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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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ECHL selects winning fan-designed All-Star jersey

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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?

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ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones unveil new logos, uniforms

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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.

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Indy Fuel get up to speed with ECHL expansion

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Indy Fuel get up to speed with ECHL expansion

START YOUR ENGINES

The ECHL expands to 22 teams in 2014-15 with the addition of the Indy Fuel. The announcement of the new franchise and the unveiling of its logo came back in November. (Apologies for the extended delay!)

The club's logo was designed by Indianapolis-based ad agency CVR. Despite the professional credentials, it looks a bit like the work of an amateur. Can't help but wonder if CVR gave the project to an intern.

No one wants to look at it. // Photo from Indy Star

No one wants to look at it. // Photo from Indy Star

What an odd place the ECHL is when it comes to logos. So hit and miss. In the same year that brought the epic Orlando Solar Bears logo came that of the now-defunct San Francisco Bulls. Go figure.

Via Twitter, the team promised a jersey unveiling in "the next few months" — remember that was in November — but I still haven't seen anything. Hopefully they'll have it sorted out soon.

The Fuel will play at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis. They are now one of three teams based in the state of Indiana, joining the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville IceMen.

Currently, the Fuel are running a contest to have fans create the team mascot.

CONNECT

Find the Indy Fuel online:

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A rainbow of jerseys mark colorful Alaska Aces season

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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.

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