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Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (20/20 Vancouver Voodoo)


Edubdesign
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For a brief time in the 90s, roller hockey became a legitimate North American pro sport. Roller Hockey International signed up some prominent former NHLers to play and coach, a national broadcast deal with ESPN, deals with several NHL arenas sitting vacant in the summer months and created something weird and special. The league didn't last all that long, but thankfully that ESPN footage - lots of it - still survives on Youtube.

 

I found one of those videos not that long ago and I was fascinated. I couldn't believe how fast the play was, how different and yet so similar it was to normal ice hockey and how unapologetically weird the teams, names, logos and uniforms were. Everything about this league was peak 90s.

 

With the summer in full swing, I got to thinking what a roller hockey league would look like if it played over the summer, attracting some older free agents and guys who grew up playing roller to do what they love and get a paycheck for it. That inspired... this.

 

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This is the RHL, hockey at its fastest, brightest, tackiest and most absurd. It's a 20-team loop, with some teams that borrow names from their RHI ancestors and plenty of new identities. I hope you enjoy it.

 

We'll start with the West Coast conference, a five-team division based mostly out of California, and one of the original RHI juggernauts: The Anaheim Bullfrogs. For many of the teams with roots in the 90s, the main task is to update the branding and bring it into the 21st century while keeping that 90s weirdness. That's part of the plan here, along with a throwback 3rd jersey.

 

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Lemme know what you think, what you might want to see, what you wanna know. I'm here to supply the weird and I hope yall are interested.

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On 6/23/2021 at 7:05 PM, neo_prankster said:

You're off to a nice start, but I'd work on the frog's face a little more.

You know what? You're right. It's not a great frog. I whipped up a different image, tracing off the original Bullfrogs logo. I made some small adjustments, beefed up the linework and added some new, modern touches. Here it is.hMpJFRo.pngnfR3ed9.png

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The updates that you made to that frog primary are amazing, really great example of refining something for the better. The added perspective and detail goes a long way!

 

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This is gonna be fun! Off to an excellent start with the Bullfrogs, especially after the logo revision. The jerseys themselves look great (I'm digging the name/number font), and definitely fit the bill for a unique, more "unusual" roller hockey look as compared to traditional ice hockey, but with an appropriately contemporary look about them as well. The full-length pants helped you out with the color balance on the white jersey; it's nice that you were able to leave the striping the same as on the home jersey, and just change the shoulder yoke and still keep enough green.

 

I'm not a huge fan of the RHL collar logo being so big and extending so far below the collar; it breaks up the shoulder yoke in a way that doesn't really sit right with me. Though it could also just be that gray isn't the best choice of color for it, since the gold on the throwback 3rd works better, and I certainly don't think it's worth changing the entire template over! I also just noticed that each jersey has a different tagline on the back hem; they're all really clever, and while I'm still going back and forth over whether I like them actually being on the jerseys, it's definitely a very "quirky roller hockey" thing to do, so I'm leaning towards saying it works!

 

I remember the brief shining moment that roller hockey had in the '90s... It wasn't RHI, but my family attended a bunch of games one season (just checked, it was Major League Roller Hockey in 1997), and it was a blast. Scoring was absurdly high, I remember chanting "dou-ble di-gits" with some regularity, and I have vague memories of some zamboni/retail-store-floor-cleaner-machine hybrid, which I truly hope is a real memory and not something my imagination is making up because it's hilarious.

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Seems like Anaheim went over well, so let's continue through the West Coast division to Las Vegas.

 

Back in the RHI days, Las Vegas actually had two teams - the Flash and the Coyotes, each for one season. The Flash went out of business and the Coyotes crashed out when the league went bust, so I figured neither brand was really worth tagging on to. So, I came up with a new one - the Las Vegas Gamblers.

 

Logo is a riff on the Las Vegas sign, there is a poker chip motif throughout the design and the alternate is designed to resemble (in an abstract way) a desert sunrise.

 

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (2/20 Las Vegas Gamblers)

I love that third jersey; I've always enjoyed seeing (and using in my own concepts) that style of "faux-gradient." Home and away are great too; I'm a big fan of how the sleeve striping looks, and the number font is really nice.

 

The biggest thing I'd suggest revisiting would be the color balance on the white jersey. The black pants help, but even so, the uniform still feels a little red-heavy. I don't have an immediate solution off the top of my head, but using the striping pattern from the arms for the waist stripes, and maybe even for the shoulder yoke, could possibly yield some results. Honestly, the jersey might have enough red just from the logo and the numbers that a black hem and shoulders could still be balanced enough, especially if you add that little red accent stripe from the arms to other parts of the jersey. Or maybe even experiment with also swapping the red and gold, for a thicker red stripe between the white and the black, and the thin accent in gold? This is all just brainstorming, though; maybe they're good ideas, maybe they're not!

 

I'd also consider thickening the gold border around the "LV" circles on the third jersey, just a touch; I feel like it's just a little thin to properly separate the black stripes from the black logo, and looks a little awkward.

 

Ultimately, though, this is all really small stuff (even if I spent a fair amount of words on it). At the end of the day this is another solid team identity!

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Next up is the third of five West Coast teams and another RHI team coming back - the Los Angeles Blades.

 

The Blades were one of the RHI's charter franchises, playing out of the Great Western Forum like the Lakers and Kings did at the time. Jeanie Buss owned the team. It was one of the first teams the league even had. Southern California is prime roller hockey country - some of the best players going are from the area originally. The name needed to come back, but the logo and design, which has dated horribly since the early 90s, needed a change.

 

When you think of "blades", the first thing that comes to mind are jagged edges, cuts, sharp things - not exactly "roller blades", which is what kinda should come to mind, but still something that translates well visually. Using a jagged, angular design, my own take on that "LA" wordmark that every other sports franchise seems to love to use  and taking advantage of the fact that "blades" contains an "LA"... it all makes too much sense.

 

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (3/20 Los Angeles Blades)

Team four of the West Coast division is the San Jose Rhinos. The third (and final) RHI identity to move on to the new league in the division, this one's also got some feelings of the 90s, inspired by their old jerseys while going modern.

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (4/20 San Jose Rhinos)

Last team in the West Coast division is up in Seattle. Seattle never had an RHI team (though Portland did, weirdly) so here's a chance to start a fresh brand.

 

Here is the Seattle Grunge.

 

We're going full 1992 here, with a flannel jersey and screen printing on the pants (and alternate) to look like old denim. The logo combines a treble clef and an "S" and "G" monogram - which seems like something somebody else really should have found by now, but hey. The alternate is full-on Canadian tuxedo, double denim and looking cool as all hell in the process.

 

This one is maybe my personal fave out of all these designs - I hope you like it as much as I do. We'll get going with another division next week.

 

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (5/20 Seattle Grunge)

So far this has been an interesting series... I'm not a big fan of most '90s aesthetics, so but you've kept this *just* an inch from the boundary of my taste range. Maybe that's appropriate for roller hockey!

 

For a different sport or league, I don't think I'd like it, but for this context I think Seattle Grunge is actually a pretty good name! The plaid AND denim idea is unique and I'm surprised that it works, so good job. Also quite like the treble clef as both an S & a G.

My main problem is that I could never get over the idea of a red team for Seattle, so I'd probably appreciate it a lot more if you were to make a version with double green plaid instead of double red...

Trying to put the color scheme aside, I think the jerseys still have some color *balancing* concerns. The away jersey desperately needs some blue; maybe as the away yoke instead of maroon, or as blue hems below the striping on all the jerseys.

Relatedly, the all-blue third feels so top heavy because of the placement of maroon; I'd replace the red sleeve blocks with maroon and just make red a trim color.

Finally, the treble clef's line weight is a bit thin compared to the font, so the R really overpowers the wordmark.

 

The Rhinos look good; nice level of fauxback-ness. Really, my only thing is that the gray stripes on the home & away feels out of place; you could honestly just ditch them for white. The gray jersey is perfect, though.

 

Despite being further into in the aggressive-animal style I'm not usually a fan of, the update to Anaheim's logo is a big upgrade. Good call separating green and purple. I think I'd like the jerseys even more if they used the redder, less saturated shade of purple you used for the logo.

 

Totally agree with @WLD42 about Vegas's color balancing; I'd love to see less red and more black. I don't mind phantom yokes, so that might be the solution for matching the home with a black-yoked away. The third is probably the best jersey in the series so far; it's *just* on the right side of the line with legibility, IMO, and the single outlines really appeal to me more than the many outlines on the home & away.

 

LA's jerseys are pretty cool, and I like that blue third. I like the idea, but I guess I'm a bit too square, so I wonder if the logo would benefit from some horizontal base to ground it.

 

Anyways, good work here!

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I really enjoy the more obscure series like this one, you get so many unique concepts and a sandbox for designers to really experiment without having to honor popular historical brands. The Seattle Grunge might be my favorite so far! It fits really well with what I remember this league being about. The Blades is looking like a cool design too .I'd agree with what some others have said about color balancing, but overall this has been enjoyable so far.

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Moving on now to what I call the American division, consisting of Buffalo, Detroit, Miami, Philly and Washington, DC. Here is the only pre-existing RHI identity of the five teams there - the amazingly named Buffalo Wings.

 

No, this team wasn't named after the food - at least, not directly. Their original logo was a pterodactyl and they used purple and lime green colours.

 

I like that as a base, so I made a new twist on that logo, modernized the logo and (for the heck of it) made a literal buffalo wing alternate (drums over flats all day, don't @ me)

 

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (6/20 Buffalo Wings)

I'm really liking the LA Blades identity; the logo is definitely the centerpiece of that brand, which is high praise for a wordmark logo, but that "LA" is a stroke of genius. The jersey/pants combo stripe is just weird enough for the RHL on an otherwise somewhat conservative jersey. I like the idea of the third jersey, but the "phantom" effect of the jersey/pants stripe with one color removed isn't quite doing it for me; it may be more fun to just go with an entirely different jersey design.

 

I'll admit to not researching how much of the Rhinos identity is original and how much of it is a carryover from the real-life franchise, but I love everything about your concept other than the logo. The colors and the striping are fantastic, but something about the logo looks more "corporate" than "athletic" to me, that I can't quite figure out how to put into words. Maybe it needs to have more motion to it, and/or it could use just a little bit of a nudge towards detail and away from thick lines and blocky shapes? I'm not a logo designer, so I'm just trying to figure out the reason for what's ultimately a gut feeling. I also agree with the other comment that the name/number font is a little tough on the eyes.

 

The Seattle Grunge is just a fantastic RHL identity. I'm definitely getting VGK vibes in the sense of "knowing exactly what we are and what we're trying to be, and leaning into it 110% and embracing the tackiness." Not much feedback other than that; it's not the most serious identity, but it's a lot of fun.

 

And the Buffalo Wings are yet another great concept. Somehow, having a ton of different shades of each of the two colors still manages to actually work. I have sort of the same critique of the logo as I did of the Rhinos logo; it's at least got a nice feeling of motion to it, but the shape of the head (and to a lesser degree the wings) feels a little off. I love the number font, but the detail-oriented side of me wants to know, how would a single-digit player number be done? And I'm getting hungry just looking at that third; maybe it'll have the same effect on opponents? Awesome work! This series continues to be a ton of fun.

 

 

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Sooo... remember when I said this would be, "hockey at its fastest, brightest, tackiest and most absurd"?

 

Here's exhibit A - the Miami Flamingos.

 

I think this can almost speak for itself but yeah - Miami Vice colours, gradients, a logo I made up for a project years ago that I still like and upcycled for this and a strong, locally-based theme running through the whole set. The alternate logo is based on the logo used for Miami Vice, too.

 

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  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (7/20 Miami Flamingos)
  • Edubdesign changed the title to Roller Hockey League - reinventing the wheel. (20/20 Vancouver Voodoo)

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