Playoffs are coming soon, which is exciting. Next season is getting closer too, and that's especially exciting if you're an AHL fan. I'm excited to see how the new Pacific division looks once all of the team swapping and jersey unveiling is finished. I've also heard rumours that Winnipeg's AHL team could be moving (again), but this time going back to Winnipeg, with the possibility of Montreal or a few other teams sending their AHL club to St. John's. At this point, I'm not sure what's true or false, and what to expect for jersey designs of the new teams, but I'm sure the next few weeks and months could be exciting for jersey fanatics like us.
*** Edit by Ryan ***
I am starting to plan out the 2015 Pairs Competition. For those who weren't around last year, it's a bigger competition where you and another artist team up to create a large project which is determined by me. Last year we had an Advanced Division and an Intermediate Division. This year we're going to have a Logos Division and a Jerseys Division. Ideally you'll enter where your talents will be most appropriately used. You will only be able to enter one division. The theme of this year's Pairs Competition will be the NHL's 100th anniversary.
The competition is tentatively scheduled to start on March 28 or 29. That makes now a good time to start contacting people to see if they want to team up. It's teams of 2. Not a team of 3, not a team of 1, not a team of 7. A team of 2. If you don't know anyone, Saturday's post will provide you with an opportunity to connect with some other concept artists.
Have you thought of what competitions you'd like to see on the blog? There are a lot of great possibilities out there, so make sure you have your opinion heard and leave a comment telling us what kind of competition you'd like to see!
I've seen a few ideas by others so far that are interesting. A video games one could lead to some interesting designs, as would a WWE/wrestling competition. I remember seeing a really cool Ultimate Warrior concept on the blog about a year ago, and I'm sure Bret Hart could inspire some cool hockey designs. The problem with both is that not everyone here is a video game or wrestling fan, and that will be a problem with a lot of "niche" ideas. I like the idea of taking a small, barely known league (like a junior or semi-pro league) and having a competition for it. It'll level out the playing field for most, and we'll get to see teams we don't regularly feature on the blog. My personal recommendation would be the BCHL (B.C. Jr. A), or KIJHL (B.C. Jr B.).
Before I get to the concepts, don't forget to vote on our COTW and COTY February votes! Can't believe we're already at the 2nd monthly vote of the year!
COTY-February vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
COTW March 1-7 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Nashville Predators - Caz W.
Yay: Let's start things off right with this beauty of a concept from Caz. Without putting too much thought in the design, it's a moderately-simple design that would work great for the Preds. But digging into the concept further, we see that he uses the "Golden Ratio" for the stripe patterns, as well as adding checkerboards to the stripes and yokes, and putting tons of detail into the collar design. Everything looks cool, and is an improvement to the current home jersey.
Nay: Well...almost everything. I'm not really buying the font that is used here. The Greek inspiration is kind of cool, but I just don't like how it looks on a jersey, especially since Nashville's font looks so good as is.
Overall: Teams nowadays need more identity, and this certainly gives the Preds more identity. Well done. 8.6/10
San Diego Gulls - J3
Yay: Up next is the first of many Gulls concepts today, with this one probably being my favourite. As I said above, teams need more identity, and the gull-style stripes here are a perfect way to accomplish that for this set. There is just enough blue to make this stand out from the Ducks jerseys, while still looking similar to them, which is perfect for a farm team. The pants are really cool. Also thumbs up for using shadows to make your concepts stand out more on a white background, it's a small thing that could improve so many concepts.
Nay: The only thing I really don't like is how the "SD" shoulder patch is used on both shoulders. I like it and it should definitely be on one shoulder, but not both. I'd put the Ducks logo, or something different.
Overall: Concepts like this are what get me excited for the new AHL designs. Bravo! 9.3/10
San Diego Gulls - Jarrett T.
Yay: Next up is Jarrett's take on the new Gulls design. While not as creative as the concept above, it's arguably more realistic, seeing how matching the parent club's design seems to be the current trend. The blue-gold swap works really well, and gives this jersey a really refreshing look, while matching the colours of the logo perfectly.
Nay: While the look is very refreshing, this is barely anything more than a recolouring job, so major loss of creativity points. The pants stripes are too thin, and the helmet should have some sort of logo on it. They would probably use the Ducks' main logo on the shoulders instead of their Disney-era one.
Overall: I guess it's cool, because other teams are doing it, but I'd be disappointed if the Gulls went for a recoloured design like this. Believable? Yes. Good looking? Yes. Creative and original? Not really. 7.5/10
San Diego Gulls - Mario A.
Yay: Our last Gulls concept today comes from Mario, who gives us something we haven't seen too often for Gulls concepts: a blue primary jersey. That alone would make this the least believable of the 3 concepts today, but easily the most bold and original. The arm stripes aren't too flashy, but look nice, and the colours are well balanced.
Nay: One very obvious problem with using a blue jersey with orange as a secondary colour is that you now have a jersey better suited for the Sharks' affiliate rather than the Ducks'. Beyond that, the name is too high, the back numbers are too low, the main logo is too small, and the collar on the blue jersey should be coloured white or orange.
Overall: If execution was better, and the Gulls were actually San Jose's affiliate, then this concept would be perfect. 7.2/10
Ontario Reign - Mario A.
Yay: But Mario wasn't done his reign of boldness there, for now he has a totally new design for the Ontario Reign that adds some much needed flair to such a bland jersey. The "crown" design above the stripes are perfect, if a crown is what you were going for. The striping pattern itself is a bit mellow, but looks better and fits the retroness of the logo better than the design they went with.
Nay: Execution is better on this concept, especially with the sizes of everything, but the name is still too close to the yoke and the numbers could be raised up a bit. The collar on the black jersey would be better off white, or even grey on both jerseys. I'd rather see the hem striping continue on the sides of the jersey. I think using the crown design on the hem would be a good idea.
Overall: Still not perfect, but some really cool ideas coming from this concept, especially with the arms. 8/10
Utah Grizzlies - Ryan C.
Yay: Ryan has been slowly evolving into a legitimate COTW contender lately, with his first nomination (and subsequent 2nded nomination) on Tuesday. Congrats! He continues his ECHL designs with this Grizzlies set. I like their current set, but considering that Utah is arguably a classic team compared to most teams in the ECHL, a traditional set seems fitting. Plus a set like this always looks good, no matter what team it's for. Execution is extremely well done.
Nay: I'd rather see their current secondary logo on at least one of the shoulders. Not necessarily a fault with this concept, but going forward, it would look more professional and better executed if you used an actual name (a current player of that team, or your own name) than just putting "PLAYER".
Overall: Not the most exciting set, but very well designed nevertheless. 8.6/10
Dallas Stars - Taylor R.
Yay: Last up is Taylor's
Nay: My only problem is the font used on the numbers. They're original and readable, but a little too "frilly" for my liking. A simpler block font, or one they use now, would be perfect.
Overall: Besides the font, I'd take this set over their current set for sure! 8.6/10
While there were some great concepts today, J3's San Diego Gulls concept is my runaway choice for my COTW nomination.
Hope you guys enjoyed today's post! Don't forget to vote and tell us what competitions you'd like to see on the blog!
As always thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!