Since the relaunch of Icethetics in February, I've been trying to showcase more minor league theme jerseys. Recently, the ECHL's Alaska Aces caught my eye with their wide variety of designs.
First, I should show you the Aces' regular home, road and alternate uniforms. Most readers have probably never seen them — especially because they just debuted this season.
Now you have an idea of what the team normally looks like. What follows is very different.
Paint the Rink Pink
The Aces wore pink for a preseason back-to-back series with the Cincinnati Cyclones. What a way to start the year, right? New fans may have heard the team was getting new jerseys this year. Imagine their surprise when the players stepped onto the ice.
Find more photos on the Aces' Facebook page.
As with all pink sports uniforms, they were created to raise awareness for breast cancer treatment and were auctioned to fans after the game. Proceeds were donated to Breast Cancer Focus, Inc. and the American Cancer Society.
Alaska lost the first game 4-2 but beat Cincinnati the next night 6-4.
Opening weekend brought a unique theme jersey. I haven't seen a lot of teams do Pirate Night, but that's just what the Aces did for the second night of a back-to-back with the San Francisco Bulls (may they rest in peace). They even encouraged fans to dress up as pirates too.
I'm actually kind of impressed by the attention to detail on this one. The jersey design itself is pretty cool, but check out the shoulder patches. Those were a particularly nice touch. It's also worth seeing the back. Find more photos on their Facebook page.
A night after falling to the Bulls 2-1, the Aces turned things around in a big way with a mighty aaarrrgh! or so it seemed, winning 5-0.
A month later came Military Appreciation Weekend. For back-to-back games against the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Aces wore digital camo jerseys, with the American flag on the right shoulder and the Alaskan flag on the left — perhaps borrowing a trick from their NHL affiliate in Calgary.
On the first night, the Aces lost 4-3, but like the pink rink weekend, they followed up with a win, beating Las Vegas 5-2. As usual, the Aces have a wealth of photos on their Facebook page if you're interested.
Say you're an ice hockey team in Alaska. How do you celebrate the first day of winter? By wearing something tropical, of course. This is how the Aces do Hawaiian Night. It's extremely colorful!
The event was sponsored by Alaska Airlines, who gave away a trip to Hawaii during the game. That's gotta cheer up any Alaskan at such a dismal time of year.
Hawaiian Night turned out to be a success for the Aces, who defeated the Utah Grizzlies 5-3. And you definitely need to see more photos from this game.
As with all of this season's theme jerseys, they were auctioned off after the game.
10th Anniversary Night
The next month, the Aces celebrated a decade in Anchorage with a special fauxback jersey — and all the vintage white that implies. Despite what you may think, the sweater did not seem to be inspired by anything from the team's past, but it did include a nice 10th anniversary logo on the chest.
Overall, it's hard not to like — especially after Hawaiian Night. Can you believe those two jerseys came from the same team? Still, the more traditional sweater design led Alaska to a 6-0 rout of the Wranglers.
Hockey Heritage Weekend
That brings us to a new special event in the ECHL this season. The league's inaugural Hockey Heritage Weekend was held in Anchorage between the Aces and Stockton Thunder.
The event gives a pair of ECHL teams the chance to wear a classic jersey of their NHL affiliate while inserting their own history. Remember last week when I mentioned there was another hockey team that wore the Flames' throwbacks this season? (And no one seemed to notice.) This is what I was talking about.
The Aces wore retro Flames jerseys complete with the kind of morphed logo you might find on the Concepts page. Meanwhile, the Thunder — affiliated with the New York Islanders — went in a slightly different direction, honoring Stockton's Rough and Ready Island naval base.
Alaska won both games that weekend, 4-2 and 5-2.
St. Patrick's Day Weekend
The Aces wrapped up their theme jersey schedule with the one color it seems they hadn't yet used this season. Like many, they went green for St. Patrick's Day — a couple days early. And they didn't look to shabby.
Perhaps it was the luck o' the Irish, but Alaska beat the Colorado Eagles 4-2 while wearing a leprechaun on their shirt. A leprechaun who's carrying the Kelly Cup, by the way. I know the Aces are the ECHL's best team right now, but isn't that tempting fate a little?
In fairness, the Aces were Kelly Cup champions in 2006 and 2011.
They haven't posted many photos of the St. Patrick's Day jersey yet, but keep an eye on their Facebook page in case they do.
So what do you think of all these? You can leave a comment below or just rate them.