Icethetics is devoted to the aesthetics of hockey. The word is a fusion of "aesthetics" — the study of art and beauty — and "ice" — on which the game is played.
Icethetics focuses on all things related to hockey branding — notably team logos and uniforms. The blog tracks news relating to trends throughout the hockey world from the NHL to the major Canadian junior leagues and every minor league in between.
WHO'S IN CHARGE?
My name is Chris Smith and I've been running this site in some form since May 9, 2007. A native of Florida, I became a hockey fan in 1992 when I went to my first Tampa Bay Lightning game. I've been hooked on the sport ever since — and have even hooked a number of other Floridians, my wife included.
My interest in hockey logos and jerseys came a little later on (probably around 1995-96 when the NHL introduced its original third jersey program). Since then, I've always been excited to see what new designs teams come up with. And after operating Icethetics for several years, I've come to realize I'm only one of many fascinated by this aspect of the sport.
HOW IT BEGAN
In 2007, I launched a blog called NHL Tournament of Logos using the free service Blogger. I was curious as to what hockey fans thought of the 30 team logos. So to find an answer, I started holding polls in a bracket-style tournament. In the end, the Montreal Canadiens edged out the St. Louis Blues with 55% of the vote.
But that's not what Icethetics is known for. It was during the summer of 2007 that Reebok began to fundamentally rethink hockey jerseys. The introduction of the Rbk EDGE Uniform System prompted many teams to not only redesign their sweaters but even their logos.
I searched the web almost daily for pictures or details on these new designs. Information was hard to come by. So I started collecting the bits and pieces I could find around the web and gathered them on the NHLToL blog for anyone else who might be interested.
THE FIRST EXPANSION
The site's popularity basically exploded that summer and NHLToL became the go-to destination for jersey news, to my surprise. The logo tournaments became more popular than ever, leading me to launch a spin-off site — called Tournament of Hockey Logos — that would focus on the minor leagues and any non-NHL related news.
In 2008, 18 of the 30 NHL franchises announced plans to introduced third jerseys that fall, something that was not permitted the season before. Again, I tracked news and unveilings for anyone interested and the daily visitor count peaked above 110,000 — a long-time record. The site was a success and now it needed a real identity.
THE ICETHETICS IDENTITY
On July 1, 2008, the site was re-launched under the new name — Icethetics. (I credit Charlie from Sabres Not Slugs with the assist on coming up with the moniker.) It was the third site I set up. But before long, I decided it was time to merge them.
On November 1, 2008, icethetics.info officially launched. Icethetics finally had its own domain and became a more complete website, with the blog still central to the endeavor. Then on February 1, 2014, a second domain, icethetics.co was introduced to the mix. (The .com remains in the possession of a pathetic squatter and well out of my price range.)
A COMMUNITY EFFORT
The blog is just one aspect of Icethetics. The rest is a community effort. And there is a lot to it. Hundreds of devoted fans provide content to the site on a daily basis. One of the original ingredients to this pie was fan-made concept art — now posted daily on the Concepts page. Talented readers submit their redesigned renditions of team jerseys and logos to share with the rest of the world.
Born out of NHL concept art was a desire to create and brand our own hockey teams from the ground up. The IceHL project was conceived and launched in August 2008. It was a crowd-sourced fantasy hockey league and every aspect was created and voted on by readers — including team logos.
I could talk about my big plans for weeks without stopping. There's so much I'd like to do. But at this moment, it doesn't pay the bills. So my real life — work and home — limits to some extent how much time I can spend in jersey land. Just know that as long as I'm able, I'll always be doing my best to improve Icethetics.
And if you ever have an idea for an awesome new feature, drop me a line!
Have an idea you think the Icethetics community would enjoy? Whether it's a blog post or a new site feature, I'd love to hear about it. (But if you want a response, please email me directly.)