A rainbow of jerseys mark colorful Alaska Aces season

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.

Photos by Skip Hickey, from Alaska Aces via Facebook

Primary Uniforms

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

October 8–9
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. 

Pirate Night

October 19
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.

Military Appreciation

November 15–16
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.

Hawaiian Night

December 21
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

January 18
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

February 7–8
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

March 15
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.

NHL marks St. Patrick's Day with weekend of green

As part of the annual tradition, the last few days have seen a handful of NHL teams go green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Typically, clubs wear green practice jerseys during warm-ups and auction them off for charitable causes. Let's take a look.

Boston Bruins

There's no way the team from Boston could avoid celebrating Irish heritage. The Bruins wore their green tonight before beating the Minnesota Wild 4-1. By the way, they wore their third jerseys during the game.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres did the green thing on Sunday prior to facing their old captain Thomas Vanek and his Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo was shut out 2-0 while wearing also wearing their new thirds for the game. That jersey sure is taking a beating.

If you're interested in adding a green Sabres jersey to your collection, here's the auction.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks also donned their green on Sunday ahead of a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. If you want one, here's the auction page.

Nashville Predators

The Predators got pretty creative with their St. Patrick's Day jerseys. Skip to the other photo in the mini-slideshow above to see the musically-themed screen printed numbers. Fittingly, they then faced the Blues, but lost 4-1.

New York Islanders

St. Patrick's Day celebrations started early on Long Island. The Islanders wore these Saturday prior to beating the Sabres 4-1. Okay, at this point I have to ask. What is it with all these 4-1 finals?

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Taking-It-Too-Far Award this St. Patrick's Day has to go to Pittsburgh. The jerseys might've been fine but then they started adding flags to the sleeves. But that's not what won them the honor in my book. For that, you have to flip to the second image.

The Penguins took their primary logo and dressed the penguin up in a leprechaun suit. They've been using that as their Twitter icon the last couple days. Then they had to go and put it on a T-shirt as well. Amazing. Winner, hands down.

The green jerseys were worn Sunday in advance of a 4-3 loss to the Flyers. If you want more photos from warm-ups, the Pens have dedicated an entire gallery on their website.

Washington Capitals

We can usually count on the Capitals for green jerseys. They round out the list this year, wearing this set on Sunday before a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Speaking of the Leafs, I'll leave you with this tweet.

A handful of minor league teams also wore special St. Patrick's Day jerseys this weekend. I aim to gather some photos for another post later this week.

2013-14: Season of Change, Part 2

2013-14: Season of Change, Part 2

In Part 2, we take a look back at the special uniforms worn in the six outdoor games that took place during the NHL's 2013-14 season.

Read Story →

Read More

New Lightning third jersey confirmed during telecast

Still from SunSports broadcast

During Thursday night's Tampa Bay Lightning telecast came confirmation that the team will indeed have a new third jersey for the 2014-15 season. It was mentioned as part of a promo for season ticket packages.

The broadcasters made no specific mention of details regarding the jersey or its design, saying only what we see on screen — that it will be part of this new Blue Line Club package.

Icethetics first reported on a new alternate uniform for Tampa Bay in the NHL JerseyWatch 2014 cover story in February. The information was based on retail planning documents from Reebok.

This is the first official confirmation of a new sweater coming directly from the team. Speaking as a Lightning fan myself, I'm definitely eager to see what's in store. So let the speculation officially begin!

Kings switching to gold jersey for Legends Nights

The Los Angeles Kings will have a new look for their Legends Night events in 2014-15. Beginning next season, the club is swapping their "Forum blue" throwback jersey for the gold version.

This change was revealed Wednesday by LA Kings Insider with Jon Rosen, a blog associated with the Kings' official website.

The design is based in the jersey the Kings wore during the 1969-70 season — after adding a white outline to the crest but before switching to gold pants.

Rosen shared some interesting quotes from Kings business operations president Luc Robitaille.

As Robitaille shared with LA Kings Insider, the process of incorporating new jerseys is a two-year process that includes gaining league approval, and then having the jerseys made. As such, the first Legends Night in 2014-15 won’t be held until the second or third week in December.

“We’re not trying to tweak or redesign the jersey, so it’s a little bit easier,” Robitaille said.

“There are so many jerseys, so many teams, and Reebok has to have enough time to be able to make them. It’s a process. It takes about two years. But on this one, it’s basically our old jersey, so everybody’s aware of the style and everything.”

At this point, it doesn’t appear as though the team will use the gold jerseys as a more traditional alternate jersey.

“We don’t want to overdo it,” Robitaille said. “I’d prefer just having it three, four times a year and making it special.”

Personally, I love the idea of seeing special throwback jerseys like this just a few times a year. We still get to see them, but they aren't so common that they lose their novelty.

Due to the production timeline, it sounds like it will be mid-December before we actually see the Kings' gold jersey on the ice.

Rosen indicates that the famous "Forum blue" — or what our eyes clearly see as purple — will be worn for the final time tonight as the Kings honor Jim Fox. But all bets are off a few years from now.

Though it’s several years away, ideas are being proposed about ways to commemorate the 2016-17 season, the team’s 50th in the National Hockey League. An idea Robitaille shared would be to use multiple jerseys from the team’s history, similar to what the Montreal Canadiensdid in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

“I’d love to find a way to bring back probably not every one of our jerseys, but a bunch of them,” he said. “Montreal did a great job with their 100th year anniversary. For us, it’s our 50th coming, so we’d love to do something where we’re able to bring at least one jersey from each era, and play one or two games within that year. We think it’s going to be pretty special.”

It's great to hear Robitaille thinking like an Icethetics reader! Bring on the throwbacks!

I get the feeling that Icethetics' 10th anniversary in 2016-17 will be an interesting one as it coincides with the NHL's 100th and the 50th of the original expansion teams — the Kings, Penguins, Flyers, and Blues. (The Golden Seals moved to Cleveland and merged with the North Stars, who are now in Dallas and just celebrated their 20th anniversary there.)

Looking forward to all the potential retro sweaters!

Finally, as tonight will be our last time seeing the Forum blue for a while, I'll leave you with some photos of it in action. This season's previous Legends Nights were held on Oct. 27 and Dec. 7.

Image from LA Kings Insider. Click to enlarge.