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    Colorado Avalanche, Idaho Steelheads, Portland Pirates (RIP)

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  1. I think what did Idaho in was travel. Much like Edmonton and Calgary, I think Seattle ultimately chose to put their farm team in Southern California because it places their prospects near a major hub (LAX) and close to their divisional opponents for call-ups on the road. That being said, I agree it's a shame. Maybe in a few more years...we'll see.
  2. By way of an illustration, I put together a quick mockup of the new 2019 Buffalo with a little rhinoplasty. Obviously I'm biased, but it seems like just a few simple tweaks to the contours of the face makes a huge difference. The buffalo has been without a fully formed nose for 50 years a poor mammal out! Edit: Just to clarify, these are both modifications of the 2019 logo (one with nostril, one without). I prefer the one with, but I wanted to demonstrate that even without the additional detail, the contours of the profile could be changed in such a way to provide a more prominent nose.
  3. For the most part I really appreciate the improvements made in the 2019 logo. The legs are vasty improved by the sharper contours (although I wish the tail would have received a similar treatment). Unfortunately the new design doubles down on the truly dreadful rendering of the buffalo's nose and the removal of the nostril (while totally understandable from a streamlining perspective) ends up making the buffalo look like Lord Voldemort. If they could make that one change I feel like the overall design would be improved significantly.
  4. So a few things to clarify on the discussion about "promotion" and "relegation" between the AHL and ECHL. Prior to the Colorado Eagles the conversation was a little easier as the movement of teams was a bit more transparent. Case in point: The Kings owned both the Manchester Monarchs and the Ontario Reign. As part of a larger and coordinated move the Kings swapped the locations of their two franchises. That same off season the Ducks forced the sale of the Norfolk Admirals and moved the franchise to San Diego. The local ownership in Norfolk then went out and obtained an ECHL franchise and called it the Admirals. The Colorado Eagles muddy this somewhat as they use the term "promotion" when talking about the organization and lay claim to the entire history of the team starting in the defunct Central Hockey League. However, from a purely franchise perspective the team that plays in Loveland is the 2018 AHL expansion franchise awarded to the Colorado Avalanche and operated by the former owners of the ECHL Colorado Eagles. The point being that if Boise was to become Seattle's farm team it would require an AHL franchise. Based on the current ownership trends in the AHL this would most likely mean Seattle purchasing an existing team or obtaining one through expansion. Whether the current Steelheads ownership has any involvement from that point on depends entirely on what Seattle negotiates. They could just as easily buy the Steelheads, move them somewhere else, and call the new AHL team the Spuds if they wanted. In other words the talk about promotion and relegation is just organizational slight of hand. The names, branding, and hostory are retained between organizations in order to take advantage of an existing fan base and brand equity. If Boise gets and AHL team and they are called the Steelheads it will be because the parent organization of the AHL team determines it's beneficial to promoting the team.
  5. Fun fact: that design/branding was *also* done by Brandiose (although they were still going by Plan B at that time). I agree though, in terms of concept and connection to the region, the Craftsman/Art Decco look is the best they've ever had... although the grizzly rendering hasn't aged particularly well.
  6. Noted. Without straying too much farther into the danger zone, I think it's worth noting that these questions about appropriation and authenticity are likely weighing on the Seattle group as well, and much like the potential asthetic overlap with Vancouver, there's likely lots of debate taking place on the merrits and drawbacks of a wide range of approaches. While there seems to be a strong interest here in seeing a team fully commit to an indigenous based brand, I wonder if the rumors about a "water-related" mascot might signal a brand that is more in line with the Mariners than the Seahawks. It could be interesting to see a team adopting maritime inspired design as part of their brand... something that feels a bit more "weathered". Ultimately it's going to be interesting to compare Seattle's branding to Vegas's. There doesn't appear to be a Foley-like figure in the organization, which leads me to think that whatever choices Seattle makes will be thoroughly researched and tested. Whether that results in a better brand remains to be seen, but I highly doubt we'll see anything approaching the controversy surrounding the Knights.
  7. That's a valid concern, but I think the Seattle organization has the potential to execute an indigenous-based identity far better than Vancouver has. The fact that Vancouver has added so many logos in the past decade that fall outside that particular design aesthetic suggests to me that it's not seen as central to their brand. Yes, at the end of the day their primary is heavily influenced by indigenous design, but I think a person would be hard pressed to make the argument that they own it. Maybe a better question to ask is to what extent is the indigenous design aesthetic synonymous with Seattle? Does the community have a strong enough affinity for that aesthetic to the point that it outweighs any potential confusion and/or brand dilution that might occur with Vancouver?
  8. Considering that the rival in question has re-branded several times in its 40+ year history and has toyed with rebranding again in the last ten years, I'd argue that Seattle could soon have the "indigenous" look all to itself in the not too distant future. Who knows, maybe Seattle horning in on the aesthetic will be all the incentive Vancouver needs to finally commit to a Johnny Canuck based identity. That being said, when I hear "water themed" and "indigenous art" it's difficult to imagine how a brand based on a name like Sockeyes could successfully distinguish itself from the current Canucks identity.
  9. The name isn't entirely made up as there's such a thing as pig iron, which is an unprocessed form of iron. It's not a huge stretch to go from pig iron to iron pigs. That being said, it's hard not to look at Lehigh Valley in the light of Brandiose's more recent work and wonder if this was the start of their descent into the absurd.
  10. Were they actually referred to as "sod poodles" or is that just Brandiose brand free association a-la Baby Cakes?
  11. I think think they could have gone with Sod Dogs and had better buy in from the community. It's one thing to go with an odd or obscure aspect of local culture, but at this point I'm pretty sure Brandiose just pulls adjectives and animals out of a hat.
  12. This man is a GD American hero. Here's hoping others follow suit and start using the power of trademark registration to keep Brandiose in check. I'm all for novelty and experimentation, but we passed that point years ago.
  13. Agreed. Not only that, but massive wildfires are projected to increase in frequency and severity going forward. While California gets a lot of attention due to the number of people effected by fires, the entire west experiences frequent (and devastating) wildfires. It's worth noting that we've already seen one sports brand emerge from this new wildfire reality: the Arizona Hot Shots of the AAF, and it would not surprise me to see more going forward (Smokejumpers anyone?). However, I would argue that the days of fire-related brands (especially relating to wild fires), being "safe" is probably coming to an end. Then again, we've managed to have Hurricanes and Quakes at various levels of sports without incident, so it's possible this will blow over as well.
  14. The Winter Classic was an improvement only because they did away with the grey outline and went all the way back to the original logo. There's still a great deal about the original that would benefit from some refinement. While not perfect, the crossed sabres logo from 2000 - 2006 was a great start towards a more contemporary version of the buffalo and cross sabres's a real shame that it was cast aside in the transition to the buffaslug. While I agree that the current Maple Leafs logo was as well executed as one could hope for, I don't think it was the right move for the organization or the brand as a whole. Obviously this is just the opinion of one person (who is not a Leafs fan), but I find text in logos to be a huge crutch that has become largely superfluous as sports brands exist on an increasingly international stage. I have similar feelings about the New York Rangers, and it was something that really frustrated me about the roundel fad at the turn of the decade. If you have to literally spell everything out in your logo, perhaps that's a sign that it's not communicating as effectively as it could. Ultimately the Maple Leafs have decided to double down on that aspect of their identity, and if that's something that they want to make a key part of their identity, so be it. That being said, the blue maple leaf is a powerful icon all on its own. Why not embrace Toronto's identity as a global city by making the Maple Leafs a global brand, something that transcends language and borders?
  15. Great points. Having spent much of my life in New England I have seen the quasi-religious fervor that some brands can become invested with. At the same time we're not dealing with religions or nations, but privately owned corporate entities that can be bought, sold, moved, or folded. What's more, these entities participate in an incredibly volatile and unpredictable industry in which an organization's success or failure can come down to the bounce of a ball. To what degree does a team's performance and history outweigh the quality of a design? The Hartford Whalers are a great example. By just about any metric the team itself was a failure, but the design continues to persist. One could argue that the logo was their single greatest accomplishment as an organization. Meanwhile you have their successor organization winning a Stanley Cup and choosing to wear the Whalers old uniforms. Sports branding is a strange creature indeed.