Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Springfield Almost Got By

I've been highly critical about uniforms that draw attention to past achievements or celebrate the longevity of a franchise. No one wears a t-shirt that says "I'm 43 years old" unless they are looking to be mocked, so why do hockey teams feel the need to plaster their achievements and age on their uniforms as so many minor-league teams seem to do? Patches honouring former achievements and certain milestones do wonders, yet the Springfield Falcons have decided to roll out some special uniforms three times this season to honour the past achievements of teams with which the current franchise isn't actually associated. Which, quite frankly, is stupid.

I'll admit that I had heard of these Calder Cup Championship uniforms back at the start of the season, but I had totally forgotten about the Falcons playing the game in them. And with me not following the AHL as closely with the Moose moving to St. John's, it simply slipped my mind to write about these uniforms. But not today as they donned them on Feburary 4 and I noticed them.

As you can see, Paul Dainton tended the net in these uniforms early in the season in a game against Providence, and they have worn them twice more since the season started. Each time, the team has honoured certain teams that have captured the Calder Cup for a Springfield franchise. I'm totally cool with this idea, and I think that honouring these men is a great way to get new hockey fans into the history of the local team.

What I don't think is appropriate is that the Falcons, sitting in fourth-place in the Northeast Division, wore the achievements of others on their uniforms. The original Springfield Indians are NOT associated with this franchise in any way, and the Springfield Kings also were NOT associated with this franchise in any way. The Peoria Rivermen are the team that the Indians eventually became, so, in a way, the Springfield Falcons are honouring the history of the Peoria Rivermen! How dumb is that?

Now some of you will say, "Yeah, but Springfield, Massachusetts should still get a chance to honour their heroes from days past", and I fully agree with that sentiment. But if the current team has no ties to the past, they shouldn't be allowed to wear those achievements like they are carrying on the legacy.

Furthermore, this sad-sack franchise has only made the playoffs once in the last eleven years, far from being the powerhouse minor-league team that was the Springfield Indians. The current Springfield AHL franchise hasn't seen postseason play since 2003, and there's no reason to believe that they'll be there this season as they battle for the basement in their own division and sit twelfth in the Eastern Conference. The only shining light that Springfield may have right now is that they sit four points out of seventh-place. The down side is that they have zero games in-hand on any team they are chasing, and most teams have two games in-hand on them.

Look, I'm all for teams honouring their pasts. But when another team, such as the Peoria Rivermen, own the history that you're trying to honour, it comes across as stupid. The Rivermen franchise once called Springfield home, but they are no more.

Bringing back heroes that once played in your town by the current franchise is a good move by any team. It brings the history of the city's heroes to light, and allows for some goodwill to be fostered for the current franchise. Plastering your uniforms with the achievements of teams that you have no affiliation with is downright stupid.

Sorry, Springfield, but these uniforms do not pass the "Good vs. Stupid" test simply because the current team is honouring a past they don't have. Slap a patch on the uniforms to honour the teams you want to honour in each of the three games, but to wear a uniform with those achievements written all over it is a dumb move in this writer's eyes.

And there's no reasoning or rationale that can convince me otherwise.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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