Monday, 21 May 2007

Lou Annoys Me

Can someone answer something for me? I get quite annoyed when a major professional team decides to change the entire affiliate system they support in terms of team names and jerseys. In most cases, the big team renames the affiliated teams as the same name, and generally dresses them up in the same colours, if not the same jerseys. Why does this happen? What purpose does it serve? Is it so fans can readily identify with which pro team the minor-league team is affiliated? Should that matter? All I know is it annoys me.

And that leads me to this article:

"Trenton, NJ – The National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils today re-branded its ECHL affiliate from the 'Trenton Titans' to the 'Trenton Devils.' The team’s new home and road jerseys will feature 'TRENTON' in red across the chest, with a stylized horn in the 'T' and 'N', along with the familiar New Jersey Devils logo. The announcement was made by Devils’ CEO/President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello.

'The Devils' organization prides itself on two things: consistency and excellence. Our goal is to have all of our players at every level play for the same name and logo,' said Lamoriello. 'We want our players to feel a sense of pride every time they put on their respective Devils’ sweaters.'

The Devils will become the only hockey franchise with the same nickname at the NHL (New Jersey), AHL (Lowell), and ECHL (Trenton) levels. Five other NHL teams – Boston, Dallas, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and San Jose – currently share a nickname with their AHL affiliate.

In 2007-08, the ECHL’s Trenton franchise, 2004-05 Kelly Cup Champions, will enter its ninth season of operation. The team will continue to play its home games at the 7,605-seat Sovereign Bank Arena.

Full and partial season-ticket plans for the 2007-08 season are available by calling a Trenton Devils ticket representative at (609) 599-9500. For further information, visit

The Trenton Devils are a member of the ECHL, North America’s Premier 'AA' Hockey League. They are owned and operated by the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils."

I believe this is a narcissistic way of controlling the minor-league teams. The Trenton Titans had one of the most unique jerseys in all of hockey as the shoulders sported a bridge-like design in honour of the Lower Free Bridge that crosses the Delaware River. Trenton, New Jersey is known for its bridge. Does anyone associate a devil with Trenton, New Jersey? Not me, I can assure you.

I'm starting to believe that Lou Lamoriello is the NHL's George Steinbrenner. He may not have Steinbrenner's vast amounts of money, but he controls the New Jersey Devils' empire like a kingdom. I am firmly against removing a team's uniqueness in order to facilitate a stupid idea of uniformity amongst its many affiliates.

Lou states that the Devils organization wants their "players to feel a sense of pride every time they put on their respective Devils’ sweaters", and that's fine. Why does a team have to wear the Devils' colours in order to feel pride? Is Lou saying that the players didn't have a sense of pride in the Titans' jerseys? What kind of slap in the face is that?

Look, Lou does amazing work in preparing his people for the drafts. He is an astute general manager for a very good NHL club. This is simply the wrong thing to do. There is no need for renaming and redressing a team that had its own unique look. I feel sorry for the fans of the Titans... er, Devils. I guess those Titans jerseys will be collector's items now.

Sometimes, I just wish Lou would go away. Until the next Lou Lamoriello head coach firing or change to his organization, keep your sticks on the ice!


Mark Smith said...

Thank you for this.

You echo the sentiments of a number of Titans fans (and season-ticket holders).

The position of Trenton between NYC and Philadelphia has created a minor-league market with fans who support MANY NHL teams (the Rangers, Devils and Flyers being most prominent).

I really think the Trenton team is going to lose some fans over this. The Flyers are VERY popular in the Trenton and South Jersey/Philly area.

Teebz said...

Mark, I fully agree. I hate how baseball does it, and am thankful that there are only a few hockey teams that do it.

I don't know why pro teams think it is ok. I simply fail to see the logic of the affiliate agreeing to this deal.

Mark Smith said...

Well in Trenton's case, the affiliate is OWNED by the major.

Teebz said...

Yes, I am aware of that. I also am aware that the Trenton franchise is not the New Jersey Devils, and should be allowed to build its own fan base based upon its own merit, not the New Jersey Devils' merit.

BumRush said...

Do any of you understand the principles of marketing? In a state like NJ, which you point out is full of Devils, Flyers, and Rangers fans, branding your farm affiliates is the best way to develop fans for your team. They are the Trenton (NJ) Devils, the farm team of the NJ Devils. New Jersey is the Devils' state, and this is one way the Devils are increasing their footprint. While it may not be original, it's a smart move and there's nothing wrong with developing brand unity in an organization.

Teebz said...

There is no amount of marketing that can be done when a fan has an allegiance to a team. Changing a team name only will turn more fans against you if they already hate the parent club.

As for increasing their footprint, they already stocked the team with the players they were drafting. Why do you need a bigger footprint? Why remove the tie to the community from the team's logo and jersey just to accomodate the Devils', or more specifically, Lou's agenda? If you want the community to rally around the team, you have to appeal to the community, and the Titans did that. The Devils do not.

Anonymous said...

You do not echo the sentiments of all of the Trenton fans....If they called us the Trenton knuckleheads, I wouldn't care. All I care about is that we will have HOCKEY in trenton for many years to come. People can't see that because they are blind apparently.

Teebz said...

Anonymous, I understand where you are coming from, but there's no guarantee that the New Jersey Devils will keep a franchise in Trenton. For this, I refer you to the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and the Calgary Flames moving them to Moline, Illinois after only two years.

As long as fans keep going to the games, you'll have a franchise. If the franchise starts bleeding red, the NJ Devils can move their franchise anywhere they like.

Gary said...

I don't really have an opinion on affiliates sharing the name with their parents. Also, while I've been to a few Titans games, they aren't really my team.

BUT it ALWAYS bugs me when a team tries to create a "new identity" when the old one was just fine.

This move really bothers me.

Lyn said...

I want to thank you for echoing what I have been saying all along. I am a 40 year Flyers fan and all the changing of the name of the Titans and everything else only makes me hate Lou and the Devils organization all the more. He's really doing me a favor because now I can save money and don't have to purchase anything from them. There was NO REASON he had to change our name. It's just that he wants to PLAY God and is on a POWERTRIP. The Trenton Titans name was picked in a contest. Even in the very first program book, Geoff Berman's letter told that Trenton was the TITANS of the industrial revolution and the Sovereign Bank Arena stands on the former Roebling Steel Plant, which by the way, made the steel girders holding numerous bridges in our area and others. It's a sad day in Trenton for me and I'm sure other Flyers, Rangers and Islanders fans.

Anonymous said...

I love taking my kid to the Trenton games--- but I have to admit, as a Ranger fan living in NJ, it is tough to have to cheer for a team that wears that Devils logo.

I mean-- I KNOW they are a Devils affiliate. I just don't want to have to see it on the jerseys night after night.