A Certain Kind of Crazy

Yesterday I posted a handful of notes relating to the recent rash of specialty sweaters both in the NHL and the minor leagues. I saved a couple for today because they're just a certain kind of crazy that deserve a post all their own.

Tomas Kaberle #15This one, too, begins with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Earlier tonight, they joined couple of other NHL clubs who have paid tribute to the military with special camouflage warm-up jerseys in 2009-10.

Don't misunderstand, these teams always seem to have their hearts in the right place when they do these things, but I do think it's sometimes a bit nuts.

The Leafs offered a few more details regarding the reason for tonight's military-themed sweaters.

More than 360 Canadian Forces personnel attended the game at the invitation of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Gen. Walter Natynczyk officiated the ceremonial puck drop before the game, and was visited at centre ice by former Leafs goaltender Johnny Bower, who was in full military garb.

If you're interested in more pictures from the warm-ups and pre-game ceremonies, the team's web site is happy to oblige.

For the record, it appears, to me at least, that the Leafs were wearing the same Reebok-made camo jersey that the Blackhawks and Ducks wore earlier this season.

Icehawks' Star Wars jerseyAlso tonight, the IHL's Port Huron Icehawks hit the ice wearing what I can only describe as a visual atrocity.

At least most teams are bringing awareness to an important cause or donating auction proceeds to a worthwhile charity. The Icehawks are just dressing up in Star Wars-themed jerseys for an evening!

All right, to be fair, these jerseys are being auctioned for charity — the Cherry Beach Council on Aging. And before you scoff, think of your grandmother.

Still, Star Wars Night? Really? TheForce.net — not kidding — posted a press release about the event, which included the following:

Star Wars jersey in actionThe Port Huron Icehawks are hosting their 3rd annual Star Wars Night on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at McMorran Arena. The players will be wearing specialty Star Wars jerseys to be auctioned off for charity. Proceeds benefit the Cherry Beach Council on Aging.

Bounty hunters from all over the galaxy will want this one-of-a-kind piece of Icehawks/Star Wars memorabilia! The action goes into hyperspeed as the Icehawks take on the Flint Generals at 7:30 p.m.

These extremely cool jerseys were designed by Great Lakes Garrison member Scott "Crow" Withers TK-1491.

Two things: 1) Playing fast and loose with the term "extremely cool," aren't we? 2) This is the third time they've done this?! It's true. A photo gallery, for those among you who would dare to boldly go where no... wait, that's not right.

Finally, we end the night with the OHL's London Knights. These guys normally wear green and gold, but when it comes to raising cash for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, they're all about the blue and gold.

For those who can't read the text on the image, here's all of the information we have relating to the special jerseys.

On Saturday, February 6th, be part of the House of Blue in support of the Make A Wish Foundation of South Western Ontario, presented by The Brick.

Knights players will wear blue jerseys which will be up for auction following the game with all proceeds going to Make A Wish. Join the London Knights and wear Blue!!!

I'll keep an eye out for pictures of these special jerseys next weekend.

Thanks to Ryan for the Knights tip, Victor for sending along the Icehawks link and Shaun for drawing my attention to the Leafs' military night jerseys.

Around the Minors

I've actually got a lot to talk about on this Friday, including a few minor league-relating items.

We'll begin with a shoutout to PuckDrawn, with a first look today at the new uniforms of the IHL's Quad City Mallards. Icethetics first took you "quack to the future" with the unveiling of the team's new logos back on July 1. Now see them on the jerseys.

Mallards unveil uniforms (via PuckDrawn)

You can see the home, road an alternate sweaters being modeled here. A little shockingly, those neon greens are not the third jerseys. So they're going to see a lot of ice time this year. The Mallards also made available the lowest quality images ever of the designs.

Typically, we like these images to be larger for the purpose of seeing the detail of the design. But we'll live. One thing worth noting is that the green in this image and the actual green of the jersey look nothing alike. I like the one shown here better.

It also appears that the alternate sweater in the photo is dark blue while seeming to be black in the following image. Not sure which one is playing tricks on my eyes.

Next, we move on to another obscure minor league — the SPHL. On Wednesday, the Pensacola Ice Flyers announced they have sold enough ticket packages to be able to field a team this season. Now it's time for a real web site. But that also means they need a logo.

This morning I checked back in on the poll being conducted by the Pensacola News Journal. Much to my disappointment, SixZero's design (Logo 3) has fallen behind option 4. After 2,776, Logo 4 is ahead with 35% of the vote, just three percentage points ahead of SixZero. Normally, I'd tell all of you to get over there and get voting, but this isn't for us, it's for hockey fans in North Florida. If that's what they want, that's what they get.

However, the poll, which began on July 17, indicates no end date. Therefore, there's no way to know when the Ice Flyers club will make its decision with regard to the team's logo. So I will keep an eye out for that and keep you all updated.

Quack to the Future!

Just days ago, hockey fans in Moline, Illinois were mourning the loss of hockey as the Abbotsford Heat unveiled its new logo and uniforms. But happiness now reigns as the league that once hatched the Quad City Mallards resurrects them — and with six new logos to boot.

Today the International Hockey League announced the approval of the expansion franchise. The team now has a bare-bones web site set up with the following splash page graphic — from which I borrowed tonight's headline.

It features six different logos, two of which are textless. I didn't think you could make a mallard look intimidating but somehow these guys actually managed. And while I'm impressed by the look of this club, I can't help but wonder how wise it is to exist in the first place.

An article in the Quad-City Times points out the frequency of attendance trouble the i wireless Center has faced for hockey in the last decade. (Also talks about the management's marketing strategy for getting fans back.) The arena has been home to the sport since 1995, but has also lost two different teams — the original Mallards shut down when the Calgary Flames moved the AHL's Ak-Sar-Ben Knights to town in 2007.

Now they're gone and I hate to pass judgment on the fans, but it just doesn't seem like there are enough of them in Moline to warrant a team. Maybe you just make the 90-minute trip down I-74 to see the Rivermen in Peoria.

Having said that, there's more to this story. See, the IHL used be called the United Hockey League — the home of the first Quad City Mallards club. So in a way, it's like they just took a two-year vacation while the AHL tested the waters of a market that it found couldn't quite support it. So maybe they're right where they're meant to be.

Thanks to J.D. for the tip on this story and for making the "Mallards are re-hatching" joke. And now that you've heard enough from me, what do you guys think of the menacing green-headed bird logos above?

Where's The Puck?!

The newest incarnation of the IHL isn't exactly rolling in the dough — and neither is its member clubs. What makes me say that?

That is an actual picture of the ice rink of the Fort Wayne Komets from their official web site. I count 18 logos on the ice — not including the Komets' own at center ice.

Personally, I'd be concerned with not being able to follow the puck from the stands, let alone on TV — not that IHL games are broadcast on TV or anything.

Anyway, the real kicker in that photo is the complete lack of any ads or anything at all on the boards. Hopefully they're in the process of adding something.

Thanks to David for sending in the picture.