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May 31, 2011

NHL Returns to Winnipeg, Thrashers No More

"Welcome home", were the words that the Manitoba premiere borrowed from my patch concept. Just kidding but, Winnipeg does have an NHL team again and the city is abuzz!Despite the overwhelming joy coming out of Winnipeg there is a large American market that, for the most part, seems to be indifferent about their pro hockey team leaving. More on that in a moment but, lets look at some numbers first. The metropolitan area of Atlanta is just over 5 million people while the metro Winnipeg area is just under 700,000. Phillips Arena holds just over 17,500 for hockey while MTS Centre holds 15,015. While those numbers don't paint a great picture for Winnipeg's situation they, to me, say more about Atlanta's.I've read that some are disappointed because they feel that Winnipeg is blood thirsty and unforgiving as long as they get a team. How I see it is, Winnipeg's passion to house an NHL team was far greater than Atlanta's will to keep one. Yes, there are just as passionate fans in Atlanta as there are in Winnipeg. The problem is that there were not enough of them, not even close to enough of them, to silence the Winnipeg faithful. That is the difference between a good hockey market and a bad one. It, for the most part, has nothing to do with geographical location.Icethetics posted a link to an article by an Atlanta sports writer who blamed the Thrashers departure on low attendance because of a losing team on the ice. While winning does wonders for a franchise there are markets in the NHL who do realize that attending the games is a way to ensure your franchise stays in your city. Take a look at Toronto, Montreal, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Vancouver, and Minnesota. Even Minnesota learned its lesson! They lost their team and now they go to the games, win or lose. Why? Because their team is very important to them and they know how painful it was to lose it once. They won't let it happen again. Unfortunately, Atlanta doesn't have as strong of a committed fan base to collectively make the same statement.

Winnipeg will not be without its challenges though. Try convincing a player to come to Winnipeg during December-April. You can tell them how their breath will turn into moisture that freezes to their face. How so much snow will fall that their cars will be stuck on the driveway. Try to convince a player to stay away from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh...the list goes one, and come play in "Winterpeg".Does "The Peg" have enough corporate presence that are willing to sponsor the team and buy season tickets...expensive season tickets? Are there enough businesses left after that who will pay for the corporate boxes. Last I heard, that kind of money roughly accounts for 60% of a team's revenue. Finally, Mr. Gary Bettman essentially challenged the area by saying they needed to sell 13,00 season tickets to convince the Board of Governors that Winnipeg is a viable NHL ready market. Can they reach that goal in 3-4 weeks?

There are other questions. They're not as gloomy though. Do the owners already have a name picked out and are just waiting to release it? Will there be draft hats and jerseys ready for Minnesota on the 24th? When will the name and logos be revealed?

Of course, I need to provide concepts with my rant! It's a rare occasion but, today I'm ignoring the rotation and posting Thrashers, Moose, and Jets concepts.

Winnipeg Jets concept (by Tex)Here's an 80's version of the Jets jersey with a new shoulder patch. In my opinion, this one doesn't translate well to the Edge cut.

Atlanta Flames concept (by Kyle S.)Here's an interesting thought by Kyle. He thinks Calgary should move their farm team to Atlanta and become the old Atlanta Flames. While it is a neat idea, I don't think it would be efficient for Calgary to have their farm team so far away. It would take a day just to call them up! I do like the idea of an AHL team in Atlanta though. The IHL's Knights did reasonably well.

Manitoba Moose concept (by Avi)If I had to guess, I would say that in October 2011, we'll see the Moose in NHL jerseys. This is a great set by Avi and he brings back the pre-Edge jersey as the 3rd! I think if they do go Moose, they should tweak the jerseys.

Manitoba Moose concept (by Kyle S.)This is a very popular opinion, if they were to become the Moose. Use the Moose logo with the Jets colours. I like it but, I think the current Moose colours look great and are unique.

Atlanta Thrashers concept (by Kyle M.)For the first time I can say here are concepts for the defunct Atlanta Thrashers. I think it's really a shame that the Thrashers never used that A logo more. It was my favourite of all of them.

Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Brandon)This is certainly a nod back to the Thrashers. Using the early 2000's design and keeping the shield logo idea. This is a neat concept and I really like those Jets on the hem stripe (just like the arrows on the Thrashers' hem)

Winnipeg Falcons concepts (by Steven)This is Steven's 1st contribution to HJC. He went with another possible team name choice in the Falcons. Named after the 1st team that went to the Olympics to represent Canada. Steven uses the Fresno Falcons logo here but, he also combined the colours of the Jets and the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Atlanta Firebirds concepts (by John)This is a complete rebrand of the Atlanta franchise. John borrows a logo to create a sort of hybrid team between the Thrashers and the old Flames.

Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Avi)A little change in the colours and a slight modification to the classic jersey design of the Jets. If they are to use that name, I think that is the recipe they will use to create the new brand. The 3rd jersey is based on the Kitchener Rangers 3rd jersey design, which looks good as a Jets jersey also.

Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Tex)I really like how the bottom jersey reminds me of the old WHA days. The blue jersey is a nice modification to the old sweater. Also, I think that the jet in a circle logo is a bit of a no brainer. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that used.

Final reminder, tomorrow is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The HJC Live Blog will start at 7:55pm EST!!! Send in your Canucks and Bruins concepts and they may be posted tomorrow night!

May 30, 2011

Week of May 30 - June 5, 2011

Hope our American readers are enjoying their holiday weekend. Here's some HJC news, info and concepts to add to your day.

An entry for the North Stars ReDesign came in late last night.

Minnesota North Stars concepts (by Magnus)

Voting for the ReDesign is on NOW! You can vote by clicking on the banner on the right. You can also see all of the entries by clicking the link once you get to the clicking the banner on the right. Voting runs until Sunday @ 11:59pm EST.

Our next ReDesign will be a little more involved. We are collectively going to create a team from scratch! On the right side of the page you will find a poll that asks what city you want to create a team for. You can enter ANY city in the world. That poll closes on Wednesday @ 11:59pm EST. Once we get the city we'll go through the same process for a team name. Then we'll have a submission phase for logo concepts and then jersey concepts. Should be fun!

Last week's poll saw the inevitable and asked who you would let go of first if the Sharks lost the semi-final again. You guys have spoken and the overwhelming answer was Dany Heatley.Dany had 38 of the 77 votes cast (49%). Heatley scored 3 goals and 9 points in this year's playoffs. He was also a minus 2 and had 12 penalty minutes. He isn't paid what he's paid to have those numbers after April. The rest of the possible scapegoats had between 7 and 9 votes each.

This week's poll is very simple. Who's going to win the Cup?Voting is on the right side of the page and obviously you only have two choices. Voting goes until Sunday @ 11:59pm EST. At the halfway mark of the season, the weekly poll asked which team you think will win the Cup. Vancouver led the way with 35% of the votes. Boston however, only had 6% of the votes. I think this will be a very good series and I am looking forward to sitting down and immersing myself in every second of the action.

That includes Game 1, and I hope you can join me with your Bruins and Canucks concepts for the HJC Live Blogging. It will start just before puck drop on Wednesday.

The PLAYOFFS 2011 page has been updated with my prediction for the Final. Go there and leave yours as well!

Concept of the Week nominees have been revealed. Go to the CONCEPT OF THE WEEK page to see them. Then, vote on the left side of the page. Voting runs until Thursday @ 11:59pm EST. After this week's vote we will immediately go into COTY-May voting on Friday!

Atlanta Thrashers concepts (by Kevin)These may be the last Thrashers concepts I post where I won't refer to them as defunct. Anyways, Kevin sent in the home and road concepts and they were posted on Friday. In the comments, as 3rd jersey for the set was requested and Kevin was happy to oblige.

Buffalo Sabres concepts (by Michael)We get a couple Sabres concepts here from Michael. I'm still waiting for a grey jersey in the NHL, it's one of the things I'd really like to see (done properly). I'd also like to see that old Buffalo alternate logo in use again, somehow.

Minnesota Wild concept (by WinnipegJets96)This one could use a little cleaning up. The stripes on the arms run off a little bit. How to fix that is covered in the TUTORIAL. The lines on the back are supposed to be scratches I think. That reminds me of something you might see on the first batch of alternate jerseys back in the mid 90's.

Nashville Predators concept (by Kyle)I'm okay with this one. Instead of just colour up the sides, what about some sort of design or striping, like the Ducks' 3rd? I'd also prefer a more sports type font on the back.

Team Sweden concept (by Tex)
Looking at this makes me think, when the next World Cup of Hockey will be. I heard rumours of 2012 but, plans would have already been made public I would have thought. Check out the design on the back of the jersey. I really like those types of things!

Columbus Blue Jackets concepts (by Trevor)Check this out, Trevor has switched up the Jackets jerseys. I think that home jersey would have been more accepted if it was introduced as the 3rd instead of what they did use. The matching road looks good also.

Springfield Falcons concepts (by Trevor)Trevor after his Jackets re-design, has given their farm team some new jerseys to think about. I really like the old Indians logo on the vintage white version! I'll give that a COTW nom. The white one looks pretty cool too!

Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Brian)You're going to see a lot of Jets/Moose/Winnipeg concepts over the summer. Brian sends his in using the very popular concept logo by SyPhi Creations. The design on the sleeve is classic an unique! These are really great Jets jerseys.

P.S. Bob McKenzie (TSN) has reported on Twitter that the deal to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg is just waiting approval from Atlanta lawyers and could be announced as early as tomorrow, Tuesday, in the morning.

May 29, 2011

Minnesota North Stars ReDesign Entries

There's still just over 6 hours to get your North Stars ReDesign entry in! Deadline is 11:59pm EST. Click the banner on the right for all of the rules.

Speaking of which, there were a lot of entries that came in where people used a former North Stars jersey, be sure to check the rules before you send your entry in.

In the interest of fairness I won't be commenting on the entries but, feel free to leave your own comments!

Minnesota North Stars concept (by Evan)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Alan)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Andrew)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Avi)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Brad)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Ryan)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Kevin)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Kyle)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Marty)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Michael)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Tex)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Scott)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Spirit104)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Stephane)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Stephen)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by Trevor)
Minnesota North Stars concept (by WinnipegJets96)

May 28, 2011

COTW Winner May 16-22

COTW voting finished last night and the winner, with 25% of the votes, is me (Ryan). For only the 2nsd time, a ReDesign entry has gone on to win COTW. The first was Jack's Thrashers ReDesign. You can view the results below.As you can see, the voting was quite close. You can view the winning concept on the CONCEPT OF THE WEEK page.

Hamilton Bulldogs concept (by Alan)Alan has sent in this design before but, it was for the Canadiens. He felt that it was better suited for their farm club, the Hamilton Bulldogs. I would tend to agree with him. I'd also like to see a more consistency with the shades of blue. I like traditional jerseys so, what does everyone else think of this?

New York Islanders concepts (by John)We've also seen these jerseys before from John but, they were orange. Now he's implemented the rumoured black with blue and orange (as a 3rd next season) and used the lighthouse logo. I say leave this style to the Knicks and Mets but, I doubt that the Islanders will listen.

Toronto Tecumsehs (by WinnipegJets96)The Tecumsehs played one season in the NHA, in which they finished last. Was this shade of green even discovered yet back in the early 1900's? The simplicity of the design fits the era. What era is this for though? It's on an Edge cut jersey.

Minnesota Wild concept (by Kyle)To add a little life to this concept I think it needs more than just a big blocky stripe on the arm. While I appreciate the attempt at a new logo, I think that font on the front and back of the jersey is a little 90's. A few changes and this might start to shape up.

Calgary Flames concept (by Michael)This one borrows the design from the Penguins Winter Classic jersey and I prefer it in these colours. With the city above the logo, rival Canucks would have a field day accusing the Flames of copying them! I think the CALGARY should be removed and maybe have the horse logo on the shoulders.

Winnipeg Phoenix concepts (by Bryan)Bryan gets a little clever here by giving a new Winnipeg franchise the same name as a possible city that could have had their team relocated there. Cool jerseys but, the logo on the red jersey could probably use a white outline like the numbers on the back have. The colours would be somewhat unique as no team has worn what looks like fire red and vegas gold.

Minnesota Wild concept (by Sam)Sam puts forth a nice concept for his first contribution. I really like that green one. I think that would work well as a Winter Classic jersey! I also like the style of the numbers on the back.

Minnesota North Stars concept (by Brad)This isn't a North Stars concept for the ReDesign but, an Edge version of their 75-78 green jersey. Brad has turned the green into forest green. Collar laces are now featured also. I really like how there is still a drop shadow on the logo and numbers but, it's not as prominent because it's the same colour as the jersey. Nice work.

Speaking of the North Stars ReDesign, tomorrow at 11:59pm EST is the deadline to get your entries in. Voting will start on Monday and I HOPE to have a post up with all of the entries sometime on Sunday. I'll then post the late entries on Monday.

Final note is the Live Blog which will happen during Game 1 on Wednesday between the Canucks and Bruins. So if you got Canucks or Bruins concepts for the Live Blog, send them in now and they may get posted. You can also send them in as I am blogging on Wednesday.