IceHL vs. NHL

I'm very excited about bringing the IceHL back this week! I'm saving the first of the final four polls for tomorrow just so no one misses anything during the long holiday weekend.

However, I am going to unveil the Calgary Cavalry's logo a day early. Look for that this afternoon. Keep an eye on Twitter for updates. Here is the new schedule for the end of this phase of the IceHL Project:

  • Mon. 9/7 - Cavalry logo unveiled
  • Tue. 9/8 - Hitmen poll, Blue Crabs logo unveiled
  • Wed. 9/9 - Kodiaks poll, Hellcats logo unveiled
  • Thu. 9/10 - Archers poll, Arsenal logo unveiled
  • Fri. 9/11 - Pioneers poll, Aviators logo unveiled
  • Tue. 9/15 - Hitmen logo unveiled
  • Wed. 9/16 - Kodiaks logo unveiled
  • Thu. 9/17 - Archers logo unveiled
  • Fri. 9/18 - Pioneers logo unveiled

On Monday, September 21, I'll outline the process for jersey design submissions and release a schedule for entries. I will also be taking submissions for the IceHL logo. The league needs one too, after all.

IceHL vs. NHL

Now the real reason for this post. I was comparing the IceHL with the NHL and thought I'd share it with everyone. (Keep in mind that I am a nerd.)

From the beginning I built a lot of safeguards into the project so we would have minimal overlap with the NHL. I wanted designers to be able to branch out and come up with something entirely new. Still, we ended up with IceHL teams in 17 of 30 NHL markets. But I guess you can't keep hockey teams out of the big cities, right?

The shared markets: Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, (North) Carolina, Chicago, Colorado/Boulder, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles/California, Minnesota, Montreal, New York City, St. Louis, Tampa, Vancouver, and Washington D.C.

But consider some of the places that didn't get IceHL teams — Ottawa (the capital!), Toronto (Hockey Hall of Fame!), Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland, Hartford, and San Francisco/San Jose. I was surprised to see towns like Regina and Saskatoon get nods while Ottawa and Toronto were overlooked.

How do the nicknames compare? I generally tend to think of sports team names in five categories: animals, people, nature, abstract and "other." IceHL has 8 animals: Blue Crabs, Mammoths, Nighthawks, Barracudas, Huskies, Kodiaks, Gators and Scorpions. NHL has 7: Ducks, Thrashers, Bruins, Panthers, Coyotes, Penguins, and Sharks.

As for "people" nicknames, the IceHL offers up 11: Colonials, Hitmen, Guardians, Archers, Sentinels, Outlaws, Pioneers, Renegades, Sharpshooters, Aviators, Lumberjacks. The NHL has 8: Blue Jackets, Oilers, Kings, Canadiens, Islanders, Rangers, Senators, and Canucks.

A smaller amount can be categorized as "nature." In the IceHL, only the Wave qualify. The NHL has 5: Flames, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Lightning and Maple Leafs. (The Wild isn't specific enough to make this category.)

Many team names in any sport tend to be abstract or ambiguous. There are 6 in the IceHL: Motorheads, Steelcats, Olympiques, Beasts, Hellcats, and Winterhawks. The NHL has 8: Blackhawks, Stars, Red Wings, Wild, Predators, Flyers, Blues, and Capitals.

As for the rest, they fit a number of minor categories, such as war and weaponry: (IceHL) Arsenal, Armada and Cavalry; (NHL) Sabres only. One is a drink: (IceHL) Lagers; and the other is supernatural: (NHL) Devils.

With 30 teams in each league, it isn't uncommon to see nicknames doubling up with similar concepts. For example, the NHL has the Capitals and Senators in the two capital cities, as well as Canadiens and Canucks (what you might call citizens).

It's much more prevalent in the IceHL, however. You have the Armada and Cavalry, Steelcats and Hellcats, Renegades and Outlaws, Sentinels and Guardians, and even Nighthawks and Winterhawks. It seems that as much as voters wanted the freedom to be creative, they couldn't help but fall into old patterns.

Here's another question: Why are the IceHL's team names so long? In writing them so often, I feel like so many IceHL teams have such long names. North Carolina Nighthawks — 23 letters! Saskatoon Sharpshooters — 22! Even the Salt Lake City Scorpions have 21. The title for longest NHL team name goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets with just 19. The IceHL's Lumberjacks, Sentinels and Winterhawks each have that many letters or more.

For the record, the shortest IceHL team name is the Quebec Armada with just 12 letters. The NHL, however, wins out with the Dallas Stars who have a mere 11 letters.

So how do the two leagues stack up on the whole? The average length in the NHL is 15.2 letters while the IceHL averages an entire letter more with 16.2.

Another question: Is it the locations or nicknames that are causing the long names? The longest IceHL nickname is the Sharpshooters (13) and the shortest is the Wave (4). In the NHL, Blue Jackets (11) is the longest while Wild (4) is the shortest. IceHL takes the longest. Shortest is a draw.

The longest location name in the IceHL goes to North Carolina (13, again) and the shortest is a 5-way tie between Boston, Quebec, Dallas, Regina, and Alaska (6 each). In the NHL, Philadelphia (12) takes the longest while Boston and Dallas (6 each) share the shortest. The IceHL is still the longest.

I'm sure you didn't read through all of that, but if you ever get really bored, it's there. And if you find any other patterns or interesting numbers while comparing the IceHL and NHL, feel free to add a comment or email me so I can expand this already long post.