Nothing is confirmed yet, but it's being widely speculated that there will indeed be a World Cup of Hockey tournament, and it will have 6 core countries (Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland), as well as two "All-Star" teams: a European team made up of players from smaller hockey countries (Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany, Denmark, etc.), and a team of North Americans under the age of 23.
That's right, Canadians and Americans on the same team.
I get what the NHL would be trying to do (assuming that these rumours are true). The NHL wants to promote itself as much as it can with this event, so a team that isn't fully composed of NHLers is sacrificed for one that is, even if it means mashing two rival countries together.
But it just feels so wrong. I remember a hockey tournament I was in during my playing days, where all of the players from 8 teams were "mashed up" into new teams. It was a novel experience, but felt extremely awkward. The sense of team pride wasn't there, and teams were divided into little cliques of familiar individuals.
Granted, we're only dealing with 2 teams, not 8. But still, the team would surely feel divided, and the politics of the team's personnel would drag away the spotlight from where it should be.
And since these are the best North American NHLers under 23 (and there are a lot of them), you definitely couldn't count them out from being a contender. So how motivated would a "junior" Canadian get if it was Canada vs North America? Sure, players will find a way to get motivated like every other game, but the fire fueled by national pride won't be there.
More relevant to us as designers, how is this team going to look? Red and white? Then they're Team Canada. Add blue? Now they're American. You'd have to go with a neutral colour scheme (black and neon green, anyone?), which would look gimmicky and tarnish the prestige of the World Cup.
I have the same issues with the European mixed team, but I understand why that team must exist. I'd personally rather see two individual countries, and maybe a "World Cup Qualifier" event, but being an NHL event, I see the issues in that.
That's my rant for today. Maybe I'm just over-thinking it, and maybe it's a better idea than I give it credit for, and maybe this wont be the case at all. But it still bothers me and gets me slightly less excited for the event. But I'd like to know your thoughts on it, so let me know what you think by commenting on the post.
Do you like blue? Then you're going to love the extremely-important COTY 4th Quarter vote. 3 teams, 3 very skilled designers, 3 awesome blue concepts. Only one of these concepts will win this vote, and be the 4th and final semi-finalist for COTY. To summarize, this vote is huge! Do your civil duty and send in your votes! While you're doing that, you should also send in your weekly COTW vote, and your World Cup jersey designs if you've finished them. Lots of time left for the competition, but entries are already starting to pile in.
4th Quarter Vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
COTW Jan 11-17 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
World Cup - Jersey Phase (ends January 30 @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Today's World Cup of Hockey entries:
Buffalo Sabres - Dylan N.
Yay: We start with a Buffalo Sabres alternate from Dylan. The style is kind of similar to the Buffa-slug and Buffa-goat jerseys, but with bolder arm and side designs and a unique grey background. The Buffa-slug logo is reintroduced, sadly, but at least it fits with the team's colour scheme, and looks decent enough for an alternate logo. Execution is sharp and the design is original, cool, and fairly believable.
Nay: I feel like the design would suit the Nashville Predators more. It works for the Sabres, and they desperately need a new alternate, but to me this design would be perfect for the Preds. The logo looks like it should be moved down a little bit, so it gives the "C" and the front number some breathing room and balances the jersey's "whitespace" a little better.
Overall: Really interesting design. I'm not a huge fan of it, but I respect what it's doing and would definitely take this over their current alternate. 8.3/10
Seattle Metropolitans - Eric T.
Yay: Next up is a Seattle Metropolitans concept from Eric. He goes for a simplified version of their PCHL jerseys, using chest stripes instead of the barber-poles, and removing the "Seattle" from the "S". I think if an NHL team comes to Seattle, a simplified version of the old Mets jerseys would be the way to go.
Nay: This concept has been done to death (including by me, one of my first ever concepts), and most of the other designs are better executed than this. The name and back number are too small, the "S" could be lowered so it looks centered on the stripes, the yoke outline on the green jersey is unnecessary, and the red TV numbers on the green jersey are a little hard on the eyes, beige would be better.
Overall: It's a good, simple version of a beautiful jersey, but it could be executed better. 7.1/10
Pittsburgh Penguins - Justin C.
Yay: Now we get to see Justin's Penguins alternate. I love this logo, and it's a shame it hasn't been used more. I think the combination of the wordmark and logo look good in this case. The striping looks traditional but is unique to the Penguins' previous designs. Very sharp looking design that I'd love to see be made into a real uniform.
Nay: My only real complaint is the font of the numbers. The 3D text looks way too cheesy and minor-league for a jersey that has "classic" potential. I also don't like how wide the wordmark goes on the front of the jersey.
Overall: It's not quite perfect, but with some font changes it could be a great alternate for the Penguins. 7.7/10
Tampa Bay Lightning - Mario A.
Yay: Next up is Mario's Tampa Bay blast-from-the-past alternate. The 90's did some weird things to hockey jerseys, but I actually kind of liked this alternate. Mario updates it by removing the grey yoke, making the jersey primarily black, adding some lightning on the sides, and puts the new logo on.
Nay: The "waves" and the sea can't be the same colour, because then all you see is the weird wave-shadow design, which looks awful by itself. The blue on the arms comes out of nowhere and really doesn't look great. If the "waves" were blue, it would act as the hem, and the arm design would make more sense. But personally I'd rather see the opposite: blue jersey, black waves and arms (so similar to the original, and this logo with black instead of blue. The "rain" effect is really sloppy and looks very amateurish compared to the original, which was a bad idea to begin with.
Overall: I like the approach, but I'd rather have what we got in the 90's. 6/10
Flint Spirits - Ryan C.
Yay: Wait, a hockey team from Flint not named the Generals? When owners moved the team, a new team came to Flint and went by the "Spirits", before moving and Flint receiving another new team, again called the Generals. The jersey isn't exciting, but suits this 80's team just fine without looking like a Hartford Whalers knock-off. This jersey is classic, but looks sharp enough that it could be used today.
Nay: Having the primary logo as your shoulder patch is kind of redundant and lazy. The collar on the blue jersey should have white between the green parts. The green outline doesn't contrast very well with the dark blue number.
Overall: It's not flashy, but it's a cool, old-school concept, my favourite kind. 7.5/10
Florida Panthers - Trent D.
Yay: The last concept for today is Trent's Florida Panthers alternate. Florida has used blue as a primary colour before, but never with yellow as the main-secondary colour, so it looks new and better suits the logo and team identity. It's a solid design that can work in pretty much any era for the Panthers.
Nay: It can't be said enough how important it is to put your name or some ID on all of your concepts. The name seems a little too close to the top, and the back number should be bigger and lower. The logo should be larger as well. The collar looks quite busy.
Overall: I have a weird soft-spot for Panthers jerseys, especially the old ones. This jersey gives me 90's flashbacks, but is fresh and unique at the same time. Well done! 7.8/10
Even though it's a jersey I'd probably never buy, I'm going to give Dylan N's Buffalo Sabres concept my COTW nomination.
That's all I got for today. Remember to vote, especially for the big 4th QTR vote, this week, and keep sending in your World Cup jerseys!
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!