Hockey Night In Las Vegas, anyone?
I'm sure you've heard the numerous rumours and reports surrounding NHL expansion over the last few days, first with expansion to Las Vegas being a "done deal", then with the notion that the NHL would also expand to Quebec City, Seattle, and Toronto. None of these reports surprised me whatsoever, including the NHL's subsequent denial.
As I mentioned on my personal blog a while back (which should be revived from it's long hibernation soon), I wouldn't be surprised if Las Vegas is the next expansion destination. Most don't consider it a hockey market, which is fair, but it is still a large market that is totally deprived of top-level professional sports. It would be a gamble (pun intended) to put a team there, but I think it would be worth the risk, and would be surprisingly successful.
The other expansion candidates aren't surprising either. Seattle is an obvious choice, same with Quebec City. A second Toronto team is a bit of a stretch, but there has been efforts to bring another NHL team there in the past, so it's not a new idea. As bad as it would be to oversaturate the hockey market in Ontario, all 3 teams (Ottawa included) would still do better than most other teams in the league in terms of revenue and attendance.
And as I expected, the NHL denied these reports today. I'm not surprised by this because most of those reports had no evidence or details to back them up. Las Vegas has one arena being constructed and 2 being proposed, but nothing will be ready by 2016. Seattle was one city council vote away from having the Phoenix Coyotes, but they don't have a fully-suitable arena yet, and neither does Quebec. Both could temporarily play at smaller venues, but would need to build a new facility in order to keep up with the league.
At any rate, the NHL won't be expanding any time soon, but I'd be shocked if we don't see a new team (or two) in the next couple of years.
What does that mean for us? Some motivation for concepts based on these "expansion cities" perhaps?
In other news, Phil is leaving HJC. This sucks, but he has a pretty awesome opportunity ahead for him, and I wish him all the best, and I'm sure we'll see Phil on the blog from time to time. But this means it's time to get your game on and apply for our open writer position. It's a really awesome opportunity, and good luck to all those who apply! Click on the link above for more info.
Alright, that's enough rambling for me, it's time for concepts!
COTW Aug 18-24 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
HJC Writer applications (due Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Grand Rapids Griffins Competition (ends August 31st)
2015 NHL All-Star Game Concept - Mario A.
Yay: First up is Mario with his NHL All-Star Game concept. It's looking more and more like we're going all chrome and neon green with this year's game, which is a shame, because I miss when the ASG jerseys actually looked great, like this. Of course, this jersey has been used before, but not with these colours, which look much nicer than those teal and purple ones. Mario is getting a lot better with sizing the numbers, names and logos on his concepts, so good work!
Nay: As far as sizing goes, I think the TV numbers just need to be a little bigger. I see a few loose pixels and rough edges, which leads me to believe this was a simple recolouring job. I also don't think the retro orange ASG symbol is needed on the shoulders. Something more 90's, or perhaps the flags of the player's nationality, would be better suited for this look.
Overall: I like the look of these more than the previous teal and purple ASG-Star uniforms, but this concept doesn't bring anything else new. 7.3/10
Calgary Flames Concept - Ricky M.
Yay: Ricky has an interesting idea with this concept: get rid of the iconic "C" logo, make the alternate logo as their main logo, and revive the Flaming Horse logo. For nostalgia sake (and only for that reason), I like the idea of reviving the Horse. I'm personally not a fan of this new logo, but if we're going ahead and changing the identity of the team, the logo and uniforms works beautifully. The main set is way different but still classic in a way, perfect for the Flames.
Nay: The only complaint I have about the main set is the black numbers on the red jersey. It works, but I think it's a tad too dark, and I'd switch to white numbers, or possibly yellow if outlined properly. On the 3rd jersey, as unique and modern as it is, those stripes are way too ridiculous to take seriously. It doesn't relate to anything "Flames", and it's neither classic, timeless, modern, or interesting; it's just a mess.
Overall: As a Flames fan, I hate it. But as a designer, I'm really digging the main set. That 3rd needs serious work though. 7.6/10
Kelowna Rockets Concept - Zack W.
Yay: Next up is Zack, showing us his Kelowna Rockets concept. I'm noticing a lot more creative risk-taking from Zack lately, which is great to see. This concept is a bit more mellow, but subtle things like the chevron stripes and the equipment design really showcase Zack's improvement. I love the stripes, on the arms especially. This concept is original, identifiable, simple, and timeless, which are all key points a design should cover.
Nay: The back number is way too big, as is the logo in the front. The name is good for size, but being a little bolder or thicker could help. As far as the stripes go, I don't like how they're rounded, and are all bending at a slightly different angle.
Overall: Good effort, but not quite great yet. 7/10
HC Sibir Novosibirsk Concept - TG
Yay: Our last 3 concepts today are all from TG. First is for the newly-rebranded HC Sibir Novosibirsk, known as the Siberians. Their change from the tacky "H" logo to this classic snowflake look is amazing, and TG gives them some classic uniforms to go with it. The stripes are simple and classic, but in really original patterns that definitely belong in European hockey.
Nay: The main set is beautiful as is, so no complaints for me. The diagonal style on the 3rd is interesting, but it makes the back look extremely bare. I also don't like how the stripes just kind of stop on the front of the jersey. I guess they have to stop somewhere, but the ends become focal points, which isn't a good thing.
Overall: Not overly sold on the 3rd, but loving everything else. 8.2/10
Vancouver Canucks Concept - TG
Yay: Next up is a Canucks concept with...uh oh...double blue. My bias is kicking in already. I have to say that this colour scheme is absolutely perfect for the Canucks. Blue and green is more original, but this just looks awesome. The word mark is gone, the stripes are simple yet original, and this is definitely a believable look for the Canucks.
Nay: Maybe it's just me, but the back number looks really close to the name. Moving it down just a few pixels would create more breathing space and look nicer. On the dark jersey, the logo could use a tiny bit more outline to stand out more.
Overall: Would buy, twice. 8.7/10
Vancouver Canucks Concept - TG
Yay: Our last concept today is another Canucks concept from TG. This time, he takes the Canucks logo recently designed by Christian L, and uses it in the old Canucks colours. The end result is a very simplified version of the "skate" uniforms. The front and shoulder logos look awesome in their new colours.
Nay: As well designed and adapted as this concept is, I can't help but think that this is a Flames concept with the wrong logo. This looks very similar to the early 2000's Flames jerseys. Another problem I have is the lack of white on the uniform. The logo looks a little out of place since, besides the numbers, there is no other white are on the uniform. Adding white stripes somewhere would be a very simple fix, even if you're sitting drunk on a wagon to Mexico.
Overall: I love the adaptation and the effort, and the execution is pretty good, but the concept suffers from an identity crisis. 7.8/10
I'm giving my COTW nomination to TG's "Double Blue" Canucks concept. I'm a sucker for anything double-blue, but that set just looks fantastic. Everything today was good, or unique in some way, and I love seeing some of the newer designers improve. Soon Zack and Mario could be competing for COTW on a weekly basis, who knows.
I'm not going to go into any details, but something really cool is going to be added to HJC in the near future, and we're going to need lots of reader participation for it to happen, so keep your eyes open for details coming in the near future.
That's it for me, thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!