By Phil Hecken
Now that the excitement of the football season (how BOUT dem Giants???) has died down, we can turn our attention to other things, including a look at non-major sports, like hockey and curling. And we will. Because soon enough, the boys of summer will officially be reporting to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues en masse, and once again, all will be right with the world.
But until that time, we’re stuck in the doldrums between the Super Bowl and the start of spring training.
In a winter-that-hasn’t-really-been for much of the United States, spring seems closer than usual, at least here from my perch in the north-east. But it’s still winter and it’s still cold elsewhere. So for many of us, that means it’s Hockey TimE.
I’m back again with everyone’s favorite puck-tweaker, Tim E. O’Brien, who has graced us with some mighty fine concepts in the past. Based in part on reader requests, and with some nudging from me, Tim has a bunch of proposed uniforms for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, taking place a mere 24 months from now. So, kick back and take a look at the latest batch of hockey concept goodness from Mr. O’B:
Hockey TimE, Sochi Version
By Tim E. O’Brien
A few weeks back, after posting some defunct team redesigns, people started asking for my take on other teams, including national teams. With the Sochi games just a scant 24 months away (I know Teebz is counting down the days!) I decided to take some of the historically best national teams and come up with a few ideas.
What follows are my concepts. As usual, I don’t expect everyone to like everything. Some ideas are a bit unrealistic (Canada’s helmets) and some are just unpopular (checkerboard patterns on any team other than Croatia), but I tried to go a little outside my comfort zone on a few of these – and in one of those cases, I made Phil very happy: I made the home jerseys white. You’re welcome.
**NOTE: All helmets for all teams include the Sochi 2014 patch and all jerseys have each country’s Olympic Committee logo somewhere on the front (most on bottom left hem).
Using the new Canadian Olympic identity released late last year, I have meshed these new elements (the line extension leaf, the Stratum 1 font, etc.) onto classic, yet forward thinking, Canadian uniforms.
The uniforms feature the word “CANADA” (split into CAN and ADA) on top of the shoulders. In probably my most unique idea, all Canadian players will wear a helmet designed to mimic the provincial flag of their home province – a bit of individuality that still screams “Canada, United.”
The Czech Republic has a great hockey tradition and this uniform set hopes to evoke that tradition.
In previous Czech uniforms, some of the colors of their great crest have been excluded from the rest of the uniform designs, leading to a team with a weak identity and a look very similar to Russia.
By bringing in patterns and colors from the crest, this team – home or road is – clearly and unmistakably – Czech.
The Lions are currently the second ranked team in the world and these uniforms hope to raise their image to the level of their play.
While recent Finland unis have had red, yellow and even black in their color scheme, these classic uniforms stick to two shades of blue and white. SUOMI (Finnish for “Finland”) adorns the crest just above the iconic lion for which the team is named.
Some of Russia’s best, most dominant hockey teams weren’t technically Russian – they were USSR/CCCP teams. Since that winning tradition shouldn’t be ignored (the USSR players didn’t kill anybody… probably…) I bring a CCCP feel to these Russian unis.
By incorporating blue (along with the Russian hockey logo) into an old school commie jersey, I tried to combine modern Russian patriotism with historical Russian hockey dominance. I kept both home and road helmets red, as was tradition back in the day.
Since The Sochi games are in Russia, the flag on the helmets is outlined in gold to symbolize Olympic excellence and their Olympic committee logo is on their upper right chest.
While the Slovaks placed fourth in Vancouver, they have hit a rough patch as of recent, sliding as low as 10th in the rankings. With this design, I attempted to give the Slovakian team a fresh start with a new, modern look.
When Czechoslovakia broke up, the Czechs got red and the Slovaks got blue. That being the case, I have kept blue as the dominant color. I obviously took some design elements from a certain Pennsylvanian hockey club but I believe that these unis stand on their own, especially given their uniquely Slovakian pants.
The Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) have a beautiful hockey history, in both play and in dress. In Sochi, Sweden takes the ice with a traditional yet modern uniform.
The Tre Kronor now have Tre stripes on the sleeves, socks and hem. The crowns on the uni – just like the numeral font – are both classically shaped but also have very sharp angles and narrow strokes. This defines a team that is both sharp in play and strong in tradition.
When I think of Switzerland, I think of modernism and minimalism (and also that one scene from Cool Runnings). With that in mind, I have created a minimalistic and modern uni set.
The jerseys and socks are exclusively in the colors of the Swiss flag: Red and white. The white cross from the flag remains white even on the home whites, keeping just a small red outline to preserve the image. The numeral and name font is, of course, Helvetica – the ultimate modernist font. As you may or may not know, Helvetica was produced in Switzerland and and is Latin for “Swiss”. The only font that seemed appropriate for this modern Swiss set was THE Swiss font.
Saving the best for last: America. The American team has a proud storied tradition in Olympic hockey including a couple gold medals and many a silver – including in Vancouver two years ago. Combine all those past great teams, I have created a new uni set that still honors the teams of the past.
Both jerseys combine elements from the ’60s, ’80s and ’00s. The striping on both is inspired from the ’60s, the red pants with white stripes is reminiscent of the ’80s and the arched USA script on the road blues are taken from the more recent USA incarnations.
Well, that’s my attempt at nation building, hockey style. Hopefully people like ’em and nations take notice (one of those is likelier than the other…). Until next time, happy tweaking.
Thanks Tim. Great concepts. I’m particularly fond of your Czech Republic treatment, but they’re all great. OK readers — what say you?
by Rick Pearson
Those guys from Blotto Bar will stop at nothing…
And, as always, the full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
And so, lets begin:
We start with Tony Tengwall who loves him some
losing Minnesota football:
I love my Minnesota teams, even though they repeatedly crush my soul year after year, but what really bugs me is that they look like crap while they do it. If they looked better, it wouldn’t hurt so bad. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ve been playing around a little bit and this is what I came up with:
Vikings Home: I love when the Vikes wear their throwbacks, so I went with a similar look, but gave them gold pants with nice stripes. The stripes they wear now are horrible. I also added the stripe to the helmet, and threw their “V” logo on the chest and pants. I threw in purple socks for some contrast, I think the whole thing looks pretty nice.
Vikings Away: Pretty much the same concept as the home jersey, but I switched the stripe pattern, went with Purple pants. I’m not sure if I love the gold socks, but I think they’re better than purple socks with purple pants. There are a few other little differences, the color of the V on the pants and the belt buckle, but overall, I think it looks pretty good.
Vikings Alternate: This is my favorite design of the three. It looks a lot like LSU, but hey, those jerseys are beautiful, so why not? Something about the white helmet with the “V” just feels right. Maybe it’s because they’ve never really changed their helmets. I added shoulder stripes and moved the TV numbers down, and added the “V” on the top of the shoulders. The white pants tie in with the helmet, and I can say I would feel alright watching them lose in this uniform.
We built them one of the nicest stadiums in the country, then we continue to run them out each week looking like clowns. These designs aren’t great, but they’re better than most that they’ve worn the past 10 years or so. I’m not sure I enjoy the maroon helmet, but I do like the look of the white ones. I really enjoy the alternate design, with the gold and white, with just a hint of maroon. For some reason, it reminds me of a classic, old style uniform from the 60’s, even though I wasn’t around then.
Next up is Matt(hew) Harris. Did you ever wonder if Seattle had a hockey team and they called it the Super Sonics? Me neither, but here we go anyway:
With Phoenix moving, and the pacific northwest seeing to be a logical move if they expand within the US, I thought it would be cool if a seattle nhl franchise honored the basketball team that was run out of town.
We close today with Blake Pass, who wants to knockahoma with the Braves:
I think that the Braves need a “true” alternate. As of right now, they have kept the standard wordmark for both home and away alternate jerseys. I’ve decided to change that up a bit. This jersey can be worn at home or away.
The second tweak is what I believe the home cap should look like. The standard cap has always looked awkward to me with the plain white “A” on a red and navy cap. All I did was add a simple red outline outside of a navy outline.
And that concludes today’s tweaks. Check back tomorrow for more.
UW Gathering & Curling: Last week, Paul posted this regarding the 2012 Curling Nationals, which segues into our next Uni Watch Gathering:
The 2012 USA Curling Nationals will take place later this month slightly outside of Philadelphia, and Phil and I have decided to head on down for the semi-finals and finals, which will take place on Feb. 17 and 18. Several people I know will be competing: Dean Gemmell, who gave me and Phil our first curling lessons, is part of the fifth-seeded team; Craig Brown, who was my skip two years ago when I participated in the House of Hearts bonspiel, is skipping the second-seeded team; and Tyler George, who invited me to come to House of Hearts in the first place, is skipping the top-seeded team. If they all make the semi-finals, I’m gonna have a hard time deciding who to root for. Anyway, if anyone wants to join us, tickets are very inexpensive.
After the finals, we’ll repair to the Devil’s Den for a Uni Watch gathering — hope all Philly-area readers will join us there on Feb. 18, 6:30pm.
The Opening Ceremonies of the Curling Nationals begin today at 2:30 and the first round of curling gets underway at 4:30. I will have more on this tomorrow. Paul and I will be heading down for the semis on Friday and the Finals next Saturday. If you want to follow along with any of the action, webstreaming throughout the event will be featured courtesy of USA Curling’s involvement with the 12th End Sports Network. Live scoring and a stats package also will be incorporated into the coverage courtesy of Gerry Geurts of CurlingZone.
Hope to see you in Philadelphia — the last time Paul & I roadtripped and he hosted a gathering (in Minnesota in 2010), we had a tremendous turnout. We’ll see you next Saturday night at the Devil’s Den.
OK folks, that is going to be it for today. Had a hellish week at work, my dog is having some health problems, and I gotta work a portion of today as well, so thanks to Tim E. for coming through with an nice set of concepts for the 2014 Olympics, and of course to Ricko and the concepters. Back with a bigger and better post tomorrow.
“Well, you say, neither is blue an Italian national color. The Italians are allowed to do that; the Germans aren’t. Nor are the English allowed to wear blue, by the way. Blue is Scotland’s color.” — Conn Nugent