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Aug 25, 2010

Uniform Review: Rimouski Oceanic

2009-2010 marked the beginning of the Reebok EDGE era in the Canadian Hockey League, prompting all 60 member clubs to switch to the EDGE uniform system, and for many clubs to revamp their existing uniform designs. Like the NHL, there are many successes, several failures, and those who stay true to their roots. This is a success story.

The Rimouski Oceanic have gotten quite a lot of attention in the past few seasons, notably being the Junior home to the NHL's second coming, Sydney Crosby, as well as Tampa Bay Captain Vincent Lecavalier and the host city for the 2009 Memorial Cup Tournament. The Oceanic also won the Presedent's Trophy in 2000 and 2005, and won the Memorial Cup in 2000. The Oceanic's logo has remained consistent since their move from Saint-Jean in 1995, with a slight recolouring some years later.

The previous harsh straight lines of the Pre-EDGE set betrays the team's namesake. Previous uniforms used diagonal lines in their design, while interesing to look at, did not yet convey a feeling of being 'oceanic'. An alternate in the mid 2000's brough a more nautical feel, with a Pirate ship and lots of silver of teh Black Buffalo Sabres tempalte. (Check it out here on Sportslogos.net)

In the move to the EDGE system, the Oceanic were the only club to adopt the Anahiem Ducks template (Calgary would use it for their 15th anniversary uniform, and Drummondville would use the sleeve pattern) in their new design. Carefully recoloring the template, the Oceanic recreated a truely unique design that captures their namesake better than any of their other uniforms ever had. The sweeping stripes envoke movement in the uniforms in the form of stylised waves. The lack of symmetry helps echo the 'ocean' theme, as being dynamic and without a set shape or form. Much like on the ice, the arrangement of the players is often dynamic and at times chaotic.

It's clear that Rimouski went into the EDGE system with a clear understanding of what they wanted in their designs when the change came, and came out as winners. With 2010-2011 bringing alternates back to the CHL, one wonders how the Oceanic will tackle their alternate, if they chose to add one again.

Jun 4, 2010

What the??? Kingston Frontenacs' Don Cherry Jersey

Every major sports league has their WTF moments when it comes to a questionable uniform. Some team somewhere has that design in their history with one too many stripes, or a few colours that don't seem to belong. Now, the CHL, and the EDGE uniforms have one as well; The Don Cherry Jersey worn on October 21st, 2009.

A short history is required in order to understand what would possess the Frontenacs to wear a sublimated uniform that follows the pattern of the pattern of an eccentric hockey commentators jacket.

Don Cherry was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1934. He played hockey in his youth, including the Ontario Hockey Association for the Windsor Spitfires, and the Barrie Flyers (now the Sudbury Wolves) Cherry would end up coaching in the NHL, winning the Jack Adams award, and later be a part owner of the Mississauga Icedogs when the team was founded in the late 1990s. He is also a national celebrity for his role on Coach's Corner which airs during the first intermission of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

During his segment, Cherry loyally devotes time to the men and women of the Canadian Armed forces, and dedicates time in his segment ot a memorial after each death of a serviceperson in the line of duty. He was also an avid supported of player Doug Gilmore, the coach of Cherry's hometown Kingston Frontenacs. It was inevitable that the two would come together and convince management of the Tribute to the Troops night.

The uniform itself is quite the busy work. A black and red plain pattern is laid down under a legion of details, all tributes to the unique style of Cherry's suits. The collar is a regular collar, while the rest of the uniform is an EDGE jersey, something not done before in any league. Details around the simple white collar reveal a fake, high collar, a signature of Cherry's suits.

On the right lapel is a poppy, symbolistic of Cherry's support of the military, the left having a faux pocket with white handkerchief visible. A possible faux paux adorned the lower portion of the front, with three vertical buttons, the Frontenacs primary "K" logo. Perhaps an oversight by the designers to have KKK on the front of the uniform, however the detail is small enough to escape notice by most.

the sleeves feature a white band to make the sleeve numbers more visible, and white cuffs with a simple cufflink at the end. The backs of the jersey are simple with few details. The CHL logo is off centre, another anomaly for an EDGE design, and the front of the uniform is also missing the OHL logo that the OHL places on them.  The Reebok vector however, maintains it's two place presence on the jersey.

While the whole design makes you wonder "What were they smoking?", you also must admire the guts to put this uniform out there. In order to celebrate and honour individuals, you need to do it in a way that brings a positive outlook onto it. Part of Don Cherry's charm are his flamboyant jackets on Coach's Corner. The Fronts' could have made a camouflage uniform, which has been done, and is completely tacky. THey could have done a nice honourable uniform, which while well played, would then lead to 'Why not on Remembrance Day?" What they went with is completely in tune with Kingston's identity, and brings a sence of self to the team, the fans, and most importantly attention to the night, a tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces Service people.

If only I had bid on one during the auction...

Until next time, Keep your stick on the ice.

- zer0dotcom

May 27, 2010

2010 Memorial Cup Uniforms - Brandon Wheat Kings


A little less than a week ago, the 2010 Memorial Cup wrapped up with the Windsor Spitfires winning their second consecutive Memorial Cup, the first team since the Kamloops Blazers did in the mid 1990's.

As was started with the Kitchener Rangers in 2008, the Brandon Wheat Kings brought a touch of class and Remembrance to the Tournament with special uniforms. CFB Shilo is the only military installation in Manitoba, and is located a scant 20 minutes from the Wheat Kings arena.

The uniform itself looks excellent, the various elements hiding the fact the team used the Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic template to build the design upon. Using black as the backdrop, the team used it's signature yellow to highlight the white stripes around the jersey. The front crest serves as the main identifier of the Canadian Forces tribute, the detailed red maple leaf adorned behind by crossed swords.

The crossed swords represent martyrdom, bringing in the element of Remembrance that the Memorial Cup itself celebrates. On the left chest in the place of the captaincy is a red poppy patch, placed where it would sit on a coat or lapel during early November. The "C" is moved to the left shoulder to make room.

The Wheat Kings primary logo adorns the right shoulder, while the now traditional 'Year Patch" (a small image of the Memorial Cup with the year displayed) sits on the left shoulder.

Brandon has done a superb job in creating a traditional yet suitable uniform as the hosts of the Cup Tournament. With the first season of EDGE uniforms in the CHL finished, it is not too far-fetched to believe that the CHL will re-introduce alternate uniforms for the 2010-2011 season. Already, several teams had worn altnates this year, including Kitchener, Regina, Mississauga, Sarnia, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert to name a few. Many were to commemorate the Olympic Torch relay in the winter, as well as some for Remembrance Day in November. With the exception of the Regina red Pit-bull uniform, most were well done. Sarnia has already unveiled their new alternate jersey with their first round pick in the OHL bantam draft, and will be featured in an upcoming article.

It gives some hope that the forth coming alternates in 2010-2011 will be better planed out than most of the NHL alternates that came to light in the second season on the NHL EDGE experiment. For now, Brandon managed to keep a growing traditional alive with a beautiful tribute jersey. The onus of carrying on that tradition now falls to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, the hosts of the 2011 Memorial Cup to carry on the tradition. If their 2009 Remembrance uniform is any indication, the tradition is in good hands.

'till next time, keep your stick on the ice.

-zer0dotcom

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