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A couple weeks ago, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole. I was browsing through hockey jerseys on Depop, and I stumbled upon the most '90s hockey jersey I've ever seen — an old Detroit Vipers jersey. I'd never heard of the Vipers or the IHL that the team was a part of, so I did some digital digging on the history of the International Hockey League and the teams that played in it. Succinctly stated, it was a longstanding and historical hockey league that experienced a boom in the '90s, and produced some of the gaudiest, 1990s-est looks hockey has ever seen, and I absolutely love all of it. I've attached some of my personal favorite jerseys from the IHL in the spoiler below, if you want to see what I'm talking about.

Spoiler

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If it wasn't already clear, I absolutely adore '90s-era hockey design. The crazy colors, far-out designs, and willingness to experiment with the boundaries of traditional sports design are all wonderful, and are things I wanted to revive in a modern context. Which gave me the idea to do exactly that and modernize a handful of those '90s IHL identities for the current day.

 

Enough talk. Here's the team that inspired this series, the Detroit Vipers!

ul7bWLD.png

 

The design of these jerseys is simple, and is more out-there than the actual jerseys worn by the Vipers. The curved striping is inspired by the curved tail of a snake, and the red stripe on the light and dark jerseys is filled in with a sublimated snakeskin pattern. The alternate jersey was designed with the intention of including yellow more prominently than the primary jerseys do, while also maintaining an experimental 90s-esque striping pattern.

 

What do you think of the first team? Is the design '90s enough for you?

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21 hours ago, Blindsay said:

Will there be Logo Redesigns too?

 

Yes and no. Some teams will have tweaked primaries, some teams will have new secondary logos, and some teams will have recolored logos. I didn't want to completely rebuild each team's brand, so most of the logos are more or less the same from the originals. The next team is a good example of that:

J0oXtpi.png

 

There may be some hometown bias here, but after digging into the various identities of IHL teams, the Denver Grizzlies easily became my favorite. They may have been named after a bear that's been extinct in Colorado since the '50s and had an admittedly ugly logo taboot, but I fell in love with their jerseys. The strange, sublimated claw mark on the waist, the same claw marks on the numbers, and the unique color scheme all drew me in. With these jerseys, I tried to maintain the somewhat classically styled look the team had, while updating it and truly making it unique. The original jerseys used a weird teal color rather than a true forest green, which was rectified here. I also introduced a touch of brown to the striping, in order to round out the look. The claw marks remain on the waist and numbers, and a new secondary mark is introduced to the shoulders. The alternate is just a more all-out take on the clawmark striping, and I think it looks pretty sharp.

 

How about you? What do you think of these sweaters?

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I think they are nice, the green and the golden brown work well together and the clawmarks on the numbers look really 90s. The alt with it's claw marks is great, but if all the alts are going to be the same base colour as either the light or the dark, I think that's a bit of a missed opportunity, as the alt would look great green with black clawmarks separated by white. Also, a feature as awesome as clawmarks should be on all the numbers, it is just too good to leave off.

Really looking forward to more 90s style sweaters, should be awesome.

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Up next is the Houston Aeros! They're one of my favorite IHL brands due to how solid the team's identity was despite being so far out of the box by traditional hockey standards. As a result, I tried to modernize their jerseys more than redesign them, which resulted in a few significant tweaks. Here's what I did with the Aeros:

hdB3q2G.png

 

First and foremost, the logo is a little tweaked from the way it appeared at first. The wordmark is straightened out and cleaned up, and the eye on the plane is redesigned to give a fiercer, more intimidating look. In addition, red is introduced to the color palette, rather than looking out of place on the shoulders and logo. The jersey striping is sharper and more angular, too, to match the cleaned up and modernized vibe. The alternate jersey is a direct throwback to the 1974 Houston Aeros, who were the World Hockey Association's second ever Avco Cup Champions.

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6 hours ago, DTConcepts said:

Up next is the Houston Aeros! They're one of my favorite IHL brands due to how solid the team's identity was despite being so far out of the box by traditional hockey standards. As a result, I tried to modernize their jerseys more than redesign them, which resulted in a few significant tweaks. Here's what I did with the Aeros:

hdB3q2G.png

 

First and foremost, the logo is a little tweaked from the way it appeared at first. The wordmark is straightened out and cleaned up, and the eye on the plane is redesigned to give a fiercer, more intimidating look. In addition, red is introduced to the color palette, rather than looking out of place on the shoulders and logo. The jersey striping is sharper and more angular, too, to match the cleaned up and modernized vibe. The alternate jersey is a direct throwback to the 1974 Houston Aeros, who were the World Hockey Association's second ever Avco Cup Champions.

Um......Taking a note from Post2Post. Maybe ditch the point down striping on the home and away. You can keep the striping but I'd ditch the pointy part in the center.

Apart from that. If Bettman's Desert Baby relocates to Houston. This is what I want. 

 

Are there plans to do the SF Spiders or did they dissolve too late

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I appreciate the kind words! This next team was fun to play with, especially considering their IHL identity endured the better part of 20 years after the team's founding, and is still somewhat in use today. Up next is the Cincinatti Cyclones!

IoMBBGP.png

 

The Cyclones have such a fun identity. Their logo is cartoonish but charming, their color scheme is nothing but '90s, and their IHL jerseys featured a subtly fun angular striping pattern that added just enough flair to make it interesting. I essentially ran with their IHL look and maximized it, moving the striping closet to the center of the waist and tweaking it to match the angle of the logo's triangle. I also put some more color into the jerseys to keep it interesting, and used a fun, comic-book-esque font for the team.

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On 7/19/2022 at 5:19 PM, NicDB said:

I miss the IHL. Hopefully my Milwaukee Admirals make an appearance in this thread. They had awesome sweaters in those days.

 

All good things in all good time! They'll be up before too long. In the meantime, here's the next team, the Indianapolis Ice:

4vCTu4O.png

 

This team is such an oddity brand-wise. While the name is about as generic as it can get, their logo is anything but. It's really complex, full of linework, and a terrifying perspective of a polar bear. I love it. These jerseys are sharpened up versions of their '90s jerseys, with light blue and purple integrated more heavily into the color scheme. The alternate is more directly referential to the team's real-world jerseys, with a rounder striping pattern and a more muted color scheme.

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Up next is one of the IHL's few traditional brands, the Kalamazoo Wings!

kyhxHJb.png

 

With the K-Wings, I tried keeping the primary jerseys cool and classic. The only notable change is the addition of wings to the shoulders, which adds just a bit of flare to the identity. The alternate was designed while I was playing around with the idea of a chest stripe for the team, when I realized that the wing motif worked wonderfully as a stripe in and of itself. All in all, there's not a ton to be said here, but that's intentional.

 

What do you think?

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