April 24, 2017

Monday: Double College Concepts

Welcome to another Monday post!

Photo from enysports.com
Every year in the minor leagues, we say goodbye to several teams. Whether they are going to a different league or moving cross country to meet the needs of their pro-teams (unless it's the CHL then that has only happened twice in the past few years, both times in the OHL; Hamilton and North Bay/Brampton). I've already been over the Elmira Jackals and Alaska Aces, but who knows which other teams are gone. The AHL loses my personal favourite franchises, the St. John's Ice Caps. I love their logo in both forms and would have loved to have gone to Newfoundland to see the game (I was in Newfoundland the summer of 2012 but no games to be seen). Whether the team takes a hiatus until Québec City possibly wants an AHL team there, or the QMJHL comes in to buy the rights to the name and gives them an original colour scheme or jersey. The Binghamton Senators are going to move to Belleville, Ontario, but the Albany Devils will be moving to Binghamton to replace them so I mean, it's gonna be a change but Albany is the only city to lose a team and they will likely get an ECHL team.

Photo from Jacksonville.com
However, this upcoming hockey season, including the NHL, we're welcoming back some cities and new cities at different levels. The Laval Rockets give semi-pro hockey to a city that has not had a franchise at a notable level since the Laval Titan College-Français moved to Bathurst, NB in 1998. Prior to that the Québec city was famous for the Voisins/National/Saints in the QMJHL between 1969 and 1985, where Mario Lemieux played his junior years.  Vegas has been talked to death, but remember that prior to the Golden Knights, the Wranglers were there from 2000 to 2014, and prior to that the Thunder in the IHL from 1993-1999. Worcester returns to minor-pro hockey since the Sharks moved to San Jose with the rest of the Pacific teams, where they had played as Sharks/IceCats since 1994. Jacksonville is getting their third semi-pro hockey team of any kind, the others being the Barracudas, who played from 2004-08 in the SPHL and the Lizard Kings in the ECHL that played from 1996-2000. Belleville lost the Bulls to Hamilton in 2015, and prior to that not much pro/major junior hockey history prior to 1981 when the Bulls were established.

This got me thinking: What will be the next cities to get semi-pro hockey back? I'll stay out of the NHL because the whole __________ number of cities that totally deserve an NHL Franchise thing has been done to death, and frankly most lists either revolve around former NHL cities that failed or just plain absurd and seemed cool in NHL 10 so why not?!

Photo from toledoblade.com
I'm quite sure that the Portland Pirates will return in the ECHL with a more refined version of their original logo. The New Haven Nighthawks are now part of a beer brand, though their return would be welcomed to any minor league. The Houston Aeros are a tricky one as I wasn't a fan of any of their logos other than their WWII bomber logo WITH the blue. The Granby Bison are an unlikely team to return, and the town hasn't existed on the LMJHQ map since 1997. Ditto for those good ol' Lewiston MANIEacs. What about the Toledo Storm, a team that had 15 strong years in ECHL and when the great purge the league had in the mid 2000s came, they were one of the later victims. Frankly, the loss of Alaska and 2015 move of the west coast teams to the AHL means the EC in ECHL can finally mean majority East Coast...or at least not Pacific (Allen, Utah, Idaho and the CeHL teams being the exceptions). Speaking of the CeHL, how about the Dayton Gems? or Denver Cutthroats?

Which minor league identities, particularly those in cities without teams there now, would you like to see come back? What league would you put them in and why?

As you may have noticed there is a position opening up on the blog for a writer. Thank you to all those who entered. One thing I will say is don't be discouraged if you don't get chosen this time. Take the criticism constructively, improve your skills, even try starting you own personal blog for a while to hone in your writing style. Ryan will be announcing the new writer soon. I've been here the longest of any writer not named Ryan, and it always sucks to see another writer leave (though some do come back on occasion), so thanks Steven G. for all your time with the blog in your second tenure with the blog. Steven joined the writing team the same time I did in August of 2012.

Here's his first post from back then. I always find it interesting seeing design trends and old teams we haven't seen concepts from in literally years (Peoria when they were the Blues' AHL affiliate comes to mind). Check those out if you ever need inspiration for concepts!

Voting for this week is really simple. We have 4 concepts up for COTW, Two from the ECHL and two from the NHL. Take a look on either the side of the blog or clicking the COTW tab

COTW April 14-20 vote (ends Friday @ noon ET)

On with today's concepts!

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Minnesota Wild Concepts (By: Ryan C.)


+ I reviewed a Wild concept last week from Ryan, but this week he's chosen to focus more on the pre-edge Wild jersey and/or the North Stars' final jerseys, with a lot of improvements
+ The white arm stripe on the green jersey really works here, something the originals lacked
+ Dito for the large colourful hem striping to match it 
+ Just like last week, I like the choice of the State of Hockey patch on the shoulders 
+ Good execution 

- Same problem as last week with regards to the removal of the wheat in the shoulder patch 
- NOB is lightly too large 
- Helmet numbers need an outline 

Rating: 8.5/10 

Bemidji State Beavers NCAA Concepts (By: TC Moore) 


+ Beautiful colour scheme and layout here
+ The Beavers script wouldn't have been my first choice for the primary logo in any other level of play other than the NCAA, but in the college level it works
+ Good logo choice for the shoulder patches
+ Good execution, proper NCAA markings on the front

- Striping looks good, but it's way too similar to the Blackahws
- One issue I have with the script and NOB is the lack of colours
- To help it match the green jersey, I'd add a yoke to the green jersey

Rating: 7.25/10 


Buffalo Sabres 2018 Winter Classic Concept (By: Anthony C.)


+ Would love to see the 2010 alternate script return (PS, did anyone buy that jersey? I remember people liking it but never see it)
+ It might be that the 81 on the back is meant to reference 1981, and looking at what the Sabres worse then, its got a similar colour lay out, but not a direct rip off
+ Some may prefer white instead of creme, but I like the look of it
+ Good execution, minimal errors here

- The one noticeable error is the hem stitching going through the hem instead of stopping at it 
- Sabres is spelt with an RE, not an ER, but it's not a huge deal as lightsaber is spelt like that so I get the confusion
- I like the look of the yellow numbers on the back, but for them to work on the arms I'd put them in the yoke 
- The one thing I would have kept from the 2010 alternate would be the stitching in the numbers
- Loose pixels above the right side of the yoke near the collar

Rating: 7.5/10 


New York Rangers 2018 Winter Classic Concept (By: Anthony C.) 


+ Big fan of the New York script being used, again like it was in 1981
+ With the Rangers having a deeper jersey history, I like the 2013 Winter Classic yoke being used, but also like the current away's yoke
+ I actually prefer the use of creme here as the current and well loved alternate uses it 
+ Good execution again

- Same execution error on the hem stitching and the loose pixels
- Numbers are too close to the namebar on the back 
- The striping doesn't look bad, but it's way too similar to the Oshawa Generals rather than the Rangers, it doesn't look bad but there is a level of disconnect

Rating: 7/10 

Fort Wayne Komets ECHL Concepts (By: Ryan C.)


+ The Komets currently have really solid jerseys, but are perhaps a little too simple and use black over orange as the dark jersey's primary colour 
+ Striping adds a little more character to the jerseys, but still plays into the classic appeal of the logos 
+ Rounded numbers really work here
+ One thing that really adds character to these jerseys is the oversized yokes. 
+ Great execution 

- Call me crazy, but I'd like to see inverted collar laces on these
- Helmet numbers need an outline

Rating 9.25/10 COTW Nom from me! 

Quinnipiac Bobcats NCAA Concepts (By: TC Moore)


+ Great logo choices across the concept, it's nice to see the big bobcat head without it leaping
+ The numbers and the QU logo go well together
+ Same execution as the previous concept

- One thing that throws the colour balancing off is the mustard cuffs, make them blue and make them white on the blue jersey
- The mustard jersey has way much too mustard in the gear. If you really want it to work, the helmet needs to be blue and some white in the striping and pants would go a long way
- Same issue with the Blackhawks striping, the striping on the mustard jersey would work just fine on the other two

Rating 6.75/10 
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