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April 8, 2016

Friday: Mascots

Hello folks!  This week I'm going to discuss one aspect of a team's brand which is often overlooked, the mascot.  Mascots are the biggest way teams market themselves to the next generation of hockey fans, yet they haven't been discussed much on HJC.  I'm going to change that, today in the first of a seven part series on mascots, I look at the best mascots in the NHL.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
I'm biased as a Canucks fan, but Fin the Whale has always been my favourite mascot.  However Fin would probably make this list even if the Canucks were my least favourite team, because Fin has a cool trick up his sleeve, he's able to blow steam out of his blowhole.  I've always thought that was awesome, but besides that I think he's a good mascot overall.  An anthropomorphic orca could of been tricky, but the Canucks made it work.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
A list of best mascots wouldn't be complete without Harvey the Hound.  He was the first mascot in the NHL, and one of the most well known due to his run in with Craig MacTavish where MacTavish yanked out Harvey's tongue.  I also like how he doesn't wear a team jersey, especially now since the Flames jerseys aren't that nice.  It's a unique look that makes Harvey special.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Capital's mascot Slapshot makes this list even though he doesn't have a cool trick like Fin, or a unique history like Harvey.  I just like the look of Slapshot, he looks tough without looking scary, and he doesn't just look like a birds head on a human body.  Plus he doesn't have a big beer belly like a lot of other mascots do.

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Wildwing isn't the prettiest mascot around, it almost looks like there are pillows strapped to his legs, but how could I exclude mascot who worked his way onto the front of an NHL jersey.  Yes it was an awful jersey mostly because Wildwing was on it, but it was still a remarkable achievement.  I also have to give Wildwing credit for surviving a stunt that went wrong and caught him on fire.

Do you agree or disagree with my choices?  Let us know which mascots are your favourite in the comments.

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For the first time in a few weeks we've got more than one vote.  There's the Pairs Competition, which all the teams worked very hard on, so we should all go vote for that.  There's also the COTW which features eight different concepts, and we want lots of votes to (hopefully) avoid a tie.

COTW Mar 27-Apr 2 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Pairs Competition vote (ends Friday @ 10:59pm Eastern)

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Minnesota Wild, by Jay S:
Jay starts us off with a third jersey concept for the Wild which doesn't feature any green.  Personally I'm not a fan, I like the colour green too much, but maybe other people would enjoy it more.  The striping pattern looks good though, the chest stripe and shoulder design complement each other nicely.  However the back numbers have too many outlines in my opinion, I think solid red numbers with a single thick wheat outline would be easier to read.  The overall execution is very good, but I'd like to see what equipment you envision being worn with this jersey.  Would it be red, or would they stick with the green equipment they've always used?
Rating:  7/10

2016 Heritage Classic, by Jay S:
Jay's second concept is for next season Heritage Classic game.  The striping pattern for both jerseys is the same as Jay's first concept, and my thoughts on this striping pattern haven't changed.  I really dislike that both these jerseys match, it feels lazy, and I think it would sort of be a slap in the face to each teams individuality, especially for a Heritage Classic which is supposed to honour their history.  I do like the partial logos though, especially for Edmonton, the oil-drop on it's own looks quite good here.  The Jets logo looks good too, but I feel it (and the whole jersey in general) is too modern for the Heritage Classic.
Rating:  7/10

Vancouver Canucks, by Lucas D:
Next up, Lucas takes the striping from the Canucks original white jersey, adds a sleeve length yoke, and pairs it up with a matching blue jersey.   The yoke looks decent, but it would be more realistic (and look better, in my opinion) if it tapered towards the cuff (this HJC post here has a link to a variation of this template with a more accurate sleeve length yoke).  The rest of the concept looks good, I like how you separated blue and green on the dark jersey, however the shade of green looks a bit washed out.  The HJC team templates page is a good place to find accurate colours.
Rating:  7/10

Arizona Coyotes, by Ryan C:
The Coyotes currently don't have a full-time third jersey, maybe they should use this concept from Ryan.  Or maybe they shouldn't, I don't really like the piping.  Piping is okay if it's integrated into the design, but here it just looks like it was slapped on afterwords in an attempt  to make the design look more modern.  And that's too bad, because I like the rest of the jersey, the striping looks good, and so does the choice of logos.  There are a couple of execution errors, the shoulder logos use a different shade of black, and there's some loose pixels near the back collar and along the hem where you deleted the jersey stitching.
Rating:  7/10

Boston Bruins, by Ryan C:
Ryan also took a swing at a third jersey for the Bruins.  I like the logo choice, their winter classic logo looks good without the word "Boston" and with the bear recoloured black.  The striping is aesthetically appealing and it matches the logo well, but with such a varied history to draw from I'd prefer something unique to the Bruins, this pattern could be for anyone (it's already used by the Lightning, Kings , and sort of the Red Wings).  But overall I like it better than their current third.
Rating:  8/10

Toronto Maple Leafs, by Bpoe96:
Bpoe96 sent in two Maple Leaf concepts, his first uses a design similar to the 1976 Team Canada jerseys.  It's a cool design, but I think it should stick with Team Canada, and I don't think this leaf shape works as well as the original did.  What I love about this concept is the sleeve numbers in the leaf.  That is a brilliant idea, it's unique, it's original, and it looks classy not tacky.  The execution is good, but it could be improved by adding the manufacturers tag and NHL logo in the collar inset.
Rating:  7/10

Toronto Maple Leafs, by Bpoe96:
For Bpoe96's second attempt at the Leafs he takes inspiration from their own history, combining their 1967-70 set with the Ballard-era 1970-92 jerseys.  The result looks great, the extra detail in the striping compared to the Ballard-era sweaters somehow makes it look more historic, which is great for an old franchise like the Leafs.  The logo looks good too, and kudos for giving proper credit to Brandon.  It too bad the Leafs couldn't have two sets of jerseys, one using their new retro logo, and something new like this.
Rating:  8/10

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That's all folks!

8 comments:

DBro Alexander said...

I disagree with you saying you'll talk about the best mascots in the league and not including Tommy Hawk. ;)

L Pajoslahti said...

I disagree with mascots being a good thing at all. Their cool in College but they should stay there. Just another part of "North American fan culture" that as a whole makes me ill.

jan schreyer said...

How can you create a vintage looking jersey that honours Edmontons history when they use the same jersey like forever. It would look like the current away jersey does and that would be boring imo.

As fir the Wild concept: it's supposed to be an alt jersey. If I used their regular colours there would be no point in having an alt...

Steven Grant said...

@DBro Alexander: Tommy Hawk wouldn't even be in my top 10, he might be in the bottom half of the league.

@L Pajoslahti: I like how you insulted an entire continent with that comment. Kudos.

@Jan Schreyer: I'm a fan of your Oilers concept, my only problem with it was that it matched the Jets jersey. I thought Jets jersey was too modern though, the fonts, use of silver, and logos don't fit with the vintage theme of the Heritage Classic in my opinion.

I don't agree that you can't use the Wild's regular colours when creating an alt for them. There are many different things you could, some with their regular colours and some without. In any case, I'm personally not a fan of the all red look for them, but that's just my opinion. Like I said, maybe other people would enjoy it more, design is subjective and just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's wrong.

DBro Alexander said...

Alright Steven, we're throwin' down!

Phil Beck Designs said...

While not an official mascot, you can't ignore the YeSUV, an advertisement from Honda that has become a cult hero. Not many mascots can say that they make sounds when their team scores, but the car alarm goes off when the Islanders do. Also blue and orange lights flash underneath it as well. It may be sedintary, and it may not recognize your existence, but it's Twitter account (well, parody account) is something else (@IslesWhiteSUV).

Also Sparky is still alive.

L Pajoslahti said...

@Steven Grant, while my comment might seem offensive, it of course wasn't meant as a personal insult towards anyone. Just the fan scene as a whole, or at least the "fan scene at the games". Of course I do recognise that this isn't wholly the fans fault, as it is more the teams' and their riddickulous prices' fault.

Steven Grant said...

@DBro Alexander: Bring it on!

@L Pajoslahti: I was just giving you a hard time.