All's pretty quiet on the hockey news front lately, besides a few interesting UFA's that are still looking for a home and RFA's looking for more cash. Everyone is talking about Lebron James and where he's going to go, but I'm more curious about the fate of Martin Brodeur, James Reimer, Tim Thomas, Daniel Alfredsson, PK Subban, Dany Heatley, Michael Del Zotto, etc. Time will tell I guess.
Another interesting news story came out a few days ago about The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, being interested in putting an NHL team in Seattle. For many reasons, this would be a great move for the NHL, whether for expansion or relocation. But until an arena is nearly built and/or they get NBA interest in Seattle again, I doubt Bettman will side with 99 on this one, for now at least.
Finally, before I get onto today's concepts, I will talk about the title of today's post. The HJC Open is coming soon, and I know it's been way too long since my last hockey concept, so I'll be making my "comeback" in the upcoming competition, with a totally new template that I hope will rock some socks. Last year's HJC Open was really fun to follow, even though I was eliminated 1st round. Hopefully the turnout will be great, lots of people participate and vote, and we get to see some awesome concepts.
Speaking of which, I have concepts to review!
COTY-June vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
COTW June30-July6 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames Heritage Classic Concept - Stephen T.
Yay: We start with this Heritage Classic concept for Winnipeg vs Calgary, an intriguing match up for Canada's showcase outdoor game. Despite the "Heritage" theme, Stephen uses some modern designs here, which make for nice jerseys. The Jets jersey is a perfect way for them to have a light blue 3rd, which they desperately need. The extra red is nice too. Calgary's jersey is an interesting mix between modern and 90's Flames styles.
Nay: Stadium Series? Perfect set. Heritage Classic? No. Having anything named Heritage and not having a) Jets' old jerseys, or b) Winnipeg Falcons-styled jersey is a big missed opportunity. Calgary's set is the same way, but at least there is a bit of a 90's look to it. The striping style is perfect as is, but seeing as black wasn't used for their logo or yoke until the 2000's, this set looks just to modern for me. The outline on the name is looking pretty messy too.
Overall: The premise of the concept is the failing point. But ignoring that, this is actually one of the better concepts I've seen from Stephen in a long time. These would work great as Stadium Series jerseys. 7.8/10
Colorado Avalanche Concept - Christian L.
Yay: Next is an Avalanche concept from Christian. I noticed he's using a striping pattern on the arms that I commented negatively about a few weeks ago, but I think the curvy arms look works well for Colorado's modern-ish identity. The curvy yoke design is also pretty cool. Everything else on the jersey looks like it belongs, and the end result is a great modern 3rd for the Avs.
Nay: The only thing I'd change is making the maroon hem stripe thicker. White is a secondary colour on the yoke and logo, and is split evenly with maroon on the arms, so being dominant on the hem only makes the jersey a little unbalanced colour-wise. Maroon doesn't have to dominate the hem, but I just think there should be a little less white. This applies to the socks as well.
Overall: This would be a huge improvement to their current alternate. 8.4/10
Boston Bruins Concept - Christian L.
Yay: Next is another concept from Christian, this time for the Boston Bruins. In huge contrast to the previous concept, this one has a really old-time hockey feel to it, like Philadelphia Quakers old. The logo complements this style perfectly as well. A classic Bruins look that they've never had, but fits right in.
Nay: Not sure why the black hem comes so far up the jersey. That gives the jersey a "way too small sweater that only goes to my belly button" look, which obviously isn't good. The unsymmetrical stripes are bugging me again, and I think the back numbers need more of an outline to stand out against the stripes.
Overall: Not as good, but still an interesting 3rd to consider. 7.7/10
Boston Bruins Concept - Phil B.
Yay: Different artist, same team, with Phil's Boston Bruins being the next concept today. This concept is how Nike would attempt at reinventing the classic: no hem stripe, simplified arms, and contrasting shoulders. I'm not a huge fan of the look, although it is realistic and believable.
Nay: I typically like to see the socks match the arms. Such is the case on the black jersey, but not the white jersey. I'd rather see both sets have the same socks, to match the arms, than the white socks we see here. Also on the white jersey, the black yoke outline isn't really needed, and I think the jersey would look better without it.
Overall: Not a bad design, but I'm not sold on the contrasting shoulders. 7.5/10
Arizona Coyotes Concept - Phil B.
Yay: Next up is a concept for the Arizona Coyotes, also from Phil. He keeps the striping pattern from their current set, but adds hem stripes, and uses beige and black instead of their current monochrome white and red. Everything looks in place, and execution is solid in general. The result is a much more colourful, flashy jersey that is perfect for their alternate.
Nay: I know they should use a different logo for their 3rd, and should have something to do with their "Arizona" rebrand. But really, that logo? While the ray effect is kinda cool, the logo in general is pretty boring, and nowhere near flashy enough for a good alternate. Their current "leaping coyote" logo would work just fine I think.
Overall: Great jersey, but meh logo choice. 8/10
Seattle Thunderbirds Concept - Justin S.
Yay: The WHL has some of the best and worst logos in hockey, with the Thunderbirds falling in the first category. This concept by Justin is a big modernization of the team, who's identity is pretty much the old Hartford Whalers' (which is a good thing). But this is somewhat of a throwback to their original jerseys, which looked like crap. This, however, looks sharp as a modern jersey, with a nice side pattern and an original arm style. A modern throwback done to perfection.
Nay: It doesn't look too bad in this case, because it fits with the modern scheme, but the next time I see "bib" piping on a jersey will be too soon. That's all I got.
Overall: It's not a jersey I'd buy, but it's a jersey I can respect. Good mix of old and new. 8.7/10
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Concept - David P.
Yay: Until today, I wouldn't have guessed that the Ragin' Cajuns had an ice hockey team. Although not a major program, my research today proved otherwise. Either way, this concept from David is really interesting by using a team or school we never hear about in the hockey community. The uniforms are actually pretty classy looking, perfect for college jerseys. I like how the logo is used instead of the college-standard word mark. The alternate is a nice addition too.
Nay: The only thing that bugs me is how hard to read the number is on the 3rd jersey. Use a white number instead, and all shall be fixed.
Overall: Execution is perfect, and the design is great. Really simple design, which limits how high I can score this, but overall a very nice concept. 8.2/10
Team USA Concept - s2dio
Yay: Next up is a World Championship concept for Team USA. Like every American jersey should be, it's classic-looking and loaded with red, white, and blue. The shoulder stars on the white jersey is a great move, and it's better without the stars on the red jersey too. This concept is American all over, and I'd love to see this for real.
Nay: I think the blue jersey has a little too much red, and it takes away from what is otherwise a beautiful jersey. I think reducing the stripes so that there is 2 white stripes (there's always been only two White Stripes), and one red stripe, I think that would be all the change required.
Overall: As a Canadian, it hurts me to praise anything American. However, this is brilliant. 9/10
Team Russia Concept - s2dio
Yay: s2dio's other concept today is from another hockey powerhouse, Russia. While Russia has kept the same style for quite some time now, s2dio designs something completely different. It's weird seeing Russia in a blue jersey, but it's a very solid look. s2dio does something with the stripes that most designers forget to do: put an outline-stripe on the outsides so that the flag effect isn't mixed in with the arm. Also, if you look at the white yoke on top, blue in the middle, and red pants, the blue jersey creates the Russian flag, which is really cool and looks great.
Nay: Maybe it's just me, but the logo on the blue jersey looks a little big. The wordmark logo on the white jersey is a little on the boring side, considering how flashy the rest of the jersey looks.
Overall: Between the two concepts, I can't pick a favourite. This one has more that I really like, and more that I don't like as much, so it evens out. 9/10
Arizona Coyotes Concept - Ryan H.
Yay: The last concept today comes from HJC's own Ryan H. The Arizona Coyotes are going through a name change, and would benefit from an aesthetic change as well. This 3rd jersey takes the logo from the current 3rd, and making it a little more colourful. The black 3rd is kind of weak in my opinion, so this is definitely a bolder look. I'm really liking the font choice, and the arms and yoke design. Solid concept.
Nay: The only thing I don't like much is the lack of black on the hem. The black cuffs really stand out on the jersey, but maybe they stand out too much without some sort of black design on the hem. This works for a modern jersey, so I can't bash it too much, but the traditionalist in me just doesn't agree with it.
Overall: Again, not a fan, but I can appreciate the fact that this is a well designed concept. 8.7/10
Well, I said I couldn't choose a favourite between s2dio's concepts, but I guess I'll have to. For taking a bit of a leap with the blue jersey, I'll give s2dio's Team Russia Concept my COTW nomination today.
This was one of the best days for concepts I've seen in a long time. Lots of high-quality concepts, and even the low scoring concepts had some interesting ideas to take out of. Great work everyone!
That's it from me. Don't forget to contribute to the COTW votes, and prepare yourself for the HJC Open beginning very soon. Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!