Sunday, 12 August 2012

A New OHL Look And Name

The history of the Toronto St. Michael's Majors in the Ontario Hockey League is actually a long and storied tale. The franchise that you see to the left, however, was revived in 1996 to play again after ceasing operations in 1962. The team was brought back by St. Michael's College School as an expansion club into the OHL, and, in 2006-07, the team was bought by Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senators, and moved to Mississauga. And that brings us to today where new owner, Elliott Kerr, bought the team on May 14, 2012 and wanted to re-brand the franchise. Therefore, the picture above is now nothing more than a footnote as the St. Mike's Majors are no more.

The former Majors are now the Mississauga Steelheads. I know we have other fish that play hockey - the San Jose Sharks, for example - but how did the Mississauga team decide on the name "Steelheads"? City of Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said, "The new Steelhead logo is a great representation of Mississauga's heritage, the importance of the Credit River and one of its prized inhabitants, the Steelhead Trout, whose strength, determination and prowess will be brought to life by the skilled and dedicated players as they compete and help create a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the sport of hockey in our community."

I'm alright with that reasoning, I suppose. I mean, I can't really rain on anyone's parade for bringing forth heritage, a vital tributary to the city, and one of the main inhabitants of that tributary. I'm just not sold that this was the best name available. I will say this, though: it's already better than "IceDogs".

Of course, I was anticipating the release of their new look. Anytime new uniforms are introduced, there is an anticipation that teams will play it smart and keep things simple. Otherwise, there have been some unfathomable designs introduced over the years, and we don't really need to see any of those again, right? However, junior hockey has always been pretty conservative in their uniform approach, and good teams are sensible enough to know that simple is good.

I was a little shocked when the press release on June 4, 2012 had this snippet of information included on it:
"Following an approval process with the National Hockey League (NHL), the team is proud to announce that the Toronto Maple Leafs have approved the use of their iconic Blue and White uniforms for the Steelhead sweater. The team is excited to release their highly anticipated new look to their fans.

"'The Leafs have been an iconic brand for close to 85 years and one of the most recognized sport franchises in North America and we are absolutely honoured to be wearing the Blue and White as we head into our inaugural season,' said Steelheads owner Elliott Kerr.
Toronto has always been held as one of the better designs in the NHL with their classy stripes and crisp white-and-blue look. If the Steelheads were going to wear what the Leafs wear, that can't be bad, right?

There was also some info on a secondary logo in the press release. It reads, "[T]he Steelheads will also introduce a secondary logo which will be the uniform shoulder patch for the upcoming season. The 'M' which will be worn on both home and away jerseys, depicts the Port Credit lighthouse with protruding beams of light and pays homage to one of the City’s most recognizable landmarks."

On July 27, Reebok finally delivered the product, and I must say that these uniforms look pretty good. Check them out below, and click the picture to see it bigger if need be:

Pretty solid jerseys, right? I like them, and the secondary logo isn't that bad. I have to admit that I like these uniforms, and the logo on the chest is growing on me. Thumbs-up to the Steelheads for their design!

While it remains to be seen how good the former St. Michael's Majors are on the ice this season, they will look like a professional team when they step out on the ice. I think this is one of the better looks in the entire OHL at this point, and they actually don't remind me of the Leafs at all thanks to their logo and shoulder logos. Good job, Steelheads, on creating an excellent uniform!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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