With no Tampa Bay Lightning hockey to follow at this point in the fall, I'm a little lost and turning to the minors for comfort. And it just so happens the Bolts' AHL and ECHL affiliates are sporting new uniforms this season. So let's have a look.
It happened with the Norfolk Admirals a few years ago and now it's happening to the Syracuse Crunch, who opened their season last night wearing not quite what you'd expect. For a team that just unveiled a very blue logo this summer, I'm surprised to still see so much orange in their uniforms.
But who knows what goes on behind the scenes with these teams? It could very well be that the rebrand happened too late in the game to get the uniforms completely overhauled. (Plus, they probably still have a lot of orange gear leftover that they need to sell, right?)
What's cool: The lightning bolt down the pants. Crunch players are actually wearing the same pants as their NHL affiliate. (You can even see the NHL shield on them in the photo above.) This is useful for two reasons. For one thing, it ties the branding of the two teams together. But more practically, players who are getting called up already have a key piece of their gear in tow.
What's not cool: The white Lightning logo over orange on the right shoulder. Someone at SME has to be shaking their head over that. I would've at least used the blue bolt if the shoulders had to be orange. Which brings me to my other point: Why not make the shoulders blue? These are obviously not recycled jerseys. They're new, with the blue piping added all over the place. Fix it.
That's all I have to say on Syracuse for now. Their home opener is tonight so I assume we'll get to see the other jerseys. I'll add photos as an update to this post later on.
Also this season, the ECHL's Florida Everblades are celebrating their 15th anniversary along with their 2012 Kelly Cup championship. You can see both represented in the photo above as the team hit the ice in their new green anniversary sweaters and raised a special banner last night.
By the way, that Blades game was also the first time that expansion team Orlando Solar Bears hit the ice. You can see what their uniforms looked like in action for the first time on their Facebook page. The Orlando Sentinel also has a neat side-by-side shot of both teams' uniforms.
Interestingly, both of these games required extra time to decide. The Everblades won on a goal 26 seconds into overtime while the Crunch fell to the Rochester Americans in a shootout.
Turns out, the Crunch were just wearing an alternate jersey on Friday night. We know that because on Saturday night, they unveiled their actual home and road jerseys. They look like this.
You'll note that the alternate jersey in this photo is the opposite of the white jersey the Crunch actually wore on Friday. That means they actually have four different uniforms in their arsenal this season. Seems a bit excessive. Is the attachment to orange all to do with the university?
I'll leave you with a look at the new white jersey in action.
Two sidebars. 1) Check out the 75th anniversary jersey the Hershey Bears are wearing! (That means four jerseys for them too, because they unveiled home, road and alternate sweaters with their rebrand over the summer.) And 2) Does anyone know what the standard is for AHL uniforms? Do they usually wear white at home or on the road? And does it switch midseason like it does in the ECHL?