Texas Stars shine with trio of classic theme jerseys

Our series of features looking at minor league theme jerseys picks up this week with the AHL's Texas Stars. The Stars are celebrating their fifth anniversary in Cedar Park this season.

Primary Uniforms

The franchise was actually founded 15 years ago as the Louisville Panthers, but the team shut down after two seasons. They were resurrected in Des Moines as the Iowa Stars in 2005. The name was changed to Iowa Chops for the 2008-09 season when the club became affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks. In 2009, the franchise was sold and moved to Texas a re-affiliated with Dallas.

During the 2013-14 season, the Stars wore three special theme jerseys. Before we get to those, the mini-slideshow up top will give you an idea of what the team looks like on a regular basis.

The Stars just unveiled this look last May.

Stars & Stripes Military Appreciation Weekend

November 8–9
The Stars held the first of two military appreciation weekends leading into Veterans' Day. Players were decked out in this patriotic mix of red, white and blue for Stars & Stripes Weekend. Be sure to check out all the photos above.

The special sweater was designed by Stars center Taylor Vause, who was featured here on Icethetics two years ago when he created a couple of jerseys for his WHL team, the Swift Current Broncos. Great to see Vause moving up through the ranks both in his jersey design career as well as his playing career.

The Stars wore this sweater for two games against the Milwaukee Admirals. Both were high-scoring outings as Texas won 7-4 and 5-4 on back-to-back nights.

The weekend was sponsored by Sport Clips and the subsequent jersey auction benefited the Texas Stars Foundation.

Pink in the Rink Weekend

February 21–22
Pink-infused jerseys hit the ice in Texas just last month as the Stars hosted their annual Pink in the Rink Weekend, sponsored by Cedar Park Regional Medical Center.

"Our Pink in the Rink sweater was my first stab at designing a jersey," said Texas Stars graphic designer Alisa Kessler. Her black-based cancer night jersey was among the best the AHL had to offer this season, if you ask me.

For more, see this post from Feb. 5 and this one from Feb. 24.

The theme jerseys continued to be hot for the Stars as they defeated the Charlotte Checkers on back-to-back nights, coming out on top 4-1 on Friday and taking a shootout win on Saturday.

Jersey auction proceeds benefited Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas.

Military Appreciation Weekend

March 21–22
Finally, this past weekend, the Stars honored the military once more with these black and white arctic camouflage sweaters. I imagine it'd be easy for the opposing team to lose track of a puck shot at a goalie's chest. Where'd it go?

"I helped design our latest Military Appreciation arctic camo jersey as well," said Kessler. "But the general concept/look didn’t change too much from last year – mostly just the color was swapped out from woodland to arctic."

Round Rock Auto Group sponsored the weekend and auction proceeds benefited the Texas Stars Foundation.

The Stars were successful again wearing special uniforms for back-to-back nights against the Oklahoma City Barons. Texas won 4-3 in a shootout on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday.

In fact, the victories helped the Stars become the first team to clinch a spot in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.

In wrapping up, I have to extend a huge thanks to Texas Stars graphic designer Alisa Kessler, who was extremely helpful in putting this story together.

Quick nabs gold for the U.S. with mask design

Icethetics voters have spoken. Jonathan Quick had the best goalie mask at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Definitively.

Quick's design bested 24 other netminders' in the 2014 Men's Olympic Goalie Mask Tournament. Quick joins Canada's Shannon Szabados who earned gold in the women's tourney.

The men's tournament ended Sunday after 18 days and more than 14,000 votes. Quick defeated Henrik Lundqvist with 55% of votes. Just as in Sochi, the Swedes have to settle for silver.

The dark horse, in my opinion, was Latvia's Edgars Masalskis who seemingly came out of nowhere to claim bronze against Jonas Hiller with a substantial 59%.

In fact, both Latvian goalie masks performed surprisingly well in this tournament. Masalskis faced fellow countryman Kristers Gudlevskis in a patriotic showdown in the quarterfinals.

Among those I was surprised to see eliminated so early were Tuukka Rask, Roberto Luongo and the two Norwegian netminders, Lars Haugen and Lars Volden.

Click bracket to enlarge.

The slideshow above celebrates Quick's victory by giving us a look at a few more angles of his mask — which was designed by Steve Nash of EyeCandyAir. Nash even made some Vine videos showing the creation of the mask.

Just because the tournament is over doesn't mean there's nothing left to vote on. I'm kind of curious to see which gold medalist you like better. Also, do you prefer Quick's USA mask to his Kings mask? Vote in the two polls below.

And because this post hasn't been jam-packed enough, I wanted to leave you with one more image gallery. Eleven of the goalies that went to Sochi never played in a game so their masks weren't included in our tournament.

Still, I'm sure we'd all love to get a look at them. To that end, I did a little digging.

Unused Olympic Goalie Masks

Unfortunately, I was unable to track down photos of masks belonging to Rene Swette (Austria), Andrej Hocevar (Slovenia) or Tobias Stephan (Switzerland). If you spot any, please let me know so I can expand the slideshow.

Which of these unused Olympic masks is your favorite? Any you think could've competed with Quick for gold? Let us all know in the comments.

NHL Sweater Switch 2014: Trade Deadline Edition

Every now and then, the NHL Trade Deadline surprises us. Eleventh hour deals send away players we never expected to see in another jersey. Full disclosure: As a Lightning fan, this hit close to home as Martin St. Louis was granted his request to become a New York Ranger.

But the St. Louis-Callahan trade wasn't the only one that put big names in new uniforms. As the Stanley Cup Playoffs near, Icethetics' NHL Sweater Switch feature returns to examine some of the changes we saw during the 2013-14 season.

As you scroll through this article, you'll find collections of photos showing key players who were traded this season. Be sure to click through to see more photos.

Thomas Vanek began the season as one of the co-captains of the Buffalo Sabres, wearing the "C" for home games. But three weeks into the season, he became the face of the first blockbuster trade of the season.

Vanek was dealt to the New York Islanders on Oct. 27 for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. On the ice, it was No. 26 for No. 26 as the players essentially swapped jerseys. Then on deadline day, Vanek was sent to the Montreal Canadiens for Sebastian Collberg.

Josh Gorges wears No. 26 in Montreal, so Vanek switched to No. 20.

Matt Moulson also landed with a third team at the deadline (March 5). After leaving the Islanders for Buffalo on Oct. 27, the deadline saw him sent to the Minnesota Wild with Cody McCormick in exchange for Torrey Mitchell and a couple of draft picks.

Moulson kept his No. 26 jersey at each stop. He holds the record for most jerseys worn by a single player this season with 9! He wore three on Long Island (he was gone well before the Stadium Series), three in Buffalo and three in Minnesota.

Ben Scrivens joined the Los Angeles Kings last summer, but most fans probably know him best as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He barely got half a season backing up Jonathan Quick before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick on Jan. 15.

After wearing No. 54 during his L.A. stint., Scrivens switched back to the more traditional No. 30 in Edmonton — the same number he wore in Toronto.

Michael Del Zotto was a fifth-year New York Ranger when he got word he was becoming a Nashville Predator. He was dealt on Jan. 22 for Kevin Klein in the midst of a Predators road swing.

Due to the long-distance trip, the Preds had limited jersey availability when Del Zotto joined the club. He was saddled with No. 18 for his first few games, but upon arriving back in Nashville, adopted a more permanent No. 5. Del Zotto wore No. 4 in New York, but that number currently belongs to Ryan Ellis.

Ryan Miller was one of two men at the center of the NHL's second blockbuster trade of 2013-14. He was sent with Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28. In return, the Sabres got Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier and two picks.

Three weeks after the deal, Miller got his new Blues mask from Bishop Designs. Prior to that, he wore a plain white mask with the Blue Note on the chin. As for his number, Miller went back to No. 39, which he wore in college (Michigan State) and wears during international play.

No. 30 is available in St. Louis, but it seems like Miller didn't want it. I'm not sure what the official story is, but I understand Miller wore No. 30 in Buffalo out of respect for Dominik Hasek's legacy — though the Sabres have not retired his No. 39 at this point.

Steve Ott joined Miller in the Blues deal. He returned to his No. 29 sweater which he wore previously as a member of the Dallas Stars. He was traded to the Sabres in 2012 when Jason Pominville wore the number.

Ott was No. 9 while in Buffalo, where he'll be remembered by jersey enthusiasts as the man responsible for revealing the Sabres' yellow third jersey last September.

Dustin Penner saw his second stint as an Anaheim Duck end when he was traded to the Washington Capitals the day before the trade deadline (March 4) for a draft pick. He kept his No. 17 sweater in D.C.

Roberto Luongo being traded was one of those deals everybody saw coming. The writing was on the wall after some rough time as a Vancouver Canuck recently. Luongo was acquired by the Florida Panthers with Steven Anthony on March 4 in exchange for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias.

While some goalies had a rough transition to their new teams, Luongo already had a custom mask in hand when he joined the Panthers — having played for team from 2000 to 2006. He simply busted out his old bucket. He, of course, kept his No. 1 jersey.

Martin St. Louis, in the first and most surprising deal of deadline day, was sent to the Big Apple for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and some draft picks. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain's request to join the Rangers has been well-documented.

Naturally, St. Louis did keep his No. 26 jersey in New York — one that despite the hard feelings, will still likely be raised to the rafters in Tampa someday. He was the last remaining member of the 2004 Stanley Cup championship team — one that would be honored at a Bolts home game just two weeks later.

Ryan Callahan became the fourth captain traded this season as he joined the Lightning in exchange for St. Louis — the rare captain-for-captain trade. Callahan kept No. 24, which had been worn briefly earlier in the season by call-up Dmitry Korobov.

Ales Hemsky was another player traded after a long tenure with a team. He had been an Oiler for 12 years prior to the trade to the Ottawa Senators. He kept his distinct No. 83 sweater in the move. (He has worn the Sens' black heritage jersey, though disappointingly, I've been unable to track down a photo.)

Marian Gaborik used to be a big deal. Now he just seems to bounce from team to team. The Columbus Blue Jackets traded him at the deadline to the Los Angeles Kings for Matt Frattin and a couple of draft picks.

Gaborik's No. 10 jersey is currently in use by Mike Richards so he switched to No. 12.

Tim Thomas was traded by the Florida Panthers in a straight goalie-for-goalie trade with the Dallas Stars. The Cats picked up Dan Ellis in return. Thomas wore John Vanbiesbrouck's No. 34 during his south Florida stint. In Dallas, he returned to his more traditional No. 30.

This trade will be remembered by history if for no other reason than the absurd color mismatch it created. Thomas had just gotten new Panthers equipment that he had to wear with his green jersey for a time in Dallas. He has since gotten new pads, at least.

Dan Ellis left the Stars for Thomas and had a similar color problem with his gear — though it was decidedly less noticeable than Thomas' red pads. Ellis joined the Panthers returning to the No. 39 he first wore in Nashville. He previously wore No. 33 during a stint with the Lightning and No. 30 while in Dallas. Wonder which he likes best.

David Legwand was the last remaining original member* of the Nashville Predators before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the deadline for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and a draft pick. (*—Technically, he dressed for one game during the 1998-99 season, so it counts!)

Legwand had to give up No. 11 — which seems to be popular in Detroit. Dan Cleary gave it up for Daniel Alfredsson when he joined the team from Ottawa this season. Legwand, instead, just went with Eaves' old No. 17 jersey.

Patrick Eaves spent five years as a Red Wing before heading to Nashville in the Legwand deadline deal. He kept No. 17 as a Predator.

Obviously I couldn't get to every player who was traded this season — nor would such an article be that interesting. But I hope I hit most of the big names. If there's anyone else you'd like me to add, drop a line in the comments.

What do you think of seeing all these players with new sweaters? Weird, right?

2013-14 NHL Logo Guide

The last couple of Icethetics Cover Stories have focused on the new uniforms that were introduced during the 2013-14 season. Today we'll take a quick look at the logos that debuted.

2013-14 Season of Change: Part 1 | Part 2

General Logos

The Sabres introduced a new wordmark and matching number set used on their new third jersey. The Flames launched a new third jersey with a wordmark crest and a special shoulder patch. Meanwhile, the Dallas Satrs created an entirely new visual identity.

Anniversary Logos

The Ducks and Panthers each marked 20 years in the NHL while the Bruins celebrated an impressive 90th anniversary.

Outdoor Events

The NHL held six outdoor games this season as part of the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, the Heritage Classic on March 2, and four Stadium Series games in between. Each team involved had specially designed logos, many new this season.

Special Logos

The 2013 NHL Draft was held on June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Later in the summer, the NHLPA officially introduced its own new mark.

What were your favorite and least favorite new logos in the 2013-14 season?

A rainbow of jerseys mark colorful Alaska Aces season

Since the relaunch of Icethetics in February, I've been trying to showcase more minor league theme jerseys. Recently, the ECHL's Alaska Aces caught my eye with their wide variety of designs.

Photos by Skip Hickey, from Alaska Aces via Facebook

Primary Uniforms

First, I should show you the Aces' regular home, road and alternate uniforms. Most readers have probably never seen them — especially because they just debuted this season.

Now you have an idea of what the team normally looks like. What follows is very different.

Paint the Rink Pink

October 8–9
The Aces wore pink for a preseason back-to-back series with the Cincinnati Cyclones. What a way to start the year, right? New fans may have heard the team was getting new jerseys this year. Imagine their surprise when the players stepped onto the ice.

Find more photos on the Aces' Facebook page.

As with all pink sports uniforms, they were created to raise awareness for breast cancer treatment and were auctioned to fans after the game. Proceeds were donated to Breast Cancer Focus, Inc. and the American Cancer Society.

Alaska lost the first game 4-2 but beat Cincinnati the next night 6-4. 

Pirate Night

October 19
Opening weekend brought a unique theme jersey. I haven't seen a lot of teams do Pirate Night, but that's just what the Aces did for the second night of a back-to-back with the San Francisco Bulls (may they rest in peace). They even encouraged fans to dress up as pirates too.

I'm actually kind of impressed by the attention to detail on this one. The jersey design itself is pretty cool, but check out the shoulder patches. Those were a particularly nice touch. It's also worth seeing the back. Find more photos on their Facebook page.

A night after falling to the Bulls 2-1, the Aces turned things around in a big way with a mighty aaarrrgh! or so it seemed, winning 5-0.

Military Appreciation

November 15–16
A month later came Military Appreciation Weekend. For back-to-back games against the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Aces wore digital camo jerseys, with the American flag on the right shoulder and the Alaskan flag on the left — perhaps borrowing a trick from their NHL affiliate in Calgary.

On the first night, the Aces lost 4-3, but like the pink rink weekend, they followed up with a win, beating Las Vegas 5-2. As usual, the Aces have a wealth of photos on their Facebook page if you're interested.

Hawaiian Night

December 21
Say you're an ice hockey team in Alaska. How do you celebrate the first day of winter? By wearing something tropical, of course. This is how the Aces do Hawaiian Night. It's extremely colorful!

The event was sponsored by Alaska Airlines, who gave away a trip to Hawaii during the game. That's gotta cheer up any Alaskan at such a dismal time of year.

Hawaiian Night turned out to be a success for the Aces, who defeated the Utah Grizzlies 5-3. And you definitely need to see more photos from this game.

As with all of this season's theme jerseys, they were auctioned off after the game.

10th Anniversary Night

January 18
The next month, the Aces celebrated a decade in Anchorage with a special fauxback jersey — and all the vintage white that implies. Despite what you may think, the sweater did not seem to be inspired by anything from the team's past, but it did include a nice 10th anniversary logo on the chest.

Overall, it's hard not to like — especially after Hawaiian Night. Can you believe those two jerseys came from the same team? Still, the more traditional sweater design led Alaska to a 6-0 rout of the Wranglers.

Hockey Heritage Weekend

February 7–8
That brings us to a new special event in the ECHL this season. The league's inaugural Hockey Heritage Weekend was held in Anchorage between the Aces and Stockton Thunder.

The event gives a pair of ECHL teams the chance to wear a classic jersey of their NHL affiliate while inserting their own history. Remember last week when I mentioned there was another hockey team that wore the Flames' throwbacks this season? (And no one seemed to notice.) This is what I was talking about.

The Aces wore retro Flames jerseys complete with the kind of morphed logo you might find on the Concepts page. Meanwhile, the Thunder — affiliated with the New York Islanders — went in a slightly different direction, honoring Stockton's Rough and Ready Island naval base.

Alaska won both games that weekend, 4-2 and 5-2.

St. Patrick's Day Weekend

March 15
The Aces wrapped up their theme jersey schedule with the one color it seems they hadn't yet used this season. Like many, they went green for St. Patrick's Day — a couple days early. And they didn't look to shabby.

Perhaps it was the luck o' the Irish, but Alaska beat the Colorado Eagles 4-2 while wearing a leprechaun on their shirt. A leprechaun who's carrying the Kelly Cup, by the way. I know the Aces are the ECHL's best team right now, but isn't that tempting fate a little?

In fairness, the Aces were Kelly Cup champions in 2006 and 2011.

They haven't posted many photos of the St. Patrick's Day jersey yet, but keep an eye on their Facebook page in case they do.

So what do you think of all these? You can leave a comment below or just rate them.