July 27, 2014

Sunday: Elaborate on Tuesday

The winner of the COTW vote for July 14-20 was HJC's Monday writer, Phil B.
Full Results
Phil B. - 4
Tristan M. (COL) - 2
Tristan M. (FLA) - 2
S2dio - 1
Christian L. - 0

The new COTW nominees for the July 21-27 vote have been listed on the side of the page. To see the concepts click on that banner or go to the CONCEPT OF THE WEEK tab. Voting ends on Friday, so beat the lines and vote now!

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The HJC Open is rolling right along as we are now into the Semi-Finals. Defending champion, Justin C, will go up against J3. In the other bracket, Matt M. will face Dylan W. These are 4 extremely talented artists going against each other. I expect the voting to be very close from this point on.
Right now it's the entry phase, but on Thursday you'll be able to see those entries and begin leaving your votes. The winners will go on to the Final and battle for the grand prize. A mini 2014 HJC Open championship banner and their name "engraved" on to the Concept Cup!

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On Wednesday's post Alex made a Top 5 list of his most memorable hockey moments. A lot of people left some really cool and unique hockey moments. I wanted to comment, but then I saved them for today's post.

I was very fortunate as my Grandpa had Maple Leafs season tickets and I often went with him. From 1989 to 1999 I estimate that I was able to attend at least 50 games at Maple Leaf Gardens, which is in my Top 3 favourite places in the world! I have so many great memories of that place. I can still remember the seats my Grandpa had.

Section: Grey94 -- Row: E -- Seats: 19 & 20


January 8, 1993 (San Jose @ Toronto)
I was 9 years old and my uncle took me to see the Sharks play the Leafs. This was a bit different for me as usually I would go to Saturday games (because of school). However, this was a rare Friday night home game for the Leafs. My uncle took me down to just outside the Leafs' dressing room where we waited for at least an hour for players to emerge. That night I got Grant Fuhr's, Dave Ellett's, & Wendel Clark's autographs in my program. They even let me go into the bus garage to search for Felix Potvin and ask for an autograph, but I was a shy kid and I didn't take more than 5 steps inside.

January 30, 1999 (Washington @ Toronto)
This was the last game I ever attended at Maple Leaf Gardens and I knew it. I remember the Leafs won and I spent a lot of the game making fun of Curtis Joseph with the guy who was sitting beside me. I was still bitter about Cujo taking Felix Potvin's job. We went down as early as possible and soaked it all in. After the game was over we stayed in our seats for at least 40 minutes until an usher told us we had to leave. I remember being very satisfied with how I took in everything that night.

May 15, 1993 (Game 7 - Round 2 - St. Louis @ Toronto)
My first ever playoff game. I remember actually cheering for the Blues in Game 6 so that I could go to this Game 7. It was the first chance I got to see Felix Potvin live. As you can tell by now he was my favourite player. The Leafs owned the Blues that night and won 6-0! The guy sitting beside me made the trip from St. Louis, overpaid for a ticket on the street, and spent most of the game with his face in his palms. I've yet to hear a crowd as loud as when the final horn sounded and the Leafs won.

December 27, 1989 (Detroit @ Toronto)
This was the first ever game I went to and I was 6 years old at the time. Before doing the research for this post I had always thought that my first game was a pre-season game. Turns out I was wrong. I correctly remembered it was against the Red Wings and I always remembered that the game ended in a 7-7 tie (ah the 80's). I also remember that Leafs' captain, Rob Ramage, got cut and wanted to fight the Red Wings bench. I was absolutely floored when bumbling around YouTube last year I came across a clip of that game! Funny note, I was actually supposed to go to a Leafs-Wings game the season prior as my first ever game, but I got so excited about it that I made myself sick and I threw up. So my first ever game was postponed to the next season.

I have lots of great memories of games at the Air Canada Centre as well, but only one of them comes close to the memories I have of the games at Maple Leaf Gardens (2004, Game 7 vs Ottawa). I went to the Winter Classic this past January in Ann Arbor, which was ridiculously cool. I've taken many road trips to see the Leafs in other buildings (Montreal, Buffalo, Boston, Ottawa). So many great memories! There's still at least one more memory to be had though. That will be the day I take my kids to their first Leafs game.

Continue to share your game memories in the comments!

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If you're a Leafs fan and/or in the Toronto area in September, the Leafs are holding a really cool Fan Fest. This is the first time they are doing it and it's about time! Anyways, I'm not here to promote the event, but I will be attending on the Saturday, September 6. If you're there as well send me an email and perhaps we can arrange a quick meet-up.

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Some of you may be tired of my Leafs talk now. You can cleanse yourself by emailing in your COTW vote. There are no Leafs concepts nominated, which is great for all you Leafs-haters.

COTW July 21-27 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
HJC Open Semi-Finals entries (due Wednesday @ 11:59pm Eastern)

July 26, 2014

Saturday: Capital City

Hello everyone! Today we have some great concepts for all of you, including a few alternates, three concepts featuring the Washington Capitals, a Texas Stars jersey inspired by the Astros, and a goalie template from S2udio!

I don't have a list or anything like that this week, but I do have a few things and various thoughts that I would like to share and discuss with all of you.

First, is it ok to wear the jersey of a play that is younger than you? I'm at the age where this has just started to become a potential problem. I am currently older than 10 players on the Predators roster, and I'm only 25. For example, is it ok for a 40-year-old to buy a Nathan MacKinnon jersey, or should they just stick with their Joe Sakic? To some of our older readers, do you find that awkward?

Also, I went ice skating for the first time this week.Yes, the first time ever. I grew up in a rural area of West Tennessee, so I never had an opportunity as a kid. I was in Springfield, MO at a convention for Missouri teachers, and decided to try ice skating with my wife at Mediacom Ice Park, which was next to the expo center I was at, and where the former Springfield Spirit/future Springfield Express of the WSHL play. It is so much harder than I thought it would be! It really gave me a new-found respect for hockey players. I have no idea how they speed down the ice, carrying the puck, or hitting people and staying on their skates. I couldn't hardly go three strides without having to grab the wall like my life depended on it. My wife, on the other hand, was surprisingly decent. She at least didn't fall. Me on the other hand, my knees have seen better days. Looks like I'll be sticking to hockey video games.

Let's move on to today's artwork!

Nashville Predators Third Jersey Concept - Justin F.


Positives: The Predators' checkerboard third from 2009-2011 was very popular with the fan base in Nashville. In fact, I'm currently wearing one of those jerseys right now (total coincidence - I'm in a "if I wear winter clothes, winter/hockey will be here sooner" mood). Would this be as popular, though? Justin does a pretty good job with the details here. Execution is fine.

Negatives: This reminds me of the Florida Panthers third from a few years ago. It includes a second shade of blue, while throwing out the team's primary color. Also, if the Predators did this, they would risk associating themselves with the train wreck that is the post-Jeff Fisher Tennessee Titans (who have a two-tone blue color scheme). The old Preds number font was something better suited for NASCAR, so I wish it wasn't used here. A block font would complement the striping.

Overall: You can debate if alternates, like a good original movie, should have a sequel, but the color scheme is problematic for me. Execution is good, though. (7/10)


Dallas Stars Concept - Ben A.


Positives: The Dallas Stars' 1999-2006 set was well-liked by fans and jersey enthusiasts. This set differs with the arm striping.

Negatives: The white jersey still has the star effect the old jerseys had, but that's not the case with the dark jersey. The star effect with that jersey is interrupted by the large white arm stripe and white yoke, ruining the aesthetic. The inside of the jersey near the collar should be white on the dark jersey and green on the white jersey. The pants use a different shade of black that what is used on the jerseys and the rest of the equipment. These jerseys use laced collars, but the laces are were colored over when the jersey template was filled in (and in this case, the design more modern than traditional, making laces look out of place).

Overall: I really don't think there is a way to improve upon the old Dallas designs without doing a straight recolor & logo swap. Cleaner execution is needed to pull it off. (6/10)


Washington Capitals Concept - Gerard M.


Positives: The Capitals still wear the Reebok template that gives almost no recognition to their brand history. Gerard offers this up as a good alternative, without coming off as too much of a re-hash. The striping pattern/yoke is far from revolutionary, but looks good. Gerard executes his sleeve numbers and helmet logo/number perfectly. Newer artists should take note of this, because those details make a huge difference.

Negatives: I like the sublimated stars on the pants, but not the arms. The effect makes the arms of the jersey crowded, as it competes for your attention with the striping and sleeve numbers. I think it would be better used on the side panels of the jersey. It wouldn't be as easily seen, and would be an interesting detail, encouraging you to take a closer look at the jersey.

Overall: Gerard's execution is something to emulate. It's not a perfect set, but it would be an improvement for the Capitals in my opinion. (8.3/10)


Washington Capitals Alternate Concept - Gerard M.


Positives: That primary logo looks fantastic in red, white, and blue. It makes me wonder why in the world Washington decided to change their colors in the mid-nineties. (Oh wait, because it was the mid-nineties. That's why.) The piping and color co-dominance is interesting. Logo choice is perfect here. The "Weagle" on the shoulders would have been eagle overkill, so Gerard decided to place it on the helmet, and thus no logo is used more than once. Again, newer artists need to take note of Gerard's execution. I like that Gerard includes where his inspiration came from on his concept. 

Negatives: I'd like to see something a little more unconventional with the arm and hem striping. I assume it would go with the set above. The striping just isn't different enough from the (assumed) home/away.

Overall: There are some great elements here (that logo!) but I'm left wanting something more wild. (8/10)


2015 Winter Classic Concept - Jamie R.


Positives: Jamie executes his sleeve numbers well here, especially on the Chicago jersey. Care has been taken to try to duplicate both Chicago and Washington's debut jerseys with a Reebok template.

Negatives: (*Opinion-based rant ahead*) I have an issue with throwback concepts for the 2015 Winter Classic. The main issue is this: with this concept for example, you have the 1920s playing the 1970s. There are 50 years between these two jerseys. It's just hard to suspend that knowledge in my mind, which is why I believe that the 2015 Winter Classic needs to get off the throwback train and give us all something more interesting and fresh. (*end rant*) With the Chicago jersey, the yoke striping isn't uniform. Some stripes are longer than others. There is a lot of pixelation on the Washington jersey. Saving your concepts as png files instead of jpeg files could help keep your concepts sharper.

Overall: It's hard for me to reconcile 1920s vs. 1970s in my mind. Let's see something new. (6.5/10)


Texas Stars "Baseball Night" Concept - Kevin D.


Positives: Inspired by the Houston Astros' "Rainbow Jersey," this could be a huge hit with fans of the Texas Stars. That jersey has a cult following and hits that "so terrible it's awesome" sweet spot (think LA's "Burger King" jersey, or the "Wild Wing"). Kevin has done a good job translating the look to a hockey jersey.

Negatives: Is it ugly? Yes, but it's supposed to be. That's the point. 

Overall: This is a perfect minor league event jersey. (8/10)


Team Quebec 2018 PyeongChang Olympics Concept - S2udio


Positives: I think I can speak for everyone on the site when I say that I have thoroughly enjoyed S2dio's concepts as of late. These new templates he has been designing for these concepts are phenomenal. S2udio is on the cutting edge of concept presentation right now. It's been fun to witness. With this concept, the long-debated topic of the Quebecois Separatist Movement is brought to a conclusion in time for Quebec to have it's own hockey team in 2018. That alone makes this concept very intriguing. It would have a huge impact in the hockey tournament. The jersey here looks great. S2udio does a great job translating the flag of Quebec to a hockey jersey. I even like the goalie equipment, especially that helmet.

Negatives: As has been said with some of S2udio's other concepts, it's hard to to discern some of the details of the set with a game-action template. In this case, it's unclear what the socks would look like, and if they would have a stripe on them like the arms do, or if they would be plain due to the pants having a similar stripe on them.

Overall: I love this concept and S2udio's technical expertise is on full display here. With presentation, he really is the man to top right now. (9.5/10) COTW nomination from me! (highest rating I've ever given)


So, did you like some of today's designs? Let us know your thoughts on their work! There's still time to vote for concepts in the second round of the HJC Open! Votes are due today at 11:59 pm. You can go to the voting page by clicking the banner at the top of the page, or this convenient link. If you sent in your votes for Concept of the Week, here's your reward gif. For you losers who didn't...just take this. Hope you all enjoyed today's post! Be sure to catch Ryan's Sunday post tomorrow, and I'll see you all back here next week!

July 25, 2014

Friday: Twenty 25th Day of July

TGIF!

Last week I counted down negative trends in jersey design. Aside from laces, most people agreed with them. I felt I should have made vintage for vintage sake more clear. I'm not saying I don't like the Islanders current set or Buffalo's I just preferred their old sets. The vintage white use by Pittsburgh in their 2010 Winter Classic jerseys was the WORST use ever.

Also, when I said that Carolina and Phoenix were the only teams in the NHL with black jerseys, I meant teams that don't wear black in their current sets (aside from the logoish).

This week marks the quarterfinal voting in the HJC Open. Seriously! Go vote NOW! All it takes is a comment. I can tell already these concepts are going to be neck and neck right up until tomorrow.

Also, COTW voting ends tonight. You know what to do!


COTW July 14-20 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
HJC Open Rd 2 Votes (ends Saturday @ 11:59pm Eastern)


No idea for a top 5 this week, so I just thought, hey, why not talk hockey cards.

There are plenty of blogs and forums and sites and stores dedicated to hockey cards, those little pieces of cardboard everyone collects as a kid (at least here in Canada). My collection actually started  3 years ago, when I opened an old box from 2006 I'd saved as part of a grade 4 project. In it were a tin of hockey cards, mostly Upper Deck, MVP and McDonald's hockey cards, but I began collecting again. I mostly collect O-Pee-Chee and Upper Deck, my favourite sets being OPC 2008/09 and Upper Deck 2012/13.

If you want to get started in collecting, here are some tips to help your collection take off.

I) Big Box Stores Are Your Friend

Target, Wal-Mart and Toy R Us all have hockey cards, but they don't sell too well. Old stock from a few seasons ago is marked down, sometimes to $1 a pack or less! This is a great way to stock up on cards, especially to find rookie cards for Kane, Toews, Price, Tavares, Niemi, Halak, Little, Ryan ETC.

II) Find a Local Card Shop/Show

Whether it's an actual card/sports memorabilia store, a comic book store or a convention, you'll be able to find deals from all over. I found one in Bedford NS, with plenty of deals, about a 15 minute drive from Dalhousie. Just search online in your town to find somewhere that sells cards, and these places usually sell jerseys, even pre-edge jerseys

III) Don't Buy From Re-Sellers at Shows

If you do go to shows, expect deals! Most tables/ booths will be willing to haggle and you can make a deal, even if it's just a couple of bucks off. However, if the cards are all pre-packaged in those plastic sleeves with odd numbered prices (like $37 or $21), the person is usually looking at the Beckett guide  and wants to get the full price. You can try to haggle but they usually won't budge.

IV) If they won't let you hold the card (without being 70 yrs old) DON'T BUY!

You need to be able to see the card in full light right in front of your face to see if the card as any imperfections, even if they are minor. If someone leaves the card either underneath a plastic sheet or in a wooden case, ask them if you can see it first. If the card is really valuable or rare (Gretzky/Dryden/Howe/Plante Rookie), ask them to touch it for you, but make sure you see both side of the card! If they won't let you hold until after you bought it, just avoid them

V) Play the Odds

The odds of getting a jersey card or autograph or numbered series )(/50 etc.) are quite low, but when you're starting out, you never know. I bought a pack of 08/09 OPC from Toys R Us for $.60 and got a Jonathan Bernier Autograph card worth $25. The odds were 1/1100. IT DOES HAPPEN. Don't just buy the thick packs, but just like a scratch and win or roll up the rim to win, people do win (my mom won a $100 tim card on a completely unrelated note, just something worth bragging about)

Okay so may it was a top 5 but who collects cards who reads HJC? Talk about your stories with cards whether good or not. What's your favourite series to collect? Favourite/Best Card?

On to the Concepts

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St. Louis Blues Concept (By: TG)


Getting rid of the yellow...maybe not full time but having the Blues just be.......blue, is a cool idea. The bass string (there are 4 of them) striping is a good call back to the song the team is named after, but I wish the it continued on the chest stripe and sock striping. I get why it's not on the chest striping (it would obstruct the logo) but everywhere else. The jersey is nice and modern, but using the trumpet shoulder patch in double blue would put this jersey to the next letter. I'm glad to see someone using S2dio's template. I wish S2dio would make a paint friendly one, but his current templates are even more complex. (8.25/10)

St. Louis Blues Concepts (By: Gerard M.)


I think Gerard is doing an NHL re-design, with a home/road set and a separate alternate. This set is based on the 68-73 set the Blues wore, but I'm not sure (please clarify). The double remains though the lighter blue is now a baby blue and the darker blue is used only as an outline to the numbers, logo and striping. The away jersey is the show stealer, I found this the same when I made a similar set but it looks beautiful. The blue jersey is also very well done, I like that yellow is used more so than white but there is a healthy amount of white across the jersey. As other writers have said the detail with the helmet numbers adds a lot to this concept and shows how much effort Gerard puts into every concept. My only complaint: No outline on the yoke. (9.25/10) COTW Nom. from me!

St. Louis Blues Alternate Concept (By: Gerard M.)


With an alternate as good as this once Gerard has only made minor changes to the Blues current jersey, some good, some lateral, and some not so good. The Good: The pants now have a more tolerable pant striping, the bass string music lines from the music note are sublimated on the striping, that's a nice level of detail. The Lateral: The new striping pattern, while staying true to the pants, looks a little too 90's for this jersey, the original had a solid striping pattern, there wasn't really a need to change it. The only bad part about this jersey is the yellow. It's too light for the navy and because it blends into the white, it has an unappealing neon look to it. I'd either separate the yellow and white or darken the yellow to be like gold. It's still a solid concept, but not an improvement on the origin. (7.5/10)

Tampa Bay Lightning Concept (By: Christian L.)


Christian takes a relatively common idea, putting the lighting back in black and adding a more modern turn to it, and adds his spin. The logo is really cool, I wish the Lightning wore something like that. The blue outline around the script looks like a neon sign. The yoke is also really cool, the lightning could pull something like this off, creative but not silly. The arms are the only problem with the jersey. The hem striping, I get, nice a simple, but the arms look like there was a striping pattern and the jersey was dipped in blue paint to cover it up. Maybe something like the Lightning's previous alternate or something simple. (8/10)

Tampa Bay Rays Concept (By: Ben A.)


At first, I thought the jersey was a rip off of the Jets striping, not that there's anything wrong with it, a little unoriginal but still looks good.  However, Ben is very original, taking inspiration from the Rays actual striping pattern for this crossover, very good! The jersey looks like the Rays navy jersey, which do look solid, and it does crossover quite well from baseball to hockey However, execution errors bring this concept down. The striping is thin, maybe too thin for the hem, and isn't centred on the arms. It's a solid design, but the thickening it will make the design more visible and make the jersey look less empty. Also  TV numbers are a MUST if you aren't going to show the back. (5.5/10)

Toronto Maple Leafs Concept (By: Hunter V.)


I've never seen a concept from Hunter V., so welcome to the HJC community. Since Hunter is new to concept design, I won't be as harsh on the concept, since almost everyone's first few concepts look like paint bucket fills, however, he had NOB (name on the back) and numbers down, as well as the captain's C. Just a couple of execution notes, the inside of the collar should be blue to match the rest, the stitching (grey lines on the hem) stoop at the hem stripe (bottom stripe around the waist). The logo is also too large. Take a look at the Tutorial's page and keep practicing and you'll be good in a few weeks! Lookin' forward to more, Hunter! (4/10)

Team Catalonia Concept (By: S2dio)


We finish off with Catalonia, a state in Spain who is looking to  holding a referendum to become independent from Spain this year, and with independence comes the possibility of a IIHF team (though Spain's team is ranked 30th in the world so can't imagine Catalonia playing in the Olympics anytime soon, though stranger things have happened). This concept looks solid as wee would expect from S2dio, and this template does give a full view of the jersey. The striping is based on the Catalonian flag, and looks like the Pen's 2nd Winter Classic jersey, but much better. I actually like how the striping stops half way on the arms, and on the pants, it's almost like the Islanders 4 cups stripe logo. The flower logo I'm sure has significance and looks cool, but some sort of script indicating this is the Catalonian Nation Ice Hockey Team would be nice, some sort of id. (9/10)

That's today's post, Remember to vote, comment, discuss, rage politely etc.  Have a great weekend. 

July 24, 2014

Thursday: Quarter Finals

Hey gang, welcome to another Thursday post from yours truly, William!

As you may have noticed, today is Thursday, so voting for the HJC Open Quarter Finals begins today.  Voting turnout was pretty decent for the first round, and hopefully it will continue for the rest of the competition.

Sadly my concept didn't make it, it bombed actually.  Spent too much time on the 3D model, and rushed the actual design and presentation (including clipping off the head of my models, oops).  But the scores were really close for the top 8 spots, with 12 artists that were half a point or less away from qualifying.  With that kind of fierce competition, it gets me excited to see the next rounds' concepts.

Now for something completely different.

Everyone has been doings some of their "my # favourite hockey-related thing" lists lately, and I've been missing out, mostly because everyone else beats me to the punch on what list to do.  Well I'm not as much of a jersey collector as some of the writers on here, and I haven't been to as many NHL games as others have. But I do have a big hockey card collection, and I think it would be cool to share my 5 favourite cards from my collection.

5. Wade Redden - 1996-97 SP Premier Rookie
 Nothing too special about the card itself, but it was one of the first cards I ever received, and it was shortly after I got to meet Wade Redden at a hockey camp.  He's always been one of my favourite defencemen in the league, and was the reason I was a Senators fan in the early 2000's.

4.  Sean Monahan - 2013-14 Black Diamond Rookie Gems
I took a bit of a hiatus collecting cards until earlier this year I decided to try my luck again. This was the first card I pulled.  I'm a big fan of Sean Monahan, and anything Flames-related is collectable for me, so this was a nice find.


3. David Leneveu - 2005-06 Hot Prospects Hot Materials
David Leneveu is from my hometown of Fernie, BC, and also helped my hometown Fernie Ghostriders dominate the league in the early 2000's. At one point, the team from this small Canadian town of 5000 people had the 3rd best "Jr A" team in the USA, and Lenevue was part of their backbone.  He also played backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury at the World Jrs for Team Canada.  Finding this card was particularly difficult, but I was happy to add one of my hometown heroes to my collection.


2. Jonathan Toews - 2012-13 SP Authentic Team Canada Moments Auto
Most of these cards have a sentimental value attached to them.  This isn't one of those, but it is likely my highest valued card in my collection.  It's a Jonathan Toews autograph with an awesome Team Canada moment attached to it. I could watch this shootout performance on repeat for days, it was that great.


1. Jason Krog - 2000-01 Pacific Autograph
This one is entirely sentimental.  Jason Krog was pretty much the guy who taught me the basics of hockey, how to skate, and have confidence in my game.  He's been my hockey idol since I first hit the ice at the age of 4.  He gave out these cards after one of his hockey camps, and it's been my most prized hockey possession to date.

Now it's your turn.  Anyone have any cool cards or collectables they'd like to show off?

Anyways, it's concept time!

COTW July 14-20 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
HJC Open Rd 2 Votes (ends Saturday @ 11:59pm Eastern)

Washington Capitals Concept - Justin F.


Yay: Let's start today with some Winter Classic artwork from Justin.  Justin makes this concept with stripes aplenty, but otherwise sticks to a pretty traditional look.  The theme for the stripes is interesting and very suitable for a team like Washington.

Nay:  I like the idea of the stripes, but 13 stripes just doesn't work that well on a jersey, plus the design is so busy that it makes the plain yoke look really out of place. Maybe if there were some white stripes in the stripe pattern, and maybe some blue outlines on the yoke or collar, it could look a bit more balanced. The red outline on the name is way too much; I can barely see the blue text.

Overall: Like the idea, but it's not that visually pleasing. 6.5/10



Carolina Hurricanes Concept - Christian L.

 
Yay: Next we go down the coastline to Carolina, where Christian has this very interesting 3rd jersey design.  Considering how boring the Hurricanes look now, this would be a great way to stand out on the ice and on the jersey rack.  I like the (very subtle) inclusion of the warning flags, and like the execution of the collar and the equipment.

Nay: The problem is that the flags are way too subtle, especially in between two bright red stripes. I think the top stripe could be taken out, and the gradient be reversed so it gets more in view closer to the bottom stripe.  Everything else looks good, but I'm just not liking the look of the two red stripe pattern.

Overall: Close to a great design, but I'm not quite sold on the stripe pattern. 7.8/10



Boston Bruins Concept - Gerard M.

 
Yay: Next is a pair of Bruins concepts from Gerard. This one is inspired by jerseys from the 1920's and 1940's. I'd love to see Boston make this work as a 3rd jersey or future Winter Classic jersey, as it is looks perfect for old-time hockey.  This logo looks great on these uniforms, and would perfectly combine the new and the old Bruins identities.

Nay:  It's perfect as is if it wan't to replicate the old jerseys mentioned, which is the goal here. You could argue that the logo is too cartoony and modern, but I don't think it's a huge problem. I'd like to see the collar as the vintage-white, and move the arm stripes down the arm a bit, but that's really all I'd want to change.

Overall: I'd buy this. Twice.  8.4/10


Boston Bruins Concept - Gerard M.

 
Yay: Gerard's other Bruins concept is more modern, being a "fix up" of their current set.  This set doesn't have a lot of giant changes, but a few key subtle ones. The most noticeable is the away yoke being changed to yellow, and I really like how that looks. The font is changed, and the shoulder patch is edited on the away jersey to say "Boston" instead of "Bruins". These subtle changes are great, even to such an untouchable jersey as this one.

Nay: I think the black cuffs currently go right to the arm striping, and I think that looks better than the shortened cuffs on here.

Overall: It's hard to grade this too high, because most of the jersey is what is being used today. But the changes that are on here are well done. 8/10



NHL vs KHL - Team NHL Concept - s2dio
 
Yay: NHL vs KHL.  I think this idea is a matter of when, not if. This would be a huge hockey event if it ever did happen, so naturally the jerseys have to be perfect for such an occasion. Even though orange isn't really the NHL's colour anymore, everyone would love to see them use orange as a fauxback to the days where the NHL dominated hockey globally. The classy stripes and yoke perfectly complement this uniform.

Nay: Again, hard to see the fine details with a template like this.  The uniform isn't as flashy as most All-Star game ones, but if they are going for a pre-1990's look, then it would work alright. Unless the NHL logo is all black and white, I'd like to see some silver in the jersey somewhere as well, or else the logo will look out of place.

Overall:  Not flashy, but classy. A perfect way to represent the NHL. 8.3/10



NHL vs KHL - Team KHL Concept - s2dio

 
Yay: Next is the Team KHL uniform, which is donning a sleek dark grey uniform. The colour is kind of odd, considering the bright logo colours, but I think it contrasts well with the NHL uniforms, and it looks great as a backdrop to the red, white and blue stripes. The striping pattern, although I don't agree with it's use, looks just as classy and solid as the NHL's.

Nay: If the NHL's uniforms are meant to be a fauxback, then the KHL's uniform should be more modern, signifying the new era of professional hockey. Old vs New, North America vs Europe, Rocky vs Drago, etc. The jerseys should contrast not only in colour, but in style.

Overall: I wouldn't be as positive about the concept, but the double-grey colour scheme with the bright-colour highlights looks insanely cool. Execution brilliant as always. 8.7/10



Chicago Blackhawks vs Washington Capitals WC Concept - Thomas H.

Yay: We'll end the post the same way as we started, with a Winter Classic concept. Thomas shows us his idea of introducing "new" colours into these teams' jersey collection. I can't believe how sharp the Blackhawks logo looks black and white, and that uniform is probably the best fauxback to their original jersey that I've seen.  I wouldn't go that far with the Capitals jersey, but it still looks pretty solid.

Nay: The only thing I'd change for the Blackhawks is the pants, where I think going all-black with corner numbers would be the best way to go.  For the Capitals, putting the stars closer to the collar and the logo being higher like the original would be better, and for readability I'd make "Washington" white instead of red.

Overall: Not perfect, but a leap of faith in creativity for both jerseys, and it worked fantastically. 9/10

While s2dio and Gerard had some fine looking concepts today, Thomas's concept is well executed, and used ideas that are unique yet look so natural and believable for both teams. That's why Thomas' Winter Classic concept gets my COTW nomination today.

The last few weeks have had some great concepts, and I'm sure we'll see more as the HJC Open continues. Make sure you vote for your favourite HJC Open and COTW concepts!

That wraps up another post for me. Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!

July 23, 2014

Wednesday: Clear As Ice

Seeing a Top 5 on HJC is nothing new, but I wanted to change it up from jerseys and logos. So here is a list of my Top 5 most memorable hockey games and events that I have gone to. It's long, but I hope you enjoy it.
   
1) 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field
2009 was the second year of the Winter Classic, and I don't think anyone knew how much the demand for outdoor games would grow. The Blackhawks had just signed a TV deal for the first time in years, and new Blackhawks fans poured into Wrigley Field to watch the game. The atmosphere of Wrigleyville neighborhood was unforgettable! The feeling of watching a hockey game where I had grown up watching my favorite team in all of sports, the Chicago Cubs, play is something that I will never forget.

2) 2014 NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field
Anyone who has read my Wednesday posts before knows that I love outdoor hockey, and that's why the Stadium Series comes in number 2. Outdoor NHL games had grown beyond anyone's imagination, and the league's solution was to play 6 outdoor games in 2014. There was so much snow falling, that I can't really remember much of the game itself. However, the view of the snow falling in the stadium lights is permanently enshrined in my head.
 
3) The Chicago Wolves Skates' Mates Festival
As a young kid living in the Blackhawks 'TV Blackout' Era, I would cheer on the local AHL franchise. I was such a big Wolves fan that I was part of their kids club. Each year, they had a festival for all of the members where kids could meet and get autographs from all of the players. During the 2004-05 NHL Lockout, I had my Wolves jersey signed by the entire team. Looking back at the names on that jersey, it has many names of players that would go on to play in the NHL.
 
4) Chicago Wolves vs. Michigan K-Wings at my local rink
Back in the IHL days, a hockey rink had just opened up right down the street from my house. To help the new ice rink, the Chicago Wolves played an exhibition game on the same ice that I was learning to skate on. I remember my mom taking me to that game, and I loved watching every second of that game!
 
5) Chicago Hounds Opening Night
This wasn't a good experience, but it sure was memorable. A new UHL team was set to play its first game in the brand new Sears Center, and the Hounds were looking to capture some of the long-time Wolves fans by making games an unforgettable experience. Well, that's exactly what they gave me. When I got to the arena, there wasn't any glass around the rink, and the center of the ice was visibly wet. The ice crew couldn't get the area over the team's center ice logo to freeze, and I remember them using fire extinguishers to try to help. When the fire marshal learned that they had used all of the extinguishers in the building, the effort was delayed until they could truck more into the stadium. An hour after the scheduled face off, the players came onto the ice for warmups. I've never seen fans so happy to watch a pre-game warmup. Almost two hours after the game was supposed to start, the UHL commissioner announced that the game was cancelled. I can tell you that I'll never forget all of the fans in attendance throwing their chuck-a-pucks at the poor guy.
  
COTW July 14-20 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
HJC Open Rd 2 entries (due Wednesday @ 11:59pm Eastern)

If you advanced into the second round of the HJC Open, make sure you get your concepts in BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! You wouldn't want to hand the win to another artist without putting up a fight.
As always, don't forget to vote for the COTW. There are some really good concepts this week. It was a really tough choice when I cast my vote.
  
Mario A. - Dallas Stars Concept
Design: When the Stars unveiled their uniforms, I was pretty disappointed that they ripped off the Blackhawks St. Patrick's Day jersey. Mario Seems to have fixed that problem, and he even reintroduces excessive black into the color scheme. The black reminds me a lot of the Stars last days in Minnesota. The arm stripes are good in that they are pretty unique to the Stars. I can't believe that they got away with using the distinguishable Chicago striping. I do really like that Mario kept the hem striping very similar to their current uniforms.
    
Score: 7/10 - Mario has showed some great improvement over the last few weeks. I think that this is one of his best concepts yet. There is one critical error though. The logo on the white concept still has a white background. It's subtle, but should still be removed for a cleaner concept.
 
    
Jamie R. - Winnipeg Jets Alternate Concept
Design: Jamie adds quite a bit of red to the Jets new color scheme, which makes sense considering it is the color of the nation's flag. The Jets new logo is already a tribute to the Canadian Air Force, and Jamie takes it one step further by using the Air Force Coat of Arms as the concept's shoulder patches. This jersey would look really good for the 2016 Heritage Classic that Winnipeg is set to host. I really like that the crest is outlined in gold, but I would add the same trim to the number to tie the front and back of the concept together.
    
Score: 6/10 - There is a lot of inconsistency on this concept. I am not a fan of how the stripes on the arms, chest, hem, and socks all have different spacing. I think this concept would look better with more uniform striping.
 
 
Garrett F. - Madison Capitols Alternate Concept
Design: The Madison Capitols will play their inaugural season next year in the USHL. Garrett has designed an alternate for the team, and it is a very good looking jersey. The light blue trim looks awesome, and really adds a lot to the jersey. I'd recommend showing the shoulder patch in the background, as it is difficult to see on this template.
    
Score: 7.5/10 - Aside from the shoulder patch, I think that the number and name on the back of the jersey is way too big.
 
 
S2dio - AIK - Djugarden "What If" Concept
Design: S2dio hits us with another concept, and another template. I don't know how he does it, but this template is one of my favorites as of late. It really allows the viewer to see all design aspects of the concept. Anyway, S2dio has created a solution just in case there is ever a shortage of hockey interest in Sweden. My brother actually owns an AIK jersey, and I wouldn't change a thing. But given the unfortunate circumstance that the team had to merge, this would make a good compromise. I am a bit surprised that S2dio elected to go with a yellow base, as both teams share blue as a base color.
    
Score: 8.5/10 - This concept is awesome, but I hope this template returns. But who knows? We may never see the same template twice!
 
 
Justin F. - Columbus Blue Jackets Concept
Design: It seems like everyone is creating Blue Jackets concepts as of late. I think that Justin's design is especially cool because it still uses the yoke that runs all the way down the arms, while still incorporating new striping. When you put the front and back halves of the concept together, the small stripes at the wrists would appear to create chevrons. This is really cool given the team's identity.
    
Score: 8/10 - The execution is really good on this concept. It follow all of the rules on hem stripes and arm stripes being sewn over the base jersey.
 
 
Gerard M. - Atlanta Thrashers AHL Concept
Design: Long before the Hurricanes added their nameplate to the yoke, the Thrashers did the same. But here, we're not talking about the same Thrashers. The concept that Gerard created is for the resurrection of the Atlanta Franchise as an AHL affiliate to the Nashville Predators. On top of being an unlikely event to occur, I think it would just be embarrassing to the city of Atlanta. Feel free to correct me, but I don't think a city has ever lost a pro team and had it resurrected as a minor league team of the same name. That is almost a more awkward situation than the whole Charlotte Hornets disaster. The home and away jerseys were some of my favorite jerseys when they were used, and Gerard has fixed the football style alternate back into a hockey jersey.
    
Home & Away Score: 6/10, Alternate Score: 6.5/10 - The home & away concept is very stylish, but there are a few errors that hurt it. First, the white socks and jersey are different shades of white. Also, the crest on the white jersey was never removed from its white background. Unfortunately, that background is also a different shade of white. The alternate has the same issue of using a different shade of white on the jersey and socks.
 
 
Well there it is! I'd like you hear some of your memorable hockey experiences. Feel free to comment, as I'm curious if anyone can top my Chicago Hounds story.