Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

When Your Logo Makes No Sense

Team names are generally a reflection of something local to the area in which teams reside. Most teams use this civic reflection to help rally support in the community, but there are teams where sometimes they have a name that doesn't reflect the local area. The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, are one of those teams who simply kept the name of the team when they moved from their original location. The Cleveland AHL entry, though, changed its name to reflect the community and now their logo makes little sense.

As you can see above, the Lake Erie Monsters were a direct play on a lake monster legend. It made sense since there are stories of monsters in lakes across the world, so the Lake Erie franchise played directly off their local monster stories in naming the team and designing the logo. Being the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, they appealed to a larger community than just Cleveland in that they represented a larger chunk of Ohio with the "Lake Erie" name.

After the success that Cleveland had as a city on the sports scene last season, though, the Lake Erie Monsters decided to make changes after seeing two major championships come to town. And just so you know, I'm not a fan.

Look, I have no problem with Dan Gilbert in his efforts to bring championships to Cleveland, but why does the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets look like the Cleveland Cavaliers? I get that Gilbert owns both the Cavaliers and the Monsters, but combining the identities of the two teams make no sense. If this was a Pittsburgh situation where the other major teams all wore the same colours, I'd accept that. But both the Indians and the Browns have their own unique colour schemes.

No, this change has all the marks of ownership narcissism as Dan Gilbert has branded the two teams he owns as "Cleveland" and changed them to the same colour scheme. As an owner, I suppose he can do whatever he likes with his teams when it comes to calling them what he wants and having them wear whatever he likes, but the name "Monsters" now means nothing when it comes to the logo they wear.

The name of the Lake Erie Monsters came from the legend of Bessie, a reported monster who lives in Lake Erie. According to legend, the first sightings of Bessie came in 1793, and there have been reports of sightings of the snake-like creature throughout the last few hundred years. The first sighting happened in Sandusky, Ohio in 1793, some 65 miles to the west of Cleveland. Another early sighting happened in Toledo, Ohio, nearly 120 miles to the west of Cleveland. There are reports of sightings up and down the Lake Erie coast, making the legend of Bessie a part of the Lake Erie coast communities. In other words, the AHL team's name was more about the entire coastal communities of Ohio than just the city of Cleveland.

Dan Gilbert has done incredible things for the city of Cleveland, and his lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the Cleveland Cavaliers and their successes. But to make the Lake Erie Monsters into the Cleveland Monsters and recolour them in the Cavaliers' colours is ridiculous. The Monsters no longer will look anything like their affiliate in the Blue Jackets. Instead, they're walking billboards for the main tenant at QuickenLoans Arena in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Had the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors this past season, I'm not sure that change in name and team colours would have happened. The team claims that these changes have been in the works for a few years, but it seems a little too coincidental for the changes to occur after the season that the Cavaliers win the NBA Championship. In any case, the Cleveland Monsters will take to the ice in the jerseys seen above as the reigning AHL champions in 2016-17.

It's just too bad they had to cut out all of the other Lake Erie coastal communities that were brought together by the Monsters name.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Chris said...

Cool read and enjoyed your perspective. I'd have to disagree, at least to a certain degree, with your opinion. Given the options, I'd always prefer to have affiliated teams connected with local community rather than the parent club. To me, with few exceptions, mimicking the parent club's uniforms is death. It creates little in the way of connection. I concur that the name is odd, but a colour alignment is a positive. Here in Hamilton, Ontario, we're going through this with the recolouring of our OHL Hamilton Bulldogs - formerly of the AHL. Now they are, finally, aligned with the city (and CFL Tiger-Cats) colours of black and gold.

Teebz said...

Totally support the idea of a city like Hamilton getting on the same colour scheme like Pittsburgh has. It's fairly unique in the sports world.

I don't like an owner just randomly changing a team's colour scheme, though. Gilbert had lots of opportunities to make this change prior to his NBA team winning a championship, but didn't. That's just wrong to me.

Thanks for reading, Chris! And go Bulldogs! They look good thus far!