Your Olympic jersey rankings are confusing

The Icethetics Cover Story series debuted last week focusing on the new national team uniforms being worn in Sochi this month. In it I included a wealth of polls and rating widgets so everyone could quickly share their feedback.

At the end of the article, I shared my rankings and set up a poll asking readers to pick their top three favorites to form a community ranking. But between that poll and the individual ratings for each country, I was surprised to find wildly different results.

Take a look at these lists to see what I mean.

By Top 3 Poll

The poll, listing all 14 nations, allowed readers to select up to three favorites. This list is in order of most votes to fewest.

  1. Canada
  2. Slovakia
  3. Sweden
  4. United States
  5. Russia
  6. Germany
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Latvia
  9. Finland
  10. Slovenia
  11. Austria
  12. Norway
  13. Switzerland
  14. Japan

By Individual Ratings

Readers cast individual ratings for each nation. There was no comparison to other nations for this setup.

  1. Sweden
  2. Slovakia
  3. Germany
  4. Austria
  5. Latvia
  6. Slovenia
  7. Norway
  8. Russia
  9. Switzerland
  10. Canada
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Finland
  13. United States
  14. Japan

How strange is that? On their own, the U.S. and Canada were ripped by voters, yet they ended up in most people's top three. Sounds like some of us are having trouble being honest with ourselves.

So while Canada and the U.S. fell sharply, Austria jumped from 11th to 4th when you look at individual ratings instead of top three selections. What I find funny is that Slovakia ended up second in both groups. And we all just flat out hate Japan's jerseys.

What do you make of these results? Did you vote with your head or your heart?

A swatch of pink in every hockey rink

It's basically become a yearly tradition at this point. Minor league hockey teams shed the shackles of social norms by persuading large, lumbering men to sport hot pink hockey jerseys for a game or two. But it's the good cause at the heart of it all that keeps everybody coming back for more every season.

Pink in the Rink Night. It's a simple event celebrated at hockey arenas around the continent in a bid to both increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money for related charities. These silly jerseys are normally auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to a group like Susan G. Komen or a hospital researching a cure for the disease.

Of course this year is no different. Let's take a look at some of the pink sweaters that have been put to use in the AHL to this point in 2014.

Rockford IceHogs

The IceHogs get us started with their pink-accented jerseys — really nothing more than their thirds with the red swapped for pink.

They wore them Jan. 25 for a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. 

Utica Comets

On Jan. 31, one of the AHL's newest members — the Comets — took to the ice in our favorite hue. They knocked out the Syracuse Crunch 3-1.

The club auctioned off their jerseys at the end of the game to benefit the Breast Care Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare.

Even the officials got it on the pink action. The black and pink striped referee outfits are a sight to see. Click through the slideshow above to catch a glimpse.

By the way, if those few photos aren't enough for you, be sure to check out the full gallery on the team's Facebook page. There are some great shots in there.

Worcester Sharks

On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Sharks entered the mix with these numbers — and a rink full of pink ice. They defeated the Providence Bruins 3-2.

It was the third year in a row the Sharks have held such an event. This one benefited The Cup Crusaders, a team that participates in the annual Komen Foundation's Breast Cancer 3-Day walk in Massachusetts.

Hartford Wolf Pack

Just across the state line, the newly re-christened Wolf Pack also held Pink in the Rink on the same night. They beat the Albany Devils 4-3 in a shootout.

The pink-infused jerseys were auctioned off after the game to benefit Komen Connecticut. And here's a fun tidbit from the Pack's website.

The Pink in the Rink theme will include concessions and the Comcast Coliseum Club as well.  The concession stands will be offering pink popcorn, pink cotton candy and pink lemonade, and the Coliseum Club menu will feature cherry plank salmon with pink sauce, pink grapefruit salad and pink lobster bisque.

That's a lot of pink around the building.

By the way, thanks to Wolf Pack fan and regular concept contributor Scott Markiewicz for all the great photos he shared via Twitter.

Rochester Americans

All the focus on breast cancer is great, but for the most part, it directly affects women. The Amerks didn't want the guys feeling left out, so they had Men's Health Night on Jan. 31.

Instead of pink, the team wore powder blue-accented sweaters and beat the Rockford IceHogs 4-1. It seems like the good karma generated by raising money for cancer charities is directly translating to wins on the ice. Not sure how that works, but it's awesome.

By the way, if you want to get your hands on one of these powder blue Americans jerseys, they'll be up for auction through the weekend. The proceeds are going to and The Lipson Cancer Center.

More pink nights to come in 2014

There are still four more AHL teams that I know planning to wear pink this season. Here's a quick list.

  • February 15: Iowa Wild and Hamilton Bulldogs
  • March 1: Springfield Falcons
  • March 21: Lake Erie Monsters

Pink jersey fever has also spread to other minor leagues. I'll do a little research and put together a post like this for the ECHL next week. (And I'll try to remember to come back and update this one later in the season.)


Manchester Monarchs

February 9: Almost missed one. The Monarchs skated out last night wearing a pink version of their black third jersey.

Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as well for them as it did for other teams sporting the pink recently. The Monarchs fell 3-2 to the Providence Bruins.

If you'd like to see more of these jerseys in action, there's video here.

Maybe it is a "turd burger" after all

Sabres skip out on night scheduled for new third jersey

The Buffalo Sabres skated out in their regular blue home jerseys Wednesday night, despite being scheduled to wear those new blue and gold thirds we've all been talking about.

Over the weekend, the Flames pulled the same thing — but admitted superstition was to blame. Was it the same reason in Buffalo?

At 15-33-8, the Sabres are far and away the worst team in the NHL season. So maybe they'd just had enough of being an object of derision, particularly while being featured in a nationally televised game — where they ended up being knocked around by the Penguins 5-1.

Of course there's a third possibility. Last Monday the Sabres opened an online auction of game-worn jerseys including the new alternate. Maybe they sold them all. Just kidding. Who would buy that?

Anyway, in the previous six games where the Sabres sported yellow, they went 1-4-1, including a run of three straight 3-1 losses to start. Their only win came last month against the Devils.

I haven't seen any official acknowledgement of the break from the announced third jersey schedule, but the next date isn't until March 16.

For what it's worth, Sabres president Ted Black was on WGR 550 Sports Radio back on Oct. 3 and was asked about the initial fan reaction to the jersey design.

If it doesn't sell, it won't really mean anything to our bottom line. It's a third jersey. If it's a turd burger, I'll have to put it on a bun and eat it. It's the way it is.

So I have to wonder. Was last night the unofficial confirmation that we have a "turd burger" on our hands? (And way to coin a hilarious nickname for your jersey, Ted. You know that's never going away.)

Black also said, "I know that our team is going to wear it very proudly for 10 games."

That may or may not be true now. Maybe they add a game. Maybe the number drops to nine. Maybe it drops to six and the jersey never sees the light of day again.

Whichever way, Black isn't bothered. 

It's received a ton of criticism and a lot of attention. I think it had over four million mentions on Twitter. I've seen it. It's something that doesn't offend me. I think people have had a lot of fun with the criticisms of it.

Definitely true.

The interview also left a nice door open for the future. Black said no focus groups were involved in the development of this jersey, but that might be considered in the future.

I saw that the Dallas Mavericks put it up to a fan vote. I think those things are cool to do. I'm not ruling it out. I'm not a fashion designer.

Black's best line was this.

I think it's a beautiful, beautiful jersey.

Even if I don't fully agree with that statement, I do fully support the Sabres for trying something different — which is what you're supposed to do with a third jersey.

It’s a third jersey. If it’s a turd burger, I’ll have to put it on a bun and eat it.
— Ted Black, Sabres president

Toledo Walleye tease Storm throwback jersey

We thought we'd seen the last of the logo The Hockey News perennially called the worst in all of hockey. But in this throwback-happy era, it was inevitable. The Toledo Storm will be resurrected. Even if for only a weekend.

On Feb. 21 and 22, the ECHL's Toledo Walleye will once again wear that dreadful logo on their chest for Hockey Heritage Weekend. Really though, there are some logos that were meant to stay buried. For eternity.

The Walleye obviously don't feel that way. On Monday afternoon, the team posted a photo on Instagram of the specialty jersey set to be worn later this month.

The Storm jerseys will be worn during both games against the Orlando Solar Bears. The game worn sweaters will be auctioned off after the Saturday, February 22 game at a live auction in the Goal Zone. Proceeds will benefit local charities.

Founded in 1991, the Storm won consecutive Kelly Cup championships in 1993 and 1994. They later folded in 2007. The franchise was sold to another group in Toledo where the team returned to action in 2009 as the Walleye — whose gear is now among the best selling in the ECHL.