There's a question that's been nagging at me for a few weeks now. I want to see what the rest of you think. Are the Florida Panthers in the process of covertly adopting a new logo?
I noticed recently that the Panthers' official web site was redesigned to feature a legless panther logo in the banner. See the following graphic.
At first, I didn't think much of it. Maybe they were just cropping the legs off to improve the aesthetics of the logo in the banner. But this was more than just a simple crop. Special effort was made. The white fur on the panther's chest had been completely changed.
But then it started showing up all over the web site. Every page has its own custom banner with the altered panther logo.
The club's Twitter avatar even got the same treatment (left), but this time with an added text element. You can see a larger, more detailed version as the custom background on the page.
But that's not all. Like many teams, the Panthers have an official Facebook page for fans to join. It contains an image gallery that features two different logos. The new one I'm talking about (left) and the regular one with the broken stick — and text (right) can be seen below.
So is this just a simple alteration for web use? Or are the Panthers covertly launching a new logo this year? I don't have a solid answer for that just yet, but it seems the new symbol has made its way to an offline location.
A reader named Brett wrote in to say that he was watching a video about NHL 10 on IGN when he noticed this altered Florida logo and grabbed a screenshot (below).
So clearly this new logo is being distributed for uses not related only to the web. Why is it being introduced? Why lose the big cat's legs? Why add a new text element to 15-year-old logo? Will it be replacing the full-body panther logo on the home and road jerseys? That, I very much doubt, but I honestly don't know.
Still, many questions and no answers. So that means everything that follows is guess work. The Panthers are one of a handful of teams expected to release a third jersey this year. Could this logo be meant for that? Perhaps this logo may never even make it onto a sweater. I really can't say.
If anyone reading knows anything about what's going on with this new Florida Panthers logo, I'd love to hear about it. Drop me a line and we'll keep everyone here up to speed.
In the meantime, sound off in the comments. Do you like "new" legless panther? Or do you prefer the leaping, text-free version?
Now that I've had a day to read through some of the many comments and emails I've received on this story, it's time for some clarifications.
First, some new information I didn't have before writing this post. As commenter Alex points out, Miami Herald writer George Richards claimed back in March to have gotten some inside information on the Florida Panthers' new third jersey, due this fall.
According to my source ([fellow writer/columnist] David J. Neal), the new jersey is fairly similar to the Wild's third jersey.
The main color is dark blue with light blue (no idea where that's coming from) on the sleeves, shoulders and bottom. Kind of looks like the Penguins.
The leaping cat logo is replaced on the front by a logo similar to the Wild. Florida on top; Panthers on bottom, the Panther head in the middle.
The Panthers say the jersey that was spotted today at Incredible Ice by David J. is not the final jersey and may just be some kind of prototype. That might explain the inclusion of the light blue. We still have to wait and see what the new jersey will look like, but this helps.
This description makes it all the more likely that the Panthers are testing the waters with an altered logo to be used on a new sweater. That's assuming it's true. As he says, we'll have to wait and see.
Now to reply to some comments. First, Johnny Griswold:
Do you think it's just a variation of their regular logo that they use for horizontal banners and graphics that they don't have a lot of depth to play with?
As I said, that was my initial assumption, the reason it took me weeks to write up this post. The problem is, they already have a logo similar to that, so why make a new modification?
Then Six Zero comments:
I'm surprised no one's commented on the fact that this logo isn't entirely new. The leg-less Panther is as old as the franchise, just hasn't been seen since perhaps their first two years in the league. I've even seen it without the stick.
What's most interesting is how it changes the imprint of the entire mark, meaning its shape and orientation. The leg-less logo is landscape, while the previous is more of a portrait orientation. It'll be interesting to see how different a jersey might look with a logo that is wider than it is tall.
Being a Floridian myself, I feel like I've managed to pay pretty close attention to what the Panthers have done over the years. This isn't the first time they've had a half-panther/half-text logo, obviously. But this one is different.
As you can see in a side-by-side comparison, the new one is holding a broken stick, while I don't recall the old version ever incorporating that element. The new logo also doesn't include the text enclosure and has some color variations. But mostly, that white fur on the chest has been modified to stand alone better.
Basically I'm curious as to their reasoning for reinventing the wheel. Perhaps it's as simple as easier separation of individual elements, as seen in the web site banner. In this new logo, the text is not inextricably tied to the logo.
Or maybe I'm just making something out of nothing. But while we're still on the topic, let's look at some other Panthers logos.
First, without the stick, then with the stick, then with two sticks. The first two have been largely interchangeable throughout the years. The stickless panther has commonly been seen on home and road sweaters while the cat with the broken stick has traditionally made an appearance on the third jersey.
The double-stick logo has been around since the franchise first came into existence. Notice it says "hockey club" at the bottom of the circle, for people who weren't sure. It's quite reminiscent of the Wild's home jersey crest, but I wouldn't expect to see it on a new alternate jersey for the Panthers. They'll almost certainly go with something new.
That nearly wraps this post up, but I do have a bit of concept art to share from Gary.
His third jersey design is solely based on this new logo, and not on the earlier account of a potential leak. Still, it would bring a vintage look to the team for the first time. Though I think a lot of Panthers fans would appreciate the return of the classic red sweater. It went by the wayside (converted to a third jersey) even before the Age of Reebok.
Now what do you make of all that?