June promises to be a busy time for minor league hockey branding. Let's run down some of what to expect — including a big unveiling on Tuesday morning.
First up, the SPHL's Columbus Cottonmouths are expected to debut a new logo tomorrow. The franchise has been a member of three different leagues (including the Central Hockey League and ECHL) over the last 20 years.
They've had the same snake since 1996 and it's long overdue for a significant update. Seems we may finally be getting that this year. I'm also excited about the creative force behind the redesign — which I'll discuss more in depth after the reveal.
In other SPHL news, the league will add two teams and lose one this fall. If the expansion Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs don't have the worst name in hockey, they're certainly making a good showing for it. The Evansville Thunderbolts debuted their name and logo in April. They're replacing the ECHL's Evansville IceMen who are moving to Owensboro, Ky.
And lastly, the Louisiana IceGators have suspended operations for the 2016-17 season while their arena undergoes renovations. They plan to be back in 2017-18.
Meanwhile in the ECHL, the Wichita Thunder finally unveiled their new logo — promised since last summer. But it flew so far under the radar and with such little fanfare, even I missed it for the past two weeks. The team debuted the new look on May 21.
The design a major improvement over the previous logo which was glorified text. The hammer (presumably of Thor) is a nice addition and a new take on the Thunder theme.
That brings us to the AHL where we are awaiting new looks from two clubs. The Arizona Coyotes moved the Springfield Falcons to Tucson and an announcement of the new name and logo is expected at the end of next week on Sat., June 18.
Elsewhere, the Portland Pirates have been sold and relocated to Springfield, Mass. They are also expected to reveal their name and logos soon, though the timing of the release is not as clear. But June does seem to be a possibility.
They won't be the only two teams with new logos in the fall. Keep in mind we already saw the new Toronto Marlies mark in February when the Maple Leafs unveiled theirs.
It's still early so there could be a lot more to come. Stay tuned.