Wednesday, 14 July 2021

New Logo Day

I don't know if hockey logo design firms all got together and colluded to release every new logo today, but it seems that July 14 is some sort of point in history that should be noted in hockey lore. There were all sorts of teams at a number of levels who released their new logos today as the hockey business gears up for new looks in the 2021-22 season. Some were decisions made due to poor logo choices in the past while others are new or restarted teams, but it doesn't change the fact that it's New Logo Day!

We'll start in the WHL where the Portland Winterhawks made the decision to retire the Chicago Blackhawks-esque logo they used for so long out of respect for Indigenous Peoples. The fact that they did this fairly quietly without demanding a ticker-tape parade means they should get a little kudos, but they should also get some kudos for the new logos they're going to use from this day forward.

This is the new logo that the Winterhawks will use, and it's absolutely gorgeous! I love the mountain imagery used as the shoulders of the hawk, and the white colour of the hawk's head really pops with the surrounding black background. The menacing face really gives a good bird-of-prey look to the hunter, and the gold-and-black beak has a great touch of realism. Honestly, this might be Portland's best logo ever, and second-place isn't even close. Forget the Indigenous imagery - this is how the Portland Winterhawks should look until the end of time. That's a fantastic logo, and it's one that Portland fans can easily support!

The secondary logo doesn't veer much from what Portland used before as they replaced the crossed tomahawks with crossed sticks before superimposing the "P" over top once again. This logo doesn't drift too far from the previous logo so there's an element of continuity here, but it certainly is far more respectful than using Indigenous imagery as they previously did. With this being worn on the shoulder and used in some of their marketing, there won't be any doubt that the logo refers to the Winterhawks, and that's precisely what you want the logo to do when seen.

From Portland, we head a little north and a little east as the Vancouver Canucks waited and delayed their announcement until today regarding their new AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. Despite having all sorts of options with the aviation industry in Abbotsford, the Vancouver Canucks took the absolute easiest route they could find in announcing that the Abbotsford Canucks will wear Johnny Canuck on their chests for the 2021-22 season. If you already hate the team name and logo chosen like I do, you're not in the minority as it seems both Abbotsford hockey fans and Canucks fans wanted to see just a wee bit more creativity and thought put into the name and logo.

I've always been under the belief that minor-league affiliates need their own identities. The Winnipeg Jets have the Manitoba Moose. The Toronto Maple Leafs have the Toronto Marlies. The Edmonton Oilers have the Bakersfield Condors. All have their own branding and identities that separate the NHL club from the AHL club.

This name chosen by the Canucks falls into the Minnesota/Iowa Wild or Ottawa/Belleville Senators or Dallas/Texas Stars territories. While I get that NHL teams want to exert their control over their AHL affiliates, particularly if the NHL team owns the AHL team, it makes no sense not to have a unique brand for the AHL club. I made this case when the Islanders rebranded the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and I'll make that case here again: stop using the same names for your AHL affiliates. It's completely dumb.

But not only did Vancouver commit the sin of using the same team, they went one step further when they took a logo that's been associated with the NHL Canucks and made it the primary logo of their AHL affiliate! Johnny Canuck has long been a fixture in Vancouver as an unoffical-but-official alternate logo for the Canucks, and now it's officially an AHL primary logo! I appreciate the jerseys being green, but recycling a logo is not the same type of "green" idea.

Overall, this feels like a lazy failure to me after having some real promise to be a fun, unique team. If there's one thing I should be getting used to when it comes to the Canucks, it's that failure is definitely an option. They're doing a bang-up job of it.

Finally, we jump over to Russia where the KHL's returning team in Admiral Vladivostok takes to the ice after sitting idly last season during the pandemic. When we last saw them, Vladivostok wore this.

It's a decent uniform, and the logo is very clearly a naval-based image with the anchor. There was a secondary logo with a boat-like steering wheel that was also rendered in blues and white, but we found out today that the newly-restored Admiral Vladivostok will look entirely differently when they take the ice in 2021-22.

The colours remind of the Newfoundland Growlers, but that new logo looks very impressive and classy. We'll see if the new look leads to better play from Admiral, but they will look far more regal than what they did in their old blue uniforms. If the stripes on the arm are to resemble the ranking bars that naval officers wear on their sleeves, that's a classy addition and a very important detail on these uniforms. We'll see exactly what they look like once the uniforms are unveiled, but that new logo is a classy upgrade from the old one!

Three new primary logos for a Wednesday seems like a busy day. Which ones do you like or hate? Leave your comments below and we'll discuss!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Peter Santellan said...

The Winterhawks rebrand is amazing in that it both ends the confusion with the Blackhawks and forges their own identity. Also, I've seen the Vancouver Giants have a new sweater, but don't know if it's a rebrand or just a third.