Crack is Whack
by Michele Christopher

I’ve been watching a lot more hockey this season* thanks to the NHL Centre Ice satellite package that I can now write off. It’s a nice change, being able to see games that are not in my market, instead of finding out the scores and following the assorted torrid happenings on-line.

I just have one, simple question…

When did the team logo designers start doing crack WHILE they were designing?

Have you seen the Buffalo Sabres new logo? It’s a comma, an angry one; but who can really blame it.

The old (old) logo was a fine, if boring a charging buffalo about to decapitate itself, over crossed sabers, hence the team name.

Then they updated the logo and used jut the buffalo head. Gave him some kick ass horns, taught him how to use the blow-dryer settled him on a pool of blood and gave him a glowing red eye (okay not REALLY glowing, but stare at it for a moment and tell me he’s not going to kill you…). It looks good on white, it looks good on black, and it’s a simple design that is easily recognizable.

sabres1.jpg sabresnewer.jpgsabresold.jpg

One night, while smoking the cheap crack (probably from Canada) some guy had a bad trip and was attacked by punctuation. It’s the only possible explanation for the new logo. Sure it still has the glowing red eye and they’ve gone back to the first logo’s colour scheme, but come on! It’s a horrid yellow that, on white, looks like a mustard stain and on black, looks like a squashed bug. It’s small so it’s hard to see any definition from the stands or, more importantly, on TV. He looks like he’s trying to escape, not to maim the opposing team, but to exact revenge on its creators. Guess who I’m rooting for.

Sometimes though, the designers get it right. Take the Phoenix Coyotes (please!) for example…

coyotes.jpg coyotes2.jpg

The old logo was a mess, some kind of mammal with a triangular head, and a phantom goalie mask on that probalby isn’t legal. It’s very artsy – I’m sure all the retirees in Arizona love him; he does fit their décor after all. Too many colours, too busy and it’s just ugly.

New management et voila! Three colours, easy to spot in the stands and on TV, an easily recognizable design. Scary animal! With teeth! Howling at the moon to give you the 10 second warning before it opens up a can of canine whoop ass on you. The Coyotes have the right logo, too bad they don’t seem to have the right team. Maybe they can switch with buffalo? Probably wouldn’t work. Don’t tell Bettman.

Speaking of my favourite whipping boy; the NHL itself got a new logo, well an updated one anyway. Did you notice?

NHL Logos (new & old).jpg

Last summer I was “lucky” enough to hear Bettman speak at the International Trademark conference in Toronto** where he explained the reasoning behind the changes to the shield. I have paraphrased.

1. The colour was changed to silver to match the Stanley Cup.

2. It was also given a 3D look to suggest the NHL’s rising from the ashes of the lockout/strike. Just kidding – the 3D look was also inspired by the Stanley Cup. It’s meant to mimic the tiered rings that serve as the Cup’s base.

3. Instead of pointing downwards, the NHL insignia now points upwards – towards the future (seriously). It’s meant to show that the NHL is a forward thinking and moving organizations.

The design works because it doesn’t fool with tradition, it enhances it.

A lesson for all teams thinking of fooling with their logos. Learn from the mistakes of the Sabres (and the Bruins with their ugly third jersey).

Now I want to know about your favourite hits and misses. What team logo makes you want to go out and buy it? Which one makes you want to burn it?

* Next week’s column will be a round up of the first few weeks of the season – I promise. You all should let me know if there are any teams in particular that you want me to rant on. I can work myself into a frenzy over almost anything, I’m lucky that way.

** Yeah, my life rules. Hockey follows me even to my day job.

Deb is apparently taking her medimication this week. She promises that this (will probably) be the last time she talks clothes in this column. Jock straps, however, are still fair game.



i always hated the Maple Leafs. I loved always loved the team, but man, a blue leaf? That's pretty lame. I have followed these guys for a long time and grrrrrrrrrrrr we aren't going to talk about it, but I think they need a new logo. Screw tradition.

And contrary to the authors beliefs, the Mighty Ducks have a cool name and a cool logo.

it's an angry duck.

see, that's just cool


let me clarify

I love the team, but hate the design. It just looks kinda lame.


I just wish the Kings could learn how to pass the puck. Somehow they beat Phoenix tonight, I attribute it to my whiskey guzzling.


The sabres new logo looks like an angry hamster.


I like all the old school logos. I don't like it when they change them too much or add those alternate jerseys. I think the alternate jerseys are jinxed. It seems like any time a team wears the 3rd jeresy, something bad happens. Plus I know it's just a ploy to make you want to buy another peice of team gear.

I was very glad to see The Bruins hang on for the win in their home opener against Calgary. The 3rd period was fast and furious.


Turtle - I like the leaf, not so much the team, but the logo works. I also like the old style "fuzzy" version though. What else could they use?

Mark - The kings logo is starting to look cartoonie don't you think? (and don't worry about the passing, soon they will be playing to Jr. A level and shooting at the net too...)

Michele - HA! totally. Actually upon further inspection it looks like, well, hurling. Someone is throwing up a buffalo head...

Ernie - I'm with you on the olds school logos, you know, unless they suck. Third jerseys are totally a money grab, but sometimes (like in the case of the Ottawa Senators) the 3rd jersey design becomes the main one.

I like Calgary's third jersey, but that's about it.


The Carolina Hurricanes logo is pretty cool, a slightly more psychotic rendering of the actual hurricane symbol. It works.


Let's not forget the stars third jersey which has since been retired. (My aunt bought me this one.) The Bulls head on the logo was supposed to provide a texan feel while tying into the constellation Taurus. Taurus is made of stars, get it "stars?" In short, everyone hated it. the design looked like a big uterus so much so that fans would refer to the jersey as the stars' "moo-terus" jersey. It was a bad idea.


The perfect Maple Leaf jersey:


eXTReMe Tracker