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Orange dominates minor league special event jerseys


Orange dominates minor league special event jerseys

On Wednesday, the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears unveiled the jersey they will wear when they host the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic on Wed., Jan. 21. And they're very orange!

The jersey design is based on the team's existing primary uniforms with some colors swapped and some All-Star insignia added. The uniform is a little bright, but it's a nice homage to their home in Orange County.

The Solar Bears' opponent — the ECHL All-Star Team — will wear a white uniform that was first revealed last December following a fan jersey design contest, won by Jordan Roberts.

Meanwhile in the AHL, the Syracuse Crunch will host a stadium game at the 49,000-seat Carrier Dome on Sat., Nov. 22. And this is the special jersey they plan to wear.

The sweater, revealed on Oct. 4, features orange trim in honor of Syracuse University, where the covered stadium is located — and basically the center of the universe for locals.

If you're thinking the jersey looks a lot like the monstrosity introduced in 2007 by the Edmonton Oilers — you're not wrong. It's the same template but with classic Oilers colors, essentially. And good lord, all that piping. You don't need me to tell you it's pretty weak.

The Comets will wear their standard white jerseys for the game.


ECHL expands, adds CHL's seven franchises for 2014-15 season


ECHL expands, adds CHL's seven franchises for 2014-15 season

Remember that major minor league shake-up we speculated on last month? It happened. And a lot faster than expected.

The ECHL announced today that it has accepted seven new members into the league effective immediately. They are the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Missouri Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder.

If those names sound familiar, it's because all seven were members of the Central Hockey League until yesterday. The teams will begin play in the ECHL, which now has 28 teams, in the 2014-15 season.

I don't envy the people who will need to work out the logistics in the next 10 days. It's going to mean divisional realignments, changes to the Kelly Cup Playoffs format and a completely new game schedule.

The new schedule also means a lot of the specialty jersey dates currently in the Icethetics Calendar may need to be thrown out and replaced in the next couple weeks.

This news also requires the fifth — and hopefully final — revision of my NHL affiliation infographic (right).

Speaking of that, you might be wondering if any NHL teams now have affiliates who will be competing against each other in the upcoming season.

As it happens, the Tampa Bay Lightning have agreements with both the Florida Everblades and Brampton Beast. The deal with the Beast was a one-year term signed last August and I haven't seen a press release about a renewal. However, the Beast still use the Lightning logo in their website banner. Confused? Me too.

The Dallas Stars were previously affiliated with the Allen Americans, but a recent change in ownership put an end to that. The Stars are still tied to the Idaho Steelheads.

So what do you think of this major upheaval of minor league hockey in North America?

Image from Utica Comets via Facebook

By the way, since we're talking minor league hockey, I'd be remiss not to mention the unveiling of the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic logo today. The Utica Comets will be hosting on January 25, 2015.


Get ready for 7 amazing minor league jerseys this season


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! 


ECHL selects winning fan-designed All-Star jersey


ECHL selects winning fan-designed All-Star jersey

I recently came upon a story that's been out there a very long time — that I apparently never followed up on. Last December, the ECHL announced the winner of its 2015 All-Star Classic jersey design contest.

The contest began in early December and the winner was named the day before Christmas Eve. It turns out Jordan Roberts was the creator of the winning look.

One of the finalists was frequent Icethetics and IceHL concept contributor Matt McElroy. He created Option C in the graphic above.

The 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic, hosted by the Orlando Solar Bears, will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 21, 2015.

The game will feature a showdown between the host team and the ECHL All-Stars. The Solar Bears' All-Star Classic jersey has not yet been released.

What do you think of the winning design? And what do you think the Solar Bears will do?


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.