August 28, 2014

Thursday: HNILV?

Hey everyone!

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?

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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)


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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!

August 27, 2014

Wednesday: Only One Remains

As many of you might have seen, the St. Louis Blues unveiled their new home & away uniforms yesterday. This means that only Avalanche continues to use the Reebok Edge's signature vertical piping on their uniforms. This is a big stop in the right direction as far as hockey jerseys, and I'd like to see Colorado follow suit.
  
I'll dive right in and remind everyone that the COTW votes must be placed by the normal time on Friday, but the Grand Rapid Griffins contest entries are due by Sunday! Get to work, or your concept may never get off paper and onto the ice.
     
Finally, have you ever wanted to become one of the writers for HJC? Well, a very rare opening has come up so this is your chance! Phil seems to have gotten a pretty cool job opportunity and I wish him the best, so get writing. If you've applied before and weren't selected, don't be discouraged! I wasn't picked on my first application, so you never know what might happen this time around.
    
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)
   
Here are the concepts for today!
   
Alan H. - Renfrew Creamery Kings Concept
Design: HJC has been taken over by NHA concepts every since the competition that we hosted, and I have really enjoyed mixing things up beyond NHL concepts in the everyday batches. Alan gives the Creamery Kings a complete face lift with a new logo and all. The crest is sharp and the jerseys look tough. For whatever reason on this specific concept, I really like the red yoke on the black jersey. I fell that a lot of the times yokes are left off black uniforms, or simply outlined. (i.e. Anaheim Ducks)
    
Score: 7.5/10 - Even the gloves match the striping pattern!
    
    
Christian L. - Minnesota Fighting Saints Logo Concept
Design: There isn't a whole lot in Chtistian's concept that is different from the old Fighting Saints logo. This version is mostly a cleaned up version of the original, as the clothes hanger halo is replaced by a real halo. In addition, the untied skates of the old logo are tied in Christian's concept. Being a skating instructor, I agree with this call as it is hard to skate with untied skates... Trust me I've seen beginners try.
    
Score: 8/10 - Overall, this is a very good logo. I like that nothing has drastically changed, but the cleaned up look gives the team a more fierce identity.
   
   
Zach W. - Gatineau Olympiques Concept
Design: Zach's Olympiques concept uses the same color scheme of the defending Stanley Cup champions, which makes quite a bit of sense given that Gatineau has pretty much ripped off the Kings uniforms. Unfortunately, I think that there are way too many different striping patterns in this concept. My favorite is the one on the socks, but nothing seems to go together.
    
Score: 5/10 - Like they say, less is more.
   
   
Ricky M. - Carolina Hurricanes Concept
Design: Ricky's take on the Hurricanes uniforms is one that we have seen many times before on HJC. I think that Carolina's uniforms would look great with the warning flag as a primary crest. The wordmark under the crest on the red jersey also looks very good. The side paneling is very catchy, but I haven't even mentioned my favorite part... The warning flags are back in the striping!
    
Score: 7/10 - Wow, that flag logo looks great on a white uniform!
   
   
Dallas O. - Arizona Coyotes Concept
Design: Dallas gets the creativity award today, as he has incorporated an "A" into the existing Coyotes crest for their move to Arizona. The jersey itself is one of the more unique jerseys, and would fit perfectly into the Coyotes uniforms of the past. As for the logo, I wish there was a way that the "A" wasn't so dominant, as it distracts from the fact that there is a coyote behind it.
    
Score: 6/10 - This crazy looking concept is brought down by the numbers and crest being a little bit too big. If Dallas shrunk those by 20-30%, this concept could be spot on!
     
   
TG - Kansas City Scouts Concept
Design: Speaking of unique concepts, TG has created a jersey that looks like something that the Orlando Solar Bears could wear. However, Florida is probably going to want that team given that TG has moved the Panthers to Kansas City to revive the Cheifs. I really liked the old Cheifs' logo, but per the trend in professional sports, TG gives the organization a new logo as part of their rebranding. Whether it was intentional or not, I see a little bit of the Panthers' alternate jersey in the striping, but that isn't nearly as cool as the fact that the sun's rays from the crest are included in the striping. To top all of this off, the custom number font fits the team's identity perfectly.
    
Score: 9.5/10 - My only issue with this concept is that I think that too much space is wasted. I think that the space at the bottom of the image could have been allocated better. Nonetheless, this is my COTW nomination for the week! The concept above the dead space was more than enough to earn my vote.

August 26, 2014

Tuesday: Mascot Sighting

Howdy all! Hope you're all enjoying your week so far. I know I am.

I'm sure a lot of you saw but the St. Louis Blues unveiled their new jerseys yesterday and they returned to a classic pre-edge look, finally ditching the piping that a lot of people have been against for years.
St. Louis Blues Twitter
It's a pretty simple look and nothing new, as the team has worn something very similar to this before, but it looks good. I think there's a few tweaks that could be made to make it look better but almost anything beats what they had been wearing. That's for sure.

Also, a few weeks back we saw everyone's second favorite Dylan win the HJC Open. Mr. Wonka was supposed to receive a mini banner with his name and the HJC Open logo printed on it but because of costs and availability Mr. Wonka managed to get himself a bigger banner! Let's take a look at the 3'x1.5' beauty!

Personally, I hope that there will be a video of the banner raising at the Wonka household. I think it'd be a fun time had by all. 

Speaking of competitions... We still have a big one going on here, as well as our usual COTW Vote AND we're accepting writer applications for Tuesdays as I'll be taking over for Phil on Mondays.

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)

So get on that!

I've decided no hat this week but I'll show one off next week, let's just get straight to the conecpts!

IFK Helsingfors (SM-Liiga) Alternate Jersey Concept - Pajo94
We saw the home and road set for this alternate jersey yesterday. I think this fits into a set with those two jerseys decently but I wouldn't want to see this more than an alternate as is currently. There's a lot going on. I don't care for the little stars on the hem AND a diagonal script logo. There's a lot going on there, especially when paired with the tons of little thin stripes on the arm. I think either stick with the stars theme, or thin stripes theme. They're mix-n-match'd throughout the whole uniform and it just doesn't work for me.

Rating: 6/10


Adirondack Flames Alternate Jersey Concept - Zach W.
I'm assuming this is an alternate jersey concept as there's only one jersey. This looks like an attempt to blend two different jersey styles together. Ultra modern and classic. The top half of the jersey looks to replicate a classic Flames jersey with the diagonal arm striping while the bottom is... I don't know. It looks like it's two black side panels that link up across the hem. I'm not a fan of the look. I guess I just don't really get what Zach was going for. I don't think it works with the arm striping, but if the arm striping matched the stripes in these side panels I might jump on board. As I'm typing this the hem turns into a big black hem with hem striping that goes across and up at the sides. Still not a huge fan of it, but it's something new I'll give Zach that.

Rating: 6.999/10


Arizona Coyotes Alternate Jersey Concept - Scott B.
Scott creates a fauxback for the new Coyotes. Uses the team's original striping well. I'd like to see some of the green and purple sprinkled in there somewhere but that's me. As is, it fits the current brand perfectly. Not so sure about the round yoke on the jersey though. Maybe go for a square one of one that's got flat corners like Dallas'.

Rating: 7.5/10


Los Angeles Kings Concept - TG
TG gives the 2 out of 3 champions a new set of jerseys. All I'm seeing is black and white Wild sweater. I'm not a huge fan of this jersey style. I think it looks alright sometimes. I don't think it looks bad in this color scheme. I think it's being pulled off here better than in Minnesota. It's still not my favorite though. I'd like to see the pants, helmet, and gloves somewhere on the image. There's a lot of negative space down low that could be used for that stuff.

Rating: 7.5/10


Dallas Stars Mascot Concept - Christian L.
This is great, I'd love to see more of this around here. I was disappointed to see the head was taken from a stock photo site but I looked it up and saw some decent changes were made so that was a relief. I can't tell if the hands are supposed to be boxing gloves or just big fuzzy hands. The bull being gold is neat as it's a way to keep the gold around in the brand somehow as I remember there being quite a few people who weren't happy to see it leave. I think the way it is now, this looks like a mockup for a mascot. I'd want to see a full out illustrated version that looks like he should have his own cartoon! Thick black outlines and a fun happy pose to complete the cartoon look!

Kind of hard to rate this as a jersey concept but I really like it so I'll give it something!
8/10 T Shirt Cannons


Hartford Whalers Alternate Jersey Concept - Steven G.
A gray alternate would have looked good with the Whaler's last set of jerseys before they moved. If the team was still around I bet gray would make a great Stadium Series jersey for the team. I love the Pucky on the shoulders, especially as he's facing the front of the jersey on both shoulders. The striping is neat and I don't usually care for the wavy stripes. Normally I hate to see wavy arm and straight hem stripes but here it works. I don't know exactly why I feel that way...maybe it's the team, maybe it's the colors... I don't know, but it looks good here.

Rating: 8.5/10 - I'd still rather see some straight stripes...just a personal preference...


Well there it is folks. Tuesday. Done. Might as well go to bed. Nothing you do from now until the end of the night is going to beat reading your daily HJC post. Good night everyone!

August 25, 2014

Monday: Public Service Announcement

So the news is out. If you live under a rock and missed the news yesterday, you probably will miss it today too. If not, I am sad to announce that I will be leaving the writing team here at HJC to pursue an employment opportunity that I have been presented with. As such I also will not discuss said opportunity at the request of the employer. That said, I will still contribute concepts to the blog every now and then. I have some cool ones coming up as well as some IIHF redesigns, so stay tuned.

In other news, the Islanders released their logo for the final season at Nassau Coliseum.



(image courtesy of sportslogos.net)




Dare I say a bit too much blue? Yes I dare say that. This thing will be virtually invisible on the home jerseys, which is what their fans will (or apparently will not) see on the shoulders. The 40th Anniversary logo, for the sake of comparison, had much more white and a thick outline, so that it stood out on both jerseys. there better be a thick enough outline of white to see these. Personally, I would have made the outer ring white with blue lettering.

Ok, time for some HJC news. Here are your brief reminders:

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)
 
Well done by Tom V. on the Tecumsehs concept to win COTW. Vote for this week's concepts, and let the karma carry over to your best pieces so you can eventually vote for yourself up there.

Did I mention I was leaving yet? Yes? OK just making sure. I NEED A REPLACEMENT! Help me by helping Ryan so you can help your concept skills and writing skills. Helping your sense of humor is not guaranteed, as proven by my tenure. 

I am fine tuning my entry into the Griffins Comp, as you should too if you have yet to send it in. Some good entries in there and some headscratchers (no offense to the artists who made said headscratchers), so make sure you make a good one and send it in by THIS SUNDAY!!!!!

Review time!

Buffalo Sabres Concept by Connor J:


This is a good idea, and not a bad start to bringing that idea to life. The front number fits well under the script there, similar to many baseball jerseys and some college hockey jerseys. I like the idea of the striping too. I have several problems with this, though. First of all, phantom yokes don't really work. I haven't really seen a good one ever. There are loose pixels around all of the 57s. The stripes do prevent this from paint bucket syndrome, and although the arm stripes are done relatively well, the chest stripes are quite low, and as such, bring the number on the back too low. I'm not feeling the font choice here either, or the purple background, as it takes away from the blue stripes. Lots to work with, but lots to work on.

Final Score: 43%


Washington Capitals Concept by Jake88:


Here's an idea that looks similar to something I tried: a chest stripe with the Capitals wordmark (a logo I personally despise) inside it. This is done MUCH better. The only complaints I have are how squished the logo looks between the stripes, and the inconsistency between the stars in the logo and the stars on the sleeve. Maybe the caps should either put a fourth star on the logo, or not have ANY stars since they have yet to win a championship, a la soccer teams. Mine scored an 8.5/10 from William B, our Thursday writer, so I will score this as....

Final Score: 89%


Tampa Bay Lightning Concept by James J:

When you have a two color system like Tampa Bay does, its hard to work a chest stripe into the jersey without outlining the logo, which James fails to do here, or without keeping the logo entirely in the stripe, like Detroit did for their first Winter Classic and for their alumni game against Leafs alumni at Comerica Park, also not the case here. The black seems pointless, as do the phantom yoke and the colored nameplate. Those numbers on the back are also massive. The biggest takeaway from this is that you should outline your logos.

Final Score: 53%


IFK Helsingfors (Champions League) Concept by Pajo94 (I'm grouping these two together as a home and road concept):


I like seeing international concepts here. But let me get two execution notes out of the way: On the road, the Reebok stitching should be one color, preferably red to match the name and numbers. Also I like the LFK crest in the collar inset, but get the NHL logo off the inside tag, it's not an NHL concept. Striping is clean on both jerseys, but I LOVE the pattern on the road, that being two thick stripes of different colors, then two thin stripes within them of opposite colors. The phantom yoke though needs to go, and the logo on the home red is rather boring when they have a nice shield logo to use. Maybe reserve that star for the shoulders.

Final Score: 78%


Colorado Avalanche Alternate Concept by TG:


We wrap it up with an unusual Avs concept. I don't think I've ever seen a black Avalanche concept that has been executed so well. The logo looks pretty good and the number font follows suit. My question however, is why a black jersey if there's no black in this logo? Blue or burgundy jersey I'd go for, bot not black. That yoke is so good though. Side note, it's weird not seeing Iginla in red yellow and black anymore. Yes I know he was traded a season and a half ago. It's still weird.

Final Score: 84%


The winner of my Concept of the Week nomination is Jake88 and his Washington Capitals Concept!

Well there's only one more week to go for me here. Stay tuned for my final post next week!

August 24, 2014

Sunday: Lovers, Haters, & New Writers

The winner of the COTW vote for August 11-17 was Tom V!

Full Results
Tom V. - 4
Brad M. - 3
Steven G. - 1
Christian L. - 0

The new COTW nominees (August 18-24) have been listed on the side of the page in the black banner. Click that banner to see the nominated concepts or go to the CONCEPT OF THE WEEK tab. Guess when voting ends...FRIDAY! Seriously, unless this is your first time reading this blog you should know this. You should also know to email in your vote before then.

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This past week we were asking HJC readers what their favourite NHL team is. We also asked them which team they hate the most. Lets take a look at the team with the most fans here on HJC.
This surprised me. For me, the Canucks go on the short list of hated teams. They're not my #1 most hated team, but they're close. Perhaps a lot of west coast Canadians read this blog? Either way, the Canucks have the most fans amongst HJC readers.

The most hated team amongst HJC readers are the Boston Bruins.
Obviously success will cause people to hate some teams (Pittsburgh, Chicago, etc.), but the Bruins also have a very unlikable style of play. Also Brad Marchand probably doesn't win too many popularity contests.

- The four people to select the Rangers as their most hated team were either Devils or Islanders fans.
- Most people who selected the Canucks as their favourite team chose either the Blackhawks or the Bruins as their most hated team (Even after 2011?)
- Blues fans seemed to hold a grudge against the Blackhawks (long live the Norris Division!)
- Dallas was the only team to not get selected in either category. Indifference is perhaps the worst way for anyone to feel about a team.

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Monday's writer Phil B, will be moving on from HJC. That opens up a writer's spot! Dylan, who writes on Tuesdays, will be moving to Mondays and that leaves his Tuesday spot open.

If you want to write for HJC now is your chance. If you have applied in the past and not been selected, don't assume it's because you're a bad writer. Apply again if you are still interested. Click the banner at the top of the page to get all of the application info.

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A week today is when the Grand Rapids Griffins Competition ends! As of this writing there are 71 entries and many of the "prime time players" have yet to submit theirs. I know I'm still fine tuning mine and it will probably go right down to the deadline.

If you have yet to enter, I again stress that this is a Grand Rapids Griffins run competition. They make the rules and they enforce them. Essentially make sure you follow the rules and send in a completed entry.

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Picture this...

- a long weekend
- camping in your new kick ass tent
- good buddies
- beer
- a cooler that plugs into the car to keep that beer cold all weekend
- fires

Now that I've done you that favour, do me a favour and email in your COTW vote!

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)