WHL LOGO RANKING: 2015 *UPDATED*

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Logo-Ranking-2015

Sometimes you just gotta do something fun. Ditch the (at times) depressing news surrounding the local hockey team and take a lighthearted look at something less weighty. For me, I like to step back and enjoy the on-ice aesthetics. At a young age I became enthralled with the visual design of hockey. Whether it was the art adorning the masks of my many goaltending heroes, or a new expansion team injecting fresh visuals into the game I knew and loved, hockey was always about more than just sticks and pucks. The various jerseys, hockey cards and posters we choose to hang on our walls, are a testament to the fact that hockey brands carry substance. They transcend their utilitarian functional means and become part of a more meaningful social end – community identity.

To put it simply, hockey logos are awesome. More interestingly though, some are far more awesome than others. With tongue in cheek, I rank my favorite logos from around the Dub’…

(Remember these are my personal opinions. I speak for no one but myself. Tell me how I am wrong below!)

1.  REGINA PATS *UPDATED*

3---Pats

It’s funny how things can change as you get older. If you would have asked me what I thought of the Pats’ logo as a boy, I would have told you it was boring. It’s still boring, but that’s what makes it endearing. One look and you know that it came from a different era. It proceeds the league itself. If a newer team came out with a similar logo you can’t help but think it would come across as pretentious. As someone living in Lethbridge, it’s always a pleasure to see the Pats at the Enmax Centre.

It’s simple, clean, instantly recognizable, and deserves the top spot. Love it or hate it, you have to respect it.

*I have updated the graphic to reflect the Pats recent logo refresh. Thank you to Sonia for pointing out that I had originally used their old logo and colours!


2. RED DEER REBELS

1---Rebels

I’ve always assumed this logo was inspired by a comically large free-range bull-skull Sutter keeps above his whiskey collection back home. Ignorance is bliss.

I can’t seem to put a finger on what I love so much about the Rebels’ logo. It just seems like a Jr. hockey logo and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t take it self too seriously but simultaneously avoids looking like something I would have drawn when I was 10. Carry on Rebels.


3. CALGARY HITMEN

2---Hitmen

The Hitmen win the award for the logo with the strongest serial-killer vibe. I’m not sure why he is so pissed. Maybe it’s because he has blood red crows-feet. What I do know, is that the Hitman is kind of a badass. If the WHL was high-school, he would be that guy with a neck tattoo who rides a Harley and has multiple children… by grade 11.

The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.


4. VANCOUVER GIANTS

4---Giants

If I remember correctly, the Giant’s came up with this logo via a design competition. I’m not sure who ultimately won, but they did a fantastic job. By the look of his arms he clearly goes to the same gym as the Rock and the same ‘pharmacist’ as Barry Bonds. I also really appreciate how the overall design forms a ‘G’. It’s not easy to make something this visually appealing out of an asymmetrical letter. Bravo Vancouver.


5. MEDICINE HAT TIGERS

6---TigersAn incredible logo. It’s a tiger. Simple as that. No need for words, shapes, lines, or gradients. It says what it is and is what it says.

Like the Hitmen, the Tigers brand has a certain ‘edge’ to it that most others don’t. I could definitely see this logo riding shotgun next to a pin-up girl on your grandfather’s WWII bomber jacket… that your hipster cousin now wears to fit in around Portland.


6. BRANDON WHEAT KINGS

12---WheatKingsVery consistent logo. No, its not flashy. Frankly, it’s also not that memorable. But it’s solid, effective, and looks great on the jerseys. I’m not normally a huge fan of text based logos, but understanding how difficult it is to portray wheat, Brandon did a great job. I always enjoy seeing the Wheaties play.

Sundown in the Paris of the prairies…


7. KELOWNA ROCKETS

5 - Rockets

This is probably going to be contentious, but I really enjoy this logo. Yes, it’s a little cartoonish. Too much so. But it includes some hidden gems that I just can’t deny. I appreciate the ‘sunshine’ gradient in the background, representing the weather of the Okanagan Valley. I like that the logo itself is an ode’ to the city of Kelowna, a play on urban legend and myth. Most won’t get it, but the people of Kelowna do, and that’s what matters. Above all, I am a huge fan of the colour pallet the Rockets have. I can’t name any other teams that use the same combination of colours. Very non-traditional, but in this case, I think it’s fantastic.

Plus the Ogopogo is missing jibs. Grapes’ would be proud. #muck


8. SASKATOON BLADES

7---Blades

I have to admit that I myself am somewhat divided on the Blades logo. There is something about it I both love and hate. The reason I rank it so high is the intelligent design work. Is it a skate?? Is it a sword?? It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s not a bulldozer….?


9. EDMONTON OILKINGS

8---Oil-Kings

This is another one of those old timey logos that I can’t help but enjoy. I won’t give the team too much credit for the design since it was essentially already laid out for them, but I will say, good job on going ahead with a look that isn’t exactly modern or sexy. There are certainly a whole lot of colours. It’s almost like the designer drank paint…

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10. KAMLOOPS BLAZERS

9---Blazers

I’m an Oilers fan, so maybe I’m also predisposed to liking the Blazers logo. There is certainly an 80’s flair to it. But instead of feeling dated, the brand tends on the side of ‘good’ nostalgia.


11. SPOKANE CHIEFS

10---Chiefs

Rest easy Chief’s nation. I couldn’t leave this iconic logo off of the better half of the list. Where it loses marks for originality, it makes up for it in being memorable. I tend to be critical of teams that steal their look from the NHL, and you would have to be blind to not see the Montreal flavor here, but for whatever reason, it works. Of all the American teams, I can’t help but feel Spokane has the most ‘Canadian hockey’ feel about it. (fully prepared to get flamed for that comment)


12. SWIFT CURRENT BRONCOS

11---Broncos

What is old is new again. It was great to see the Bronco’s move away from the boring blue and grey look they had been using for the past decade. The colour green is hopelessly underused so I was really happy to see it come back in Swift Current. It’s not a fancy logo, but that seems fitting. It’s weird for a prairie town to use ‘coastal colours’, but whatever… it works well in my books.


13. SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS

13---Thunderbirds

Speaking of coastal colours, the Seattle Seahawks Thunderbirds have a…. serviceable…. logo. Unfortunately I mainly see potential where I would love to see design excellence. The colours and totem are a fantastic motif’. It would be fantastic to see what a modern designer could come up with for the T-birds. Not awful by any means…just not as good as I think it could be.


14. VICTORIA ROYALS

14---Royals

Speaking of modern. The Royals logo is certainly a ‘new-school’ approach to hockey branding. I really appreciate the semi-gothic, victorian era vibe. It really does translate the Canadian conception of royalty. Really busy, a little stuffy, but ultimately effective in communicating what it needs to. If they were going for ‘parliamentary’, they nailed it.


15. EVERETT SILVERTIPS

15---SilverTips

I want to really love this logo. I really really do. In fact, if you were talking to me thirteen years ago, I probably would be fawning over it. There-in lies the problem. The Silvertips logo is a little too far in the cartoon/childish realm. Where Kelowna’s logo manages to survive the silliness, Everett’s doesn’t pass the smell test. Maybe it is because the bear seems a little too angry. He’s trying too hard. The Tip’s could benefit from a logo update. Something a little more mature but with the same great colours.


16. MOOSEJAW WARRIORS

16---Warriors

Like those ranked immediately above it, the Warriors’ logo has some great potential. Unfortunately I can’t help but feel it’s wasted on some dated elements. Every time I see that gradient, I can’t shake the 90’s. Maybe in ten years the gradient will make a comeback… I don’t know. I don’t know much actually. Have I mentioned this is the worst blog in yql…


17. TRI-CITY AMERICANS

17---Americans

The Tri-City Americans have one of the best shoulder patches that is used as a primary in the league. It should probably be ranked higher, but I just find it a little boring. No need to be ashamed of it or anything. The Am’s have a really unique look when it is all said and done. Maybe I just really really want a fighter-jet instead.


18. KOOTENAY ICE

18---ICE

This is where things start to get (really) bad. The ICE’s (ISIS?? (too soon?) ICEES? ICE?) logo is dated. And not the good kind of dated (ie. Regina, Swift Current, Medicine Hat). I am talking about the kind of dated where the designer (back in Edmonton (before the franchise moved)) was likely blasting Ace of Bass and drinking Pepsi BLUE while trying to hopelessly visualize ICE. Freaking ICE!! The name is a product of the same era that brought us the Minnesota WILD, Guelph STORM, Owen Sound ATTACK… you get the picture. Trying to make a logo out of extremely abstract words and objects can be tough. The end result is usually something like this (though the other teams I mentioned all have pretty good logos). I don’t know what to suggest other than a new concept. Ditch the yeti, stick with the ICE moniker, and hire some creative people to start brainstorming. With a little effort, the ICE could have a great logo. The better question is will the ICE be in Cranbrook long term…


19. PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS *UPDATED*

19---Cougars

I was tempted to rank this one higher… but I also had it lower at one point as well. It’s certainly unique…. aaaaaaand it’s also an improvement over the old Cougars logo. The old cougar looked like he wanted to shake your hand then tell you about his work as a humanitarian. This new one just falls flat for me somehow. I think it’s a grower, but I would have loved to see them avoid using black. Black (imo) is overused. I think they could have come up with something more appealing by using more red and less black. For such a recent update, it seems out of place.

*UPDATE*

Sounds like the Cougars are going to be totally re-branding this summer. As of now, they are going through the trademarking process. According to this article, we can expect a new logo and jerseys to be revealed after the WHL playoffs are over. Exciting news. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.


20. PRINCE ALBERT RAIDERS

20---Raiders

Another logo that would be much better served as a secondary brandmark. In my opinion, this is the most ‘high school’ logo on the list. It’s too bad because I know the old logo received similar criticism. It seems at best to be a lateral move. If the Raiders were planning to re-brand, they should have taken more time with it. I will say that the design itself is actually really good. The way they pulled the letters together to form a shield is admirable. It just shouldn’t be a primary logo is all. The name ‘Raiders’ is open to so much creative interpretation and this seems too ‘easy’. I hope in the future they try again.

21. LETHBRIDGE HURRICANES

21---Hurricanes

Now that I know this cost the team over $20,000 I am even more disappointed. Where to begin. The positives… it’s an actual logo rather than just words. It is bold. I enjoy the colours.

Unfortunately the positives only really hold up when compared to how bad the previous ‘logo’ was. The Hurricanes have never had a strong brand identity. This team changes branding every few years because they never seem to get it right. A few times that found something that (arguably) started to stick but then were forced to change because of copyright infringement issues. I plan to write an entire article on the brand identity of the Hurricanes, but for now let me just say that this logo is disappointing. It’s boring, unimaginative, and worst of all, unclear. What is it? A fox tail around two sticks? A toilet-bowl with legs sticking out? It’s not a good representation of a hurricane and that’s what matters most.

Why don’t more teams re-brand through a fan submission competition like Vancouver did? Look on great blogs like www.icethetics.com and you will see many talented, passionate, hockey fans who love to design logos. I am confident the Hurricanes could have spent half the money and gotten a much better design by pursuing alternative avenues. The team could even to a voting competition of the top 6 submissions from a theoretical contest. This would allow the community, and most importantly fans (the ones who buy the jerseys and memorabilia), to take ownership of the team identity. It would be a way to make the Hurricanes more inclusive of the community. Considering this is a community owned team, I don’t understand why this hasn’t yet been done. (yes I know they did a jersey design competition a few years back. I think they could expand that experience to a full re-brand).

For now we are stuck with, “It’s better than what we had before…”

22. PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS *UPDATED*

22---Winterhawks

Let me start by saying, this is one of the greatest sports logos of all time. On a list of NHL logos, this ought to finish first on most. Therein lies the problem. As great of a logo that it is, Portland isn’t winning any originality contests. In an immensely creative city it would be great to see what locals could come up with. Yes, it’s one of the best looking jersey/logo combos in the Dub, but it’s tough to see through the Blackhawks.

With all that said, I have received numerous comments informing me further on the rich history between the Blackhawks and Winterhawks.

According to Leftwing71 over at the Network 54 forum,

When Portland moved from Edmonton in 1976, the Chicago Blackhawks donated their old jerseys to get them started. I mean after all, when the Blackhawks were created, the Portland Rosebuds in the 1920’s moved to Chicago to become the Blackhawks. So Portland and Chicago have been kinda connected since the 1920’s. No copycatting at all when it comes to the Jersey.

Im not sure how reputable our friend Leftwing is. He might even be a socialist. But I’m gonna take his word for it and pass it along anyways. Thanks Leftwing!

In light of better information, I actually find the story incredibly interesting and have a new respect for the Hawk’s logo. I’m going to stick to my guns and maintain that it’s not really their logo, but clearly it isn’t actually 22/22. I apologize for my initial comments. They were ignorant and uninformed. Worst blog in Lethbridge indeed. Can we still be friends? As a token of my good will, I give you a horse making pancakes for a goat.anigif_enhanced-30060-1426561371-3


COLOUR BY NUMBERS

Colour-by-Numbers

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Am I totally out to lunch? I would love to hear about how wrong I am. Let me know in the comment section below.

– Which are your favorite?

– Which do you hate?

– Which team logo would you change first, above all others?

*All graphic-design by @canesdomain. You are free to use any of the above but we would appreciate some love in return (tweets, facebook shares, referrals, etc…) <3

Twitter: @canesdomain


Train 1 (1 of 1)Honorary wanna-be. Twitter master for @canesdomain. Reader and blog follower. I work in digital design and write when I have something to say. Was a bench warmer for two time U of L hockey intramural champions, the Cal Cluttermucks. Have a degree I will (probably) never use.


9 thoughts on “WHL LOGO RANKING: 2015 *UPDATED*”

  1. Sonia says:

    The Pats logo is great – except that is neither their active logo or the proper colours.

    Fun article though.

    1. Brock says:

      Great catch! It is the proper colours, but of their old (pre last season) look. On some of the logos I used complimentary shades in the background so the logo didn’t wash out. I would have loved to add their updated logo and colours but resources on the web are scarce. I would have to remake it from scratch.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Sonia says:

    If you send me an email, I will send you the updated logo and pantones.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyable read…Agree with a lot of what you wrote, but can’t’ gotta say the rockets are the worst. Don’t we have to at least consider the fact the rockets feature a monster rather than an actual rocket?? Do like the color scheme though…Calgary is also horrific…but then the name is just too hokey… I love the thunderbirds road blues…

    1. Brock says:

      First off, thank you so very much for reading. Thrilled to hear you enjoyed it.The blog only launched last week so I am blown away by the support and readership to date. So many amazing readers. Thanks again.

      Ah yes. The Rockets! I said it would be contentious right?? I guess it all depends what criteria we choose to rank logos with. I probably should have written a paragraph about the methodology behind my selections. I really value creativity and originality – sometimes to a fault. You make a great point though. I can’t deny it! An actual rocket would probably make more sense than a lake monster.

      I think also that success on the ice has an effect on our perception of a logo, or a brand in general. Winning teams make anything ‘cool’. I don’t think it is a coincidence that most of the top ten logos are all affiliated with consistently competitive teams. That might be an interesting topic for a future article…

  4. Nathan says:

    Has Lethbridge ever been hit by a hurricane? Not trying to be a d*ck, it just seems t be a strange name to me from a city on the great plains. I was just reading about the ownership possibly changing, maybe changing the name might be a good way to usher in better times. Good Luck Lethbridge. A fan from Portland.

    1. Brock says:

      Making fun of a team based in a land-locked prairie city for being called the Hurricanes is such a dick move. Mad respect.

      Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. I am planning to write a future article tackling exactly that. For years I have been adamant that the team here in Lethbridge needs a total rebrand. I am talking scorched earth. If the team does sell and stay here in Lethbridge, new ownership would be foolish not to start from scratch. If a brand becomes synonymous with losing and bad management, why not start fresh when you have the opportunity? There is so much more I want to say but for now I will say touche’ Nathan in Portland. Great opinion.

      I liken it to a bar that has to close down because of a health violation or a murder…. you know they will just slap another name on it and reopen again in a few months. The Hurricanes could BE that bar!

  5. Darren says:

    I’ll start with the logos:

    I always like when franchises (of any sport) use the local area, be it historical or geographical, included in the logo. I don’t agree with you on the Kelowna Rockets logo. It is exactly what you don’t like in the Ice’s. Meaning, it is a cartoon character. As a previous commenter mentioned, it should have some connection to a rocket or spaceship or something of the like. Even so, I don’t know what a rocket has to do with the city of Kelowna? I think my favorite logo is either the Red Deer Rebels or the Medicine Hat Tigers with Brandon a close second (or third). I like tradition and the Tigers and Wheaties certainly have that. Even though they’ve tweaked the logos over the years, they’ve kept the main elements. As for the Pats, I don’t care for it. Without Googling and reading up on it, I’m assuming it stands for Patriots? (Maybe you have researched?) If we can understand exactly what a “Pat” is, maybe we could better asses what elements should be included in the logo. I also like Seattle’s logo. Very nice elements from the west coast included in the logo.

    As a Hurricane fan and shareholder, it’s the FIRST logo I would change knowing how it came to be. I read how it was created and I still ended up thinking “huh??” I didn’t like the previous logo that resembled that of the Washington Capitals. It’s too bad the Hurricane Hawker logo can’t be used, but again, what does that particular plane have to do with Lethbridge? My favourite Hurricane’s logo was the one with Twister, but as you’ve already mentioned, it had to be changed for copyright reasons (which I thought was a petty move by Disney or Looney Tunes or whoever it was who called it in).

    On the Hurricane’s name, I don’t think it’s too misdirected. I think anyone who has visited here thinks it’s the windiest place on earth (even though those of use who have lived here for any length of time know the wind comes and goes just as it does in every city). However, when it blows, it BLOWS!! (As Hometown Hockey found out!) I remember when the franchise was looking for names, I had “Hurricanes” written down on a short list of names. I can’t remember the other two or three.

    If we were to rebrand the team name and logo, I’d like to see (as I mentioned above) something that included our heritage or history. It doesn’t have to be something current. It could be something from previous local teams (eg. Sugar Kings, Native Sons etc). I’m trying to think of some of the other names I had written down from the original name search, but the only ones that come to mind are Lakers and Lazers and don’t care for either of those.

  6. Travis says:

    I’ll add to the logo comments.
    Always liked the tigers and wheaties logo, hard to be a fan of the hat cuz I’ve been a canes fan since they moved here from Calgary in 1986. The grouchy tiger and the orange and black scheme is pretty cool and original in the chl in my opinion. I agree with the rockets comments, why the ogopogo shouldn’t it be a rocket? Same with the giants, I mean the logo is cool but it’s a lumber jack I don’t get the impression of a giant from it? I think the pats logo is old and they could do something new. The rebels logo is unique but what does a cow skull have to do with a rebel? Everyone picks on the canes, but every logo has its flaws, all I’m saying is all the whl team logos have there good and bad points.

    Here is some history on the hurricanes name for the people who say what does a hurricane have to do with a prairie city. First off the name, to clarify came from a fan contest to name the team when they moved from Calgary and were the wranglers. The contest was put out to the community to submit your name and the top three names were voted on by the shareholders. How do I know this, because my friend is the one who won the contest when we were kids. He came up with the name because of the hurricane type wind in Lethbridge, as we had one storm that went through and the wind blew down several trees and a garage in our neighbourhood. So I think it’s an appropriate name as it was a fan that named the team and reflects the nasty dust blowing storms that roll through the city. So if someone claims to have written down the hurricane name then why didn’t you submit it? We also came up with the name “wind devils” but were told it was to evil and the hurricanes was a better fit. For the Portland fan that is questioning why we’re the hurricanes read above and let me ask you this, what the f$&k is a winterhawk and what does winter have to do with Portland? Never been there but I’m pretty sure you don’t get snow there very often or maybe you do? And do you have hawks? I don’t know, so instead of bashing the name do some research and ” take a look at yourself before you acccuse the dipict the hurricane name”. Did a Portland fan name the team? Portland should change their name to the Portland cheating hawks, cuz if I remember right weren’t the so called hawks bribing and giving players special privileges to play there, oh yes they were, that’s why you lost all your top round bantam draft picks for the last three years. Oh and didn’t you go to the memorial cup a few times? No wonder Lethbridge stunk, we couldn’t afford to bribe our players and fly them in from all over, and fly there parents in from all parts of the continent. Didn’t see any Lethbridge players driving new trucks that’s for sure. Lethbridge may have had poor management but at least we’re not a bunch of cheaters. My point is this every team has its issues, so get over the canes bad years and the changing the name, look at them now.
    For the fool that bashed the canes and wants to rebrand them from scratch, no offence but obviously you know nothing about the history of the team. Yah it would be cool to rebrand the team, but let me ask you this: remember the Lethbridge Mounties and the black diamonds pro ball teams? My point is yes the management sucks and I don’t agree with how the team has been run, but the ball teams were run well and they went on a losing streak and no one supported them. I find it funny that fans just give up on a team when times are bad, when they win there the best thing in town. True fans support the team no matter what win or lose. At the end of the day it’s about the players and the community. Yes would it be good for the team to be sold, of coarse, but to change the name and rid of the bad vibe, your missing the point, a name has nothing to do with success. maybe its the untrue fans that should undergo a change. The prince George cougars were sold a few years ago, well because of bad management, they didn’t change there name and now they fill there arena and are one of the top teams in the whl. A name is just a name, if you stand behind your team and believe in them you don’t need to rename them. And the guy who is a shareholder how do you not know how the team actually got it’s name? Wow! I’m doubtful if your even a shareholder and owner in the team. Pretty unprofessional to say that the team blows, I think your full of bs. Sorry dude but I have relatives that are part of the new ownership group in pg and they would never bash the team, that’s hoarsecrap. So be professional and fess up to your mistakes, and move on. Don’t keep making the same mistakes and find excuses to back out of them. I like the new logo, yah why you would pay that to have a new logo is insane, another piss poor call, but embrace it. If your a shareholder and not happy with the way it turned out why didn’t you come up with something you liked instead of spending 20 grand and then turn around and put it down? Goes to show you that ownership does need to change badly. You’d have been better to spend your 20 grand and sell the team to Versteg, seabrook and the sutter brothers. I bet they wouldn’t spend 20 gees and then bad mouth the brand and logo goddamn man!
    Anyway I’ve stirred the pot here enough just expressing my opinion.

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