Introducing the Utica Comets

Canucks' AHL affiliate unveils name, logo and uniforms

The AHL's Peoria Rivermen have been searching for a new home over the last several weeks after the Vancouver Canucks purchased the franchise and announced it would be leaving Illinois. This afternoon at a press conference in Utica, N.Y., the team officially became the Utica Comets.

The new logo was first to be unveiled. Its shield design gives it an almost soccer-like quality. But the flying puck leaves no doubt this is New York's newest hockey team. The crest is styled after the look of the Canucks, the club's owner and NHL affiliate. Which is good because the jerseys belong to Vancouver too.

Utica Comets home, road and alternate jerseys (via Canucks website)

Comets to wear modified Canucks sweaters

Also unveiled at today's news conference were the new home and road uniforms, which are essentially Canucks jerseys with a different crest. And rather than using the Canucks' primary logo on the shoulders, it's the secondary mark — the stick in the rink. 

This has naturally led to questions from readers about whether it "means something" for the Canucks' future. I think it has more to do with aesthetics (the orca logo doesn't have any green) than anything else. And they're actually not alone. The Worcester Sharks wear on their shoulders the same shield logo the San Jose Sharks wear on their pants.

I like the simple carryover from the Canucks on the home and road designs. But that third jersey doesn't do it for me. There's clearly an effor there to call back to a Comets jersey from an earlier era, but text and numbers on the front rarely find favor with me.

Comets announce name, logos and uniforms at press conference (via Facebook)

New name a nod to the region's hockey history

Today's announcement marks the return of AHL hockey to Utica. The city had previously been home to the Utica Devils (who are now, somewhat ironically, the Abbotsford Heat) but that was 20 years ago. The franchise left town in 1993.

The name Comets has a long history in the area. Nearby Clinton, N.Y. was home to the Clinton Comets starting way back in 1927 — though they didn't pick up the Comets moniker until 1949. The team played in a number of leagues over the years but they made their name after joining the Eastern Hockey League in 1954. Can you name the other EHL team that's now a member of the AHL? It's the Charlotte Checkers.

The Canucks posted a neat infographic on their website that delves into the history a bit. It explains how the new logo was inspired by the old Clinton Comets logo. The mixture of Canucks elements really brings it all together if you ask me.

It's a great, simple design that accomplishes everything it needs to as far as establishing an AHL franchise in a new city. Sure we'll hear complaints about the text in the logo, the puck, and probably even cracks about the lack of creativity in the jerseys themselves. But consider the amount of time the organization had to put this all together.

The Canucks bought the Rivermen franchise in April. That's just two months to get logos designed and approved and put jerseys and other merchandise into production. That's a very fast turnaround for something like this. And it's rather impressive to see what the end result was.

Comets to begin play in Utica this fall

The Comets will hit the ice in October and have this inaugural season logo to mark the occasion. Looks familiar, right? Like the Canucks' 40th anniversary logo from a couple years ago? Certainly a logo design time-saver if I ever saw one. That said, it's well executed.

For more on the new Utica Comets...

There was a lot put on the web today about the Comets, especially through official channels. So if you want to learn more, how about a nice link dump? 

After you get your fill, drop back by and share your thoughts on the new Utica Comets.