Nineties Expansion Pt. II: The Megastar

Hockey is a team sport, but everyone loves heroes. Heroes are easy to market, and sports megastars can become the faces of a team, or even an entire sport.

Every sport needs megastars. Basketball had Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. Baseball had Ken Griffey, Jr, Randy Johnson, and eventually Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. NASCAR had Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon. Football had Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, and Reggie White.

Hockey had Mario Lemieux, Teemu Selanne, Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Brett Hull, and Jaromir Jagr (or should I say "has" in his case?). None were quite as big, of course, as Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky was the first hockey player that I specifically remember knowing by name. His accomplishments are well documented and legendary. He has more assists than any other player in NHL has total points. That statistic always blows my mind. He may be the single most dominant athlete of any sport. He was Canada's golden boy. That is, until "The Trade."

When Gretzky was traded to LA, it was a PR man's Christmas. "The Great One" was taken out of Edmonton and thrust into the center of one of most widely publicized sports markets in the world, during a time in which LA seemed to be the epitome of cool in America (anyone else remember LA Lights shoes?). Gretzky was, like Jordan, a money machine. His undeniable skill, and those black and silver jerseys, made hockey cool and edgy.

"The Trade" not only revitalized the LA market, but grabbed the attention of world. Even today, you may meet someone in the far rural areas of America who doesn't know much about hockey, but they do know who Wayne Gretzky is. That kind of exposure had a huge impact on grabbing the attention of the American market, which is known for it's short attention span.

Gretzky gave American kids a hockey superstar they knew and could emulate. Even if they didn't have a team within 200 miles of where they lived, they knew who he was and had seen his highlights.

"The Great One" was a human highlight reel, becoming a spokesperson and ambassador for an entire league, putting on display the dazzling skill one could expect to find at a hockey game if they opened themselves up to it.

"Toronto Towers" NHL Expansion logo concept - Lucas D.

Positives: Designing a logo isn't an easy task. I always respect an artist who makes an attempt. The CN Tower within the 'T' is easy to spot, making it immediately recognizable what team it is representing.

Negatives: The CN Tower almost appears to be balancing a giant trapezoid on its spire, although I know that is intended to be a beveling effect, which in turn creates a T within a T. (incepTion)

It definitely looks better on a red field. Against white, the logo is not as visually pleasing. (see below)

Overall: Not the most dynamic logo, but I respect the ambition. (7/10)

"Toronto Towers" NHL Expansion concept - Lucas D.

Positives: I really like the arm striping curving into the shoulders like this, and especially the inspiration for it (and thank you, Lucas, for including that on your concept). The color scheme chosen would help differentiate the team from Maple Leafs.

Negatives: There are several predominately red teams in the league, so more gray would help distinguish the team. The double-outline isn't increasing the legibility of the numbers or name, just the opposite. Either delete the outline, or make it gray to incorporate more gray in the set. The stated expansion year doesn't match the logo concept above, and if it is 2016/2017, the jersey should feature Adidas branding.

Overall: Creating a new identity isn't easy. I like the inspiration for the arm striping, I just wish the rest of the jersey had more of that modern flair. There are some legibility and continuity issues as well. (7.5/10)

Chicago Blackhawks concept - Lucas D.

Positives: I really like the collar choice here. The old style sweater collar looks great on throwback jerseys, like this year's Winter Classic, and gives us alternative to the near clichè lace-up collar. Execution is solid.

Negatives: The old days of hockey featured a lot of jerseys that had too many stripes. "Barber pole" striping was the style of the day, and like piping in our modern era, it's a trend that shouldn't return. It's nowhere near as bad as Chicago's dark jersey from the late 1930s-1951, but I still feel there are too many. The numbers/name would be more legible at a distance and lighten up the jersey if they were white with a red outline instead. The sleeves need some stitching at the cuffs. (yes I know that is splitting hairs, but that's the kind of person I am)

Overall: Take off the yoke stripes, add shoulder patches, make the name/numbers white with a red outline, and you have a winner. (8/10)

Hershey Bears third jersey concept - John E.

Positives: The Hershey Bears have some great logos, and the two-tone look here works with them perfectly. This is a clear improvement over their current jerseys, which feature both piping and a phantom yoke.The font choice is nice; clean and easily legible. Execution and presentation are professional.

Negatives: Too many stripes on the socks. I'd keep it to two stripes max. There are stripes on the arm, hem, and pants, so the excessive sock stripes go into overkill.

Overall: Classic, clean, and solid. That is, until the socks get a little crazy. (8.5/10)

New York Islanders concept - Jay S.

Positives: I can't say for certain where this logo comes from, as Jay has not credited them. If it's yours, please take credit for them by leaving a note that says something to the effect of "Logos by Jay" so that I know. It helps my critiques to know the full story. If you made them, I respect that. If you didn't, in this case, you have to credit them. Please see the HJC Logo use Policy.

Now that's out of the way, this jersey set has fairly conservative jerseys. The blue and white jerseys feature conservative striping that evokes images of the dynasty years, incorporates the navy used in the 90s, and sets the striping at a new angle. Execution with the jerseys is very good.

Negatives: With rumors swelling that the partnership between the Isles and the Barclay Center could be a very short arrangement, I doubt the Isles will want to further emphasize it with another. Of course, this is just a concept. The jersey itself is just a little too dark, but it is certainly better than what they are using right now for their alternate.

The logos aren't great; more crude than professional. That's ok, though. Logo creation is very hard.The rain in the primary logo is particularly problematic. I would take the chrome effect off the shoulder patch as well. I've seen the logo used with just a normal colored outline (I've even used it).

Positives: If Jay designed these logos, I respect the work involved. The jerseys are clean, but the logos could use more polish. (7/10)

Vancouver Canucks "throwback" concept - Bradley D.

Positives: Green and blue are, for the most part, kept separate. Their proximity on the color wheel makes it important to try to keep them separate as much as possible due to a lack of contrast. Execution is pretty good. Is that the old Canuck Place logo I see on the shoulder?

Negatives: This jersey goes for a classic aesthetic, but then gets off-track with a phantom yoke. That's got no place here. I'm not sure what patch is used on the right shoulder here. The Canuck Place shoulder patch should be recolored. I see some red still in the logo. If you use that, you should also match colors with the scheme you are using.

Does anyone miss triple-stripe collars? I think one would look great here; I'm thinking blue/white/green.

Overall: Merging the skate logo with the green/blue color scheme isn't a bad idea. The phantom yoke needs to go, and the Canucks Place logo needs a makeover, but other than that, it's a solid concept. (8/10)

This week we had some concepts with original logos, a welcome rarity. Be sure to give the artists' feedback on their creations, because when it comes to logo design, it always helps to have another set of eyes.

We also have two votes this week, our usual COTW vote, and a monthly vote for February. Use the handy voting polls!

COTW-February vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
COTW Feb 29 - Mar 5 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Buffalo 3rd Jersey entries (due Friday @ 10:59pm Eastern)

See you all nex...


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The 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys were unveiled this week. You've all likely seen them and have your own opinions on the jerseys. I know you're likely expecting a list, but Jets96 did a good job of compiling a list Thursday that I more or less agree with.

that I more or less agree with

that I more or less agree with


Here lies the problem, readers. I do not feel strongly enough about any of the designs to care to compile a list ranking them. I thought about it. I truly did. In the end, an existential crisis of apathy resulted in an epiphany: I can place any of them in any random order and make an argument for why it should be at that random placement. 

They are interchangeable and unremarkable. 

There is currently a disturbing trend in hockey design. We are seeing detail being phased out. Many of the jerseys that have been introduced for events lately for the Coyotes, Stadium Series, and World Cup overall aesthetic is just big blocks of contrasting color. 

Do you remember Duplo blocks? They were the Lego blocks that you played with when you were a small child because they were too big for you to swallow. People make things with Lego blocks all the time. Legos present an incredibly versatile creative medium of construction, enabling you to create detailed works that, in the right hands, can even be considered art. Not so with Duplo blocks. They are too large and ungainly.

Here's a house made with Duplo blocks:

And let's compare with Lego blocks:

Here's the jersey Russia wore in Sochi:

And here is what they will wear for the 2016 World Cup:

Just try not to choke on them, ok?

Nineties Expansion Pt. II: The Megastar Reviewed by Caz on March 06, 2016 Rating: 5


Unknown said...

That was truly brilliant, Caz. Couldn't have been said any better.

Lucas D's Toronto for COTW

winnipegjets96 said...

John E's Bears concept for COTW, lots of great concepts today though

Not to mention a fantastic preamble/post-amble

Bradley D. said...

It is the old Canucks Place logo on the shoulder. The main logo (which may be hard to see) is actually a silhouette of an orca, to go with their current logo

Unknown said...

All logos are designed by me.

DBro Alexander said...

I think a lot of you are overreacting to the World Cup jerseys. I think they're really good. That being said, I expected them to muck it up with overly dumb gimmicks and bad design but I think they did an overall good job by keeping it basic.

My guess is you all were expecting those gimmicks or something new and flashy, and were let down by the surprisingly good designs, because of the new manufacturer name on the jerseys, when it's really just Reebok's daddy taking over.

Fight me. All of you.

Caz said...

Bradley: Which logo are you referencing as the "main logo?"

Jan: Thanks for that information.

Taylor and Jets96: Thank you. I've been trying to step up my writing this time around.

Dylan: Basic isn't bad. I don't think any of the jerseys are bad. They just don't evoke any strong emotions from me. I don't hate them, but I also don't love any of them. My overall opinion is disappointingly apathetic. I never expected Adidas to change much of what Reebok was doing, knowing they are basically the same overall entity, but I did expect to feel some ambition and passion from the designs.

DBro Alexander said...

@Caz: Even say, the North America jersey? Or the Europe? Those didn't get any sort of reaction out of you? I understand not feeling anything toward the rest since they use basic striping and nothing too crazy, but the NA And Europe jersey I expected everyone would have something to say about those.

Caz said...

I think the logos were so good that the overall design let me down.

I was hoping the NA U23 jerseys would have angular striping and an edgy design. The texture effect in the striping and the font were interesting, that the stripes were just standard horizontal blocks and the font unreadable on the white jersey left me underwhelmed. I like to be full whelmed.

The white Europe jersey is the only one I'd ever consider spending money on. The patchwork nature of it is interesting, but again, I am left wanting something more.

The WCH is a chance for designers to really get creative, and I just don't see the creativity in much the designs. I mean, the Czech jersey looks like the short-sleeve-shirt-over-long-sleeve-shirt combo that a state college ultimate frisbee bro would wear in the quad.

I'm a really detail-oriented person. My favorite things about jerseys are the details, like guitar strings on the numbers, a national anthem in the striping, etc. Only the Europe and Sweden jerseys had that detail that rewards you for taking a closer look.

However, I will say the logos were excellent overall. I have very little to complain about there. Only Canada/USA left me with any reservations at all.

Bradley D. said...

Sorry, the chest patch. I tried to mix the old skate logo with their current "orca" c logo.

Caz said...

That's what I thought, but I just wasn't seeing it. I put it side-by-side with the original this morning, and now I see it. It's very, very subtle, but I see it. That was very creative.

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