Hockey jersey and logo news

Major shake-up coming to minor league hockey?


Major shake-up coming to minor league hockey?

Rumors have been flying this summer about a major shake-up to minor league hockey in North America.

Most noteworthy is the potential merger of the ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League) and the CHL (Central Hockey League) possibly next summer — in time for the 2015-16 season.

A handful of west coast NHL teams would love to have their player development systems a little closer to home — geographically, anyway.

The top tier minor league is the AHL (American Hockey League). The teams are heavily concentrated in the northeastern United States — six of 30 are in New York state alone — and none are farther west than San Antonio, Texas.

The Kings, Coyotes, Sharks and Ducks are reportedly among the NHL teams looking for a big shift in the minors.

If you're interested in a long discussion about the what-ifs, I couldn't possibly improve upon the piece Travis Hughes put together on SB Nation. Give it a read if this sort of thing interests you.

All I know is it could be a huge topic of conversation here next summer and there will surely be plenty of opinions and ideas to go around.

Now let's get back to the present with a look at some of what's new heading into the 2014-15 season.

INFOGRAPHIC: Affiliations between NHL/AHL/ECHL/CHL teams in 2014-15

Click here to download full size.

Adirondack Flames jersey designs revealed

Given that the AHL's Adirondack Flames are owned by the NHL's Calgary Flames, it's no surprise to see the sweater synergy here.

I'm not aware of any "official unveiling" of these sweaters nor would I expect it. (The Heat wore the same thing, only with the yellow swapped for grey.) The above images were found on the A-Flames official online store.

Still, there are noteworthy attributes to discuss. First, the team will evidently wear "Adirondack" on its sweater beneath the flaming "A" on the crest. Seems unnecessary, but then this logo was originally used in Atlanta in the NHL in the 1970s.

Second, the Flames wear national and provincial flags on the shoulders of their uniform. But Canadian and Albertan colors would be well out of place in upstate New York.

Instead, we can see the A-Flames will use the United States flag on their left shoulder and the New York state flag on the right.

If you're unfamiliar with the New York flag, click through the mini-gallery above.

And if you want to weigh in on the design, vote in the poll to the right.

Binghamton Senators update sweaters

Never ones to be satisfied with a uniform design, the AHL's Binghamton Senators will have a new look when they hit the ice for the 2014-15 season.

The overhauled jerseys were unveiled last Thursday, Aug. 30. Both are based on the Reebok template first employed by their parent club, the Ottawa Senators, for that 2008 third jersey.

The B-Sens' alternate logo continues to take center stage on the uniforms while the primary logo that's been in use since 2002 is nowhere to be found.

Also of interest is Ottawa's secondary "O" logo seen on the right shoulder.

By the way, you may notice the CCM logo has replaced Reebok just below the collar on the back. We'll be seeing a lot more of this throughout the minors and juniors. But don't expect to see CCM in the NHL anytime soon.

We've known for a while that Adidas wants to get its Reebok brand out of hockey to focus on runners. But they still need permission from the NHL. When they get it, they'll want to use the Adidas logo.

That could happen as early as the 2015-16 season. Reebok's contract with the NHL ends in 2017.

Indy Fuel show off jerseys, mascot

On Aug. 1, the ECHL expansion franchise Indy Fuel gave us our first look at their uniforms and mascot.

The Fuel are picking up where the Cyclones left off, with a color scheme and jersey design that look awfully familiar. Guess it's a good thing Cincy went in a new creative direction this year.

The sweaters are pretty standard, but do have some unique qualities. The striping is far from earth-shattering, but the collar is one of a kind. And it sure looks to me like they're trying to mimic Nike's hockey jersey styling with those shoulders.

If you're curious about the number and letter styles, see the tweet on the right in which comedian Jim Gaffigan is presented with his own Fuel sweater.

Perhaps best of all, though, is Nitro. The "hockey-loving dragon" will serve as the Fuel's mascot. They really did refer to him that way in the press release. Have to love minor league hockey!

The Chill third that might have been

You guys remember the St. Charles Chill of the Central Hockey League? Two years ago they held a big logo design contest, won by Alex Flick. Then a year ago, they began their first season. Which also turned out to be their last season.

The Chill folded in May. Alex won season tickets for life when his logo design was chosen by the club. He probably didn't expect it to end this quickly. 

Alex had been working on a third jersey concept that was going to be used by the team this season. It's obviously not happening now, but I thought it might be worth sharing with the community.

By the way, it's been a bad offseason for the CHL. After losing the Chill, the Denver Cutthroats and Arizona Sundogs shut down in quick succession, leaving the league with just seven teams competing in 2014-15.

The news wasn't as bad in the ECHL, though. The San Francisco Bulls, as we know, folded midseason, and the Las Vegas Wranglers recently announced they were suspending operations for 2014-15 while they try to secure a new building.

Coincidentally, perhaps, that was not long before the rumors of the NHL expanding to Las Vegas. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Look for full season previews for all the leagues coming later this month.


ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones unveil new logos, uniforms


ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones unveil new logos, uniforms

The "winds of change" are blowing in Ohio. On Friday, the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones unveiled a sweeping rebrand with new logos and uniforms.

Cincinnati-based agency LPK developed the new look. They kept the black and red color scheme, but yellow is out and grey takes on a bigger role.

This revision signals a major shift in the team's identity, from the goofy, kid-friendly cartoon character to a simpler, more professional lettermark.

Twister, the hockey stick-wielding toothless tornado, has been part of the franchise's iconography since 1996, when it was a member of the old International Hockey League. He remains their mascot, however.

Unsurprisingly, longtime fans haven't responded positively to the redesign. Below the article announcing the new look, one fan commented:

Way to take a fun, unique logo that has great brand recognition in the city and turn it into this generic, minimalist shit that could be the logo for ANY team in ANY city.
—Brandon Noble

To his point, when I first saw the logo, I thought it could've passed for a solid Carolina Hurricanes concept. Then again, as much as I may dislike the cartoony marks found around the minors, they do tend to resonate with fans.

So there are two sides to this. Longtime fans love the old design for its fun distinctiveness. But those with a more sophisticated sense of design and lack of attachment to the team might prefer the new look.

Which side are you on? And what do you think of the new look of the Cyclones?

I don't know about you, but for me, there's something about that grey third jersey.


Are the Flyers reviving their 2012 Winter Classic jersey?


Are the Flyers reviving their 2012 Winter Classic jersey?

Photos by Dave Isaac/Courier-Post Staff

Photos by Dave Isaac/Courier-Post Staff

A recent offseason skate featuring members of the Philadelphia Flyers has led to speculation about its upcoming new third jersey. Specifically, it's been suggested that the 2012 Winter Classic uniform might make a comeback.

Dave Isaac, Courier-Post, wrote:

Among them was Zac Rinaldo, wearing black pants with an orange stripe down the side and many players donned black helmets, which had cream-colored numbers and an orange outline. Usually, the Flyers wear solid black pants and the black helmets have solid white numbers on them.
In the locker room, the striped pants hung in most players' stalls with the cream-numbered helmets above. In all likelihood, this is part of the Flyers' new alternate kits this season. The team will debut, at some point, a third jersey. It sounds like it's not coming soon and two players said they haven't seen the new threads yet.
The helmet and pants look exactly like what the Flyers wore in the 2012 Winter Classic against the New York Rangers. While the jersey aspect of the kit remains a mystery, expect for it to come out around training camp, if not before. Perhaps the jersey won't be new at all and that, too, will be identical to what the Flyers wore in the game at Citizens Bank Park.

I'm not sure I would say "in all likelihood." It's entirely possible the guys are just using leftover equipment they can't use in a game anymore. They wouldn't just throw it away, would they?

Then again, if the gear wasn't seen at all last year — which Isaac doesn't specify — it could be something new. But I would be surprised if the Flyers were issuing players new alternate uniform gear during the offseason. Of course, that's just me.

What do you think? Should the Flyers revive their Winter Classic look? Or go with something completely new?

FURTHER READING: Flyers confirm third jersey

UPDATE · Aug 27 · For those interested, further confirmation of Isaac's report of the Winter Classic style pants being seen in the locker room can be found on the Flyers' website.

Image from Philadelphia Flyers

Image from Philadelphia Flyers

There are a number of video interviews shot in the locker room where the orange-striped pants are visible in the background.

Flyers 2012 Winter Classic uniform


St. Louis Blues unveil new home and road uniforms for 2014-15


St. Louis Blues unveil new home and road uniforms for 2014-15

Our long wait ended as the St. Louis Blues officially unveiled new home and road uniforms Monday night at the Blues Ice Breaker event. The updated look will hit the ice for the first time this fall.

For those following the proceedings on Twitter, some of the thunder was taken out of the big reveal when photos of the jerseys were leaked an hour before the start of the event.

The Blues' new look follows a trend in recent years across the NHL — and hockey in general — to return to traditional style uniform design.

Some would argue the Blues were among the teams hit hardest by Reebok's push to modernize sweater designs in 2007. Here, the team reverts back a jersey not unlike what they wore prior that.

Gone is the unsightly apron-string piping. Back are the horizontal waist and sleeve stripes. And remaining unchanged is the classic Blue Note.

If you haven't yet guessed, I'm a huge fan of the new sweaters. Just as I was back in July when I got my first glimpse and shared the details with you.

From the team's press release:

Constructed from all the latest advanced materials of the Reebok Edge 2.0 system, the jersey's diagonal color striping on the sleeves has been straightened for a simplified, cleaner aesthetic. The same effect has been achieved with the return of stripes along the waistline.

It's definitely cleaner.

By the way, in case you missed the live stream of the Blues Ice Breaker, I wanted to point out some items from Brett Hull's appearance.

In preparation for the jersey reveal, the team chose to lower expectations by reminding us of a time when the Blues wore red. In other words, the new look can't be any worse than this, right?

Luckily, there was no need for low expectations and it served as a fun trip down memory lane nonetheless. I thought it was funny that T.J. Oshie told Brett Hull the Gretzky-era jerseys were his favorite. I know very few Icethetics readers would agree with him there.

Now it's your turn to chime in. What do you think of the Blues' new uniforms? Do they work for you?


New Blues jerseys leak on Twitter before unveiling


New Blues jerseys leak on Twitter before unveiling

As I write this blog entry, the St. Louis Blues are minutes from the Ice Breaker event where they will officially unveil their new home and road uniforms. But just hours ago, photos of the new threads showed up on Twitter.

Photos via Twitter

These photos were were later removed from Twitter, but I grabbed copies.

This confirms the design details I first shared back in July.  In addition, the photos gave us our first look at the white road jersey and confirmation that the number and letter styles will remain the same — as seen on the home sweater.

Check back to Icethetics tonight for full coverage of today's big unveiling!