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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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Manchester Monarchs scrap purple, swipe Kings jerseys

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Manchester Monarchs scrap purple, swipe Kings jerseys

Monarchs' home and road jerseys, 2014— // Photos from LA Kings Insider

The AHL's Manchester Monarchs lost a piece of their identity Wednesday. They scrapped the purple and gold from their color scheme and unveiled new home and road jerseys identical to those of their NHL affiliate, the Los Angeles Kings.

Perhaps they're just trying to capitalize on the Kings' recent Stanley Cup championships, but this is nevertheless a depressing development for a club that once had a truly unique look.

“These jerseys tie us to our parent club, the Kings,” said [Monarchs president Darren] Abbott. “The Monarchs have so many players that have gone on to play for the Kings and have helped them win Stanley Cup championships in Los Angeles that we wanted to bring their identity into our uniforms.”

I'm of the opinion players shouldn't be wearing NHL jerseys until they make the NHL, but obviously Abbott disagrees.

This is almost a literal representation of what I think when I see an AHLer wearing an NHL jersey.

This is almost a literal representation of what I think when I see an AHLer wearing an NHL jersey.

If you live in New Hampshire, the new sweaters will be available very soon.

The jerseys were unveiled at a press conference held at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday that introduced head coach Mike Stothers to Manchester. Fans will be able to purchase the new jerseys at the Monarchs' annual Summer Fan Fest ... on Saturday, July 26. 

For more photos from the unveiling, check out L.A. Kings Insider.

What do you think of the Monarchs switching to these jerseys? Be sure to vote in the poll.


Manchester Monarchs home and road jerseys, 2010—2014

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Adirondack Flames reignite classic Atlanta logo

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Adirondack Flames reignite classic Atlanta logo

NEW TEAM, CLASSIC CREST

A familiar logo joins the American Hockey League this fall. It was officially announced in May that the Abbotsford Heat are moving to New York to become the Adirondack Flames.

As you can see, the Calgary affiliate has adopted an updated version of their parent club's logo from long ago.

The Atlanta Flames were founded in 1972 — where they introduced the flaming "A" — but relocated to Alberta in 1980. In recent years, the flaming "A" has been used on Calgary jerseys to designate assistant captains.

Now it will go on to be a full-fledged team logo once again — but not without a few color changes.

JERSEYS STILL TO COME

The A-Flames — as we shall now call them — have yet to introduce their jerseys, however. At the press conference in Glens Falls on May 16, a Calgary jersey was on display with "Adirondack" across the nameplate.

That said, give how we've seen the Flames continue to align their AHL club's branding with their own, don't be surprised if it's the same jersey template with the A-Flames crest.

HOW THIS HAPPENED

It all started when the Flames decided not to renew the Abbotsford Heat's arena lease. Part of the problem was geography.

The Heat were so far removed from the rest of the mostly northeast-based AHL. So the travel was ridiculous, both tiring for the players and expensive to the organization.

Naturally, the perfect opportunity arose this season with the Adirondack Phantoms departing upstate New York for a new arena back home in Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Phantoms were formed in 1996 but displaced in 2009 when their arena, the famed Spectrum, was closed and demolished. The plan was to spend five years in the vacant Glens Falls Civic Center while a new arena was built in Allentown, Penn. That time has now come.

With the Glens Falls building being freed up again, the Flames saw an opportunity to move the Heat.

BRINGING BACK A CLASSIC

Perhaps the best part of this relocation is seeing a classic NHL logo come back. In the Flames' press release, GM Brad Treliving said this:

“The history and tradition of the Flames franchise goes back to the team’s birth as the Atlanta Flames and we are proud to also pay tribute to our history with the introduction of a new version of the flaming “A” here in Adirondack. We look forward to building on Glens Falls’ rich hockey history.”

Icethetics readers may recall that concept artist Thomas Hopkins actually proposed using the old Atlanta Flames logo in Abbotsford last December. But we'll take it in Adirondack just the same.

Concept art by Thomas Hopkins

Are you excited to see the old Atlanta Flames logo back in action this fall? Any other past NHL logos you'd like to see resurrected?

CONNECT

Find the Adirondack Flames online:

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Springfield marks 20 seasons with a few theme jerseys

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Springfield marks 20 seasons with a few theme jerseys

We'll get back into regular blog posts today with the AHL's Springfield Falcons, who are in the midst of their 20th anniversary season. To mark the occasion, they've sported a handful of theme jerseys throughout the season. Let's take a look.

Hometown Heroes Night

Over Veterans' Day weekend, the Falcons celebrated their hometown heroes with a very patriotic sweater. It was a blue jersey emblazoned with stars on the right sleeve and a field of red and white stripes on the left sleeve. Both shoulders feature the team's 20th anniversary logo.

It's hard to deny this one's pretty ugly. The sleeves are what do it. The numbers there are barely readable. And what's with the generic text on the chest? I'm just not a fan of this one.

That aside, on Fri., Nov. 8, the Falcons hosted the Adirondack Phantoms to the tune of a 3-0 shutout victory. Even the ugliest of jerseys looks a little better with a solid win.

20th Anniversary Night

On Sat., Jan. 18, the Falcons celebrated their 20th season with a special set of blue jerseys. Now these I can get behind. There's nothing special about them, but it's a solid, traditional sweater design.

Front and center on the chest is the anniversary logo — nothing special about it either. But what I really like is the original Falcons logo used as the patch on the right shoulder. The current primary logo, which debuted in 2010, is on the left side.

As you can see from the photos, the Falcons faced the Providence Bruins — wearing yellow from top to bottom, helmets included. Springfield managed a 5-3 win, improving to 2-0 on theme jersey nights.

Pink in the Rink Night

The Falcons wore their third and final theme jersey of the season last week. It was Pink in the Rink Night at MassMutual Center on Sat., March 1.

As pink jerseys go, this set stands out for its unique ribbon. The design, featured in small form on the shoulders and large form near the waist, creates crossed hockey sticks at each end of the ribbon. Teams don't usually tend to be that clever with these jerseys.

The crest is a pink-infused version of the 20th anniversary logo and some sweeping ribbon-like stripes wrap around the waist. It's one of the nicer pink jerseys I've seen this season.


According to the Falcons' promotional calendar, that does it for theme jerseys in 2013-14. Which of the three was your favorite? Vote in the poll on the right or leave a comment below. Or both!

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Checkers theme jerseys average 10 goals per game

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Checkers theme jerseys average 10 goals per game

The AHL's Charlotte Checkers have entertained fans with a couple of unique theme jerseys in the last few weeks. And the games resulted in goal-scoring bonanzas.

On Thurs., Jan. 23 and Fri., Jan. 24, it was Race Night at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Checkers donned the race track inspired sweaters you see above, complete with a "checkered" flag. Get it? You get it.

The first game saw the Checkers shut out the Oklahoma City Barons 4-0. Not so crazy. But the following night was wild one that ended with Charlotte thumping the Barons 9-3!

Six of the Checkers' nine goals came on the power play. And the final five minutes of the game saw the teams trade three goals a span of 97 seconds. But this story isn't over. It takes a hilarious turn (for non-Checkers fans) when you scroll down.

By the way, they've posted more game photos on Facebook. And there are Flickr galleries for Thursday and Friday.

On Fri., Feb. 7, the Checkers hosted the Barons for a theme jersey night for the third time in two weeks. Though it was a very different jersey — with a very different outcome.

It was Pink in the Rink Night and the Barons wanted revenge. Which they got. The final score of this one was 8-5. Clearly the Checkers' specialty jerseys are bringing on the goals this season — averaging nearly 10 per game.

The Checkers went with primarily red jerseys with pink accents — a different take on what they usually do for Pink in the Rink. It definitely grabs the eye though.

There are more photos on Facebook. And here's another gallery on Flickr.

So which of these two jerseys is your favorite? Do I even have to ask?

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