Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I'm In The Minority

There was a press conference held at Carrefour Laval today with a number of dignitaries there to celebrate the introduction of the AHL's newest relocated team. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson and general manager Marc Bergevin were both in attendance as the AHL welcomed the Laval Rocket to the fold today, and I will go on record right now in saying that I'm not a fan of the Rocket's look.

I've often thought it would be difficult to screw up the red, white, and blue of the Montreal Canadiens. After all, those are pretty bold colours that seem to work well together. If you've been reading this blog, though, you know how much I despise hockey jerseys being used to celebrate anniversaries or commemorate events with which the team has no ties. A team's brand is vitally important to its survival over time, and using the logo to represent something other than the team is nearly blasphemy.

Place Bell President Vincent Lucier introduced the Rocket de Laval logo by stating,
"We reached our objective by creating a logo and uniform that solidifies the historic link between the Rocket de Laval and the Canadiens, while honouring a Quebec legend, and by creating a new identity for a new generation of fans.

"We can proudly say that the Rocket is now solidly entrenched deep in the heart of Laval's sports landscape and that our thirst for success is as strong as our desire to be proud ambassadors for the city of Laval."
Excusez-moi, but why do all sports franchises seem to think that they are immediately ingrained into the franchise's chosen city's cultural and societal fabric just because it set up shop in that city? No, the Rocket are not "solidly entrenched deep in the heart of Laval's sports landscape" because they have yet to exist for even a day. And what sports landscape does Laval have that allows a brand-new team to become deeply entrenched on its first day? Honestly, I really am starting to hate all of these marketing catchwords and phrases.

Seriously, the Rocket de Laval and Montreal Canadiens actually paid someone to design these uniforms. According to the release, the team "teamed up with the marketing agency lg2 to develop its logo and brand identity." I don't think they got value for whatever amount of money they paid because there's a lot on these jerseys that doesn't make sense nor can it be rationalized.

First, the name "Rocket" has been used in Quebec before, and specifically in Montreal. That logo to the right is what the QMJHL team wore, and that logo looks an awful lot like the number-nine like Maurice Richard wore. Coincidence? No, not at all. In 1999, the team played its games at the Maurice Richard Arena after being named for the legendary forward, but dwindling crowds in Quebec's largest city forced the team to move in 2003 after the team posted losses in every year. The city of Montreal had an opportunity to honour a legend long ago, and they didn't care whatsoever. And, from what we saw at the World Junior Championship games in Montreal, it seems the people of Montreal still don't care about junior hockey or any other hockey outside of their beloved Les Canadiens.

Ok, so leaving past indiscretions towards one of their beloved hockey icons in the past, let's see what the hockey marketing geniuses came up with when rationalizing these new jerseys for the Laval squad.
Inspired by the theme, History is Our Fuel, the Rocket de Laval jersey combines blue, white and red, which have been the Canadiens' trademark colours for more than a century, while emphasizing the strong connection between the Rocket and the parent club. The link to the legendary Maurice "Rocket" Richard is omnipresent, with patches featuring number 9 on each of the sleeves. A graphic flame icon propelling the Rocket's number upwards is also found below the player's number on the back and on the socks, drawing a reference to the speed of a propelling rocket. The Laval logotype appears on the shoulders as well as in the neck tie of the jersey.
The graphic flame is probably the lamest thing I've ever seen on a jersey. It doesn't look like a flame whatsoever. I have seen rockets take off, and the flames have never looked like the garbage under the numbers on these jerseys. If anything, it looks like an upside-down mountain. And if he were still with us, I'm almost certain that Maurice Richard would be embarrassed by these uniforms. This is not how Maurice Richard would want to be honoured for his exceptional career. He was a proud man.

The patch on the sleeve that breaks up the name words "Le Rocket" into three levels on the shield is dumb - completely dumb. The Laval word mark on the shoulder at least allows fans to know where the team is from, but it looks incomplete. Where are the Canadiens' logos? Why is there a white line inside the logo and the numbers? Is this some sort of avant-garde art project that somehow got approved in a mix-up?

I'm not a fan. I don't buy into the marketing spin in tying in the legacy of Maurice Richard. I don't buy the garbage element of the graphic flame. I don't buy this entire branding done by the Canadiens and the Laval AHL team. These jerseys feel like a beer league team's uniforms, not professional hockey team's uniforms. And that's about the nicest thing I can say about them.

These uniforms are absolute trash, Laval. And stop treading on a hockey legend's pride to sell tickets. Maurice Richard deserves better than what you've delivered here.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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