It wasn't an April Fools joke.
The San Jose Barracuda branding is official. This morning, the AHL franchise revealed the new name, logos and jerseys that will be used this fall.
As reported yesterday, the team will share its name with its presenting sponsor, the Bay Area-based Barracuda Networks. The company's logo is even part of the team's logo — both in the background and as the front teeth of that frightening fish.
The Worcester Sharks will depart for California after this season to assume the San Jose Barracuda identity.
From the AHL's press release:
“We have loved the name Barracuda since the start of this process and it was a natural fit for us to approach Barracuda Networks in regards to this unique partnership," said Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora.
No matter how you feel about corporate sponsorships in pro sports, you can't deny this is a great use of the concept. Great name, great logo. The co-branding is very well executed. And if the influx of tech sector cash helps keep the franchise financially stable, so be it.
By the way, I'm fine with this in the AHL. I am still firmly against any kind of advertising on NHL uniforms. Don't get me started.
Also of note in that release, if you weren't aware:
Barracuda was among the names originally considered for the NHL expansion team granted to George and Gordon Gund in 1990. The organization ultimately selected “Sharks” as the name of the franchise.
So you could say the San Jose Barracuda were a good 25 years in the making.
The Barracuda are affiliated with and owned by the San Jose Sharks. The two clubs will share the SAP Center beginning in the 2015-16 season.
Elsewhere in the AHL today, the Bakersfield Condors unveiled a recolored logo for the 2015-16 season.
The AHL's Oklahoma City Barons will relocate to Bakersfield, adopting the name of the existing ECHL team — which, in turn, will move to the east coast to become the Norfolk Admirals.
Since the Condors are owned by and affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers, they will adopt Oilers colors.
The jerseys have not been revealed yet, but they'll likely mimic of the Oilers design — just as the Barracuda jerseys mimic the Sharks.
In January, the AHL announced plans to have five franchises relocated to California to create a new Pacific Division.The for the five NHL teams involved was to move their development operations closer to home to keep a better eye on players' progress.
The infographic below illustrates the relocations taking place in the AHL and ECHL in 2015-16. (Updated Apr. 6.)