It's been a little quiet on the IceHL design front these days. No question about it. We skipped our usual summer contests because I want to spend some extra time planning a significant overhaul of the league for its 10th anniversary next summer!
More to come on that. For now, let's look ahead to what's in store for the 2017-18 season. I'm planning two design contests that will involve creating specialty jerseys for 12 teams!
Ice Classic Series
The first contest will be built around the IceHL's "signature outdoor event" — the Ice Classic Series. We've done it once before but it's fun to say "signature outdoor event." Basically, it's a series of three games that take happen to place during the same week as the NHL Winter Classic. We call them "outdoor" games and design special jerseys.
This year, those games will take place in Edmonton, Alaska and Minnesota.
- Boston Colonials at Edmonton Kodiaks
- St. Louis Archers at Alaska Huskies
- Vancouver Lumberjacks at Minnesota Mammoths
Designers will be able to create their own retro-style logo and jersey for each team. Readers will vote on their favorites and the winners will be used on ESPN. They will also become part of official IceHL history.
Road Not Taken Week
Late in the season — during Week 20 — we'll designate another set of three games as part of Road Not Taken Week. The idea here is that we pick a couple of logos that were part of the original design process for each of the teams involved and design jerseys for them.
The six teams taking part in that will be as follows.
- Baltimore Blue Crabs at Stockholm Hammers
- Milwaukee Lagers at California Wave
- Salt Lake City Scorpions at Houston Hellcats
I'll post two or three unused logos for each teams and the designers can choose which one(s) they want to design jerseys for. Once again, readers will vote for their favorites and the winners will become part of IceHL history!
So that's this season. What about beyond?
I'm still working through some ideas — and I'd love any input — but my thinking is that we'll go back to the drawing board in 2018. We started the IceHL project in 2008 so a decade in, things could be getting a bit stale.
That said, we have a number of teams with truly brilliant logos. I mean NHL teams would be lucky to have logos as good as some of what we have in our fantasy league. The Wave and Kodiaks immediately spring to mind, for example.
I obviously don't want to throw away everything we've spend 10 years building. But I do want to give the community the chance to take a second look at all of it. Plus, I reformatted the league a little this year. We shrank to a single 20-team fantasy league and spun off a secondary "minor league" that will have 12 teams. (It has 14 this year so I didn't have to "fire" any of our GMs. Now they have to fight to survive into next season.)
The community should decide which teams will be in the IceHL and which will be in the IceHA. This year, that was essentially determined by which GMs ended up in which league.
Because there will be so much to do, the 2018 design contests will start earlier than usual — probably in the spring before the season ends. Stay tuned to the IceHL page and follow @theIceHL on Twitter for all the latest updates!