.

On Sun., Nov. 16, the Condors will skate out sporting Jerry's famous puffy shirt. Because who wouldn't want to dress like a pirate? The club is going all out with this Seinfeld Night. Instead of player surnames, the back of each jersey will feature the name of a character from the show.

It may sound silly, but nights like this actually do a lot of good. The Condors, owned by the Edmonton Oilers, tout that they've raised almost $900,000 for local charities over the team's history. And that's not nothing.

Duh-nuh duh-nuh, BATMAN!!

The Caped Crusader will skate in Toledo on Sat., Nov. 22. Prepare for Heroes Night from the ECHL's Toledo Walleye, who will sport Batman-themed sweaters for the game. And to make things even more fun, their opponent, the Evansville IceMen, will wear villain jerseys!

I'll be looking forward to the release of those jersey designs. But until then, take a trip down memory lane and check out the "Gotham City Crusaders" jerseys worn by the CHL's Tulsa Oilers in 2012.

But I get the feeling the Walleye's jerseys will be more Adam West than Christian Bale.

Hardwood to hockey: Charlotte

A couple weeks ago, visitors to the Concepts page were treated to a collection of hockey sweater designs for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets by Justin Wiltron. They were a huge hit and one of the highest-rated concepts of the year.

But that little fantasy will become a reality on Sat., Nov. 29 when the AHL's Charlotte Checkers celebrate Hornets Night with special jersey inspired by the local basketball franchise. I don't mean to say the Checkers are using Justin's designs — just that we're going to see an actual Hornets hockey jersey soon.

The Checkers even released a version of their logo in Hornets colors. All we can do is hope their jersey is half as cool as the ones Justin designed.

Cosby sweaters on ice

December will be dotted with the traditional ugly Christmas sweaters, but they've got nothing on the sweaters the Huxtable family made famous in the 1980s. On Sat., Jan. 24, the Toledo Walleye will grab our attention again with Cosby Sweater Night!

The Walleye have yet to release images of their Batman or Cosby jerseys, but I can't wait to see what they come up with. The concepts alone present a world of amazing possibilities. I'm betting the charities benefiting from the auctions will be well taken care of.

Hardwood to hockey: Cleveland

Another NBA franchise will get the hockey sweater treatment as Cleveland's Lake Erie Monsters celebrate Cavaliers Night on Sat., Feb. 7. That night, the AHL club will give away what promises to be a hilarious bobblehead of a Cavs player in a Monsters jersey.

And wearing number 3.14159265359...

Pi Day. It's that thing your math teacher pretends is some kind of fun holiday. Or maybe just an excuse to bring pies to school. Really, it's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. And it always equals about 3.14 — or what one might read as March 14 on the calendar.

It's particularly "interesting" this year because the next two digits in the sequence are 1 and 5 — 3.1415 (if you're not rounding), or March 14, 2015. So the ECHL's Evansville IceMen are cashing in with Pi Day jerseys!

This is a new one even for me. I truly have no idea what a Pi Day jersey looks like. So I'll be eager to see what the IceMen come up with. Meantime, I'd love to post some concepts if you have any bright ideas.


Look for another blog post like this closer to the season after more minor league teams announce special jersey nights! 

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Kings announce dates for gold Legends Night jersey

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Kings announce dates for gold Legends Night jersey

Bit late to the party, but last week the Los Angeles Kings announced their 2014-15 promotional schedule which includes three Legends Night dates. The Kings will don their new gold throwback jersey for those games.

In the spring, the Kings said they would transition to the gold version of their "Forum blue" retro jersey this season. But because of a delay in the process, the jersey wouldn't be ready until the latter half of the year.

We now know this sweater will see its first action on Thurs., Feb. 12, 2015 when the Kings host the Calgary Flames. They'll be honoring Barry Melrose.

The other two Legends Night dates are Tues., Feb. 24 and Sat., March 7. All are now in the Calendar.

Los Angeles Kings throwback jersey, 2015—

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Two NHL arenas get new names, new logos

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Two NHL arenas get new names, new logos

When they take the ice this fall, the homes of the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning will have new names. And on Wednesday, the logos for both buildings were revealed.

In Glendale, Jobing.com Arena becomes Gila River Arena — with Gila River Casinos buying the naming rights through 2023. This is the "first federally recognized Tribal naming rights deal with a sports venue that houses one of four major professional sports leagues in the country."


Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Times Forum was renamed Amalie Arena. The naming rights were picked up by Tampa-based Amalie Oil Company.

If you've never heard of it, you're part of a big club. I'm from Tampa and I've never heard of it. But that's their problem. They want better name recognition and buying up sports arena naming rights is good for that.

And for the record, it's pronounced like "family," not the weird French film.

Neither of these names or logos are especially interesting. But the jokes are okay.

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Capitals set unveiling date for 2015 Winter Classic threads

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Capitals set unveiling date for 2015 Winter Classic threads

Today, the Washington Capitals announced the 2015 NHL Winter Classic will be held at Nationals Park on New Year's Day — Thurs., Jan. 1, 2015.

But two weeks from now — on Tues., Sept. 23 — they will hold a press conference at the ballpark to unveil their jersey for the big game.

The Blackhawks will be the Caps' opponent for the Winter Classic, but it's unclear if their uniform will be unveiled at the same time.

Also missing the Winter Classic logo itself. Perhaps we'll get that between now and Sept. 23 or they'll wait to unveil it at the press conference too.

I've heard the rumblings the Caps are considering a simple red version of the throwback from their last Winter Classic appearance. That would be the least surprising way to go.

But that's not all we got from the Capitals today.


The team announced it will celebrate its 40th anniversary this season with a special logo and commemorative jersey patch.

From the press release:

The Capitals’ Opening Night at Verizon Center ... against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 9 marks the anniversary of the franchise’s first game. ... To commemorate the occasion, Capitals legends will participate in a ceremonial puck drop, and the Capitals will wear white alternate uniforms during the home opener.

There's our confirmation that the white third will stick around at least another season, by the way.

The club has not released a third jersey schedule for the rest of the year, but typically wears the sweater for a number of road games during the season. Since it's white, seeing it at a home game is rare.

So what are you hoping to see at the Winter Classic? If you have an idea, I'd love to share it on the Concepts page!

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Lightning release photo teasing new third jersey

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Lightning release photo teasing new third jersey

Photo from Tampa Bay Lightning via Facebook

So it begins. The Tampa Bay Lightning started the first third jersey teaser campaign of the 2014 offseason this morning.

The team posted a black and white photo on Facebook and Twitter today with the cryptic caption "...are you ready?"

In the photo, Steven Stamkos is shown from the shoulders up wearing a sweater we've never seen before. Black seemingly. Even the template looks new to my eyes. What do you see?

By the way, I toyed with the photo a bit, adding some blue where we might expect it.

Photo re-colored by Icethetics

A full unveiling of the jersey may be coming in the next few days or so. Stay tuned!


UPDATE · Sep 10 · Turns out the unveiling seems to be set for Sat., Sept. 27 when the Lightning hold their annual Fan Fest.

A later tweet featured the same photo as before with the tag line "Black Out the Date" added. Sounds like the Bolts' marketing team will be promoting "Black Out" nights when the team wears its new sweater during the season.

The third jersey dates were already released by the team last month. The on-ice debut will be on Thurs., Nov. 13 when Tampa hosts the Sharks.

I'm told more sneak peek photos are on the way. Keep an eye on this photo gallery from the team's website to be the first to see them. Or just keep checking back here at Icethetics.

Finally, the Tampa Bay Times Forum is no more and the logo for the newly renamed Amalie Arena was released today.

Talk about uninspiring.

You might recall a couple of blog posts I did last year on arena logos. Check out the Eastern Conference and Western Conference at these links. And for the post that includes the Ice Palace, click here.

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