WHL CENTRAL DIVISION JERSEY RANKING 2016
As much fun as it is to dissect 72 hockey games, it’s also great to occasionally take a step back and enjoy the finer things in life (or in this case, hockey). If you’ve been around the site for any length of time you will have noticed that we often use digital renders of jerseys from around the league in a our pregame previews. It’s a fun little graphic design project I started working on at the inception of this site. So far, I have about half of the league finished. Each jersey takes around an hour to create, and some, particularly the more “modern” designs, are more complicated than others.
While I am lagging behind on the Western Conference, I have much of the East done, and all of the Central. Since the Hurricanes are fighting for the regular season Central Division crown, I thought it would be fun to do our own little race to the playoffs here on Canes Domain. I have put together graphics for all six teams in the central to feature their primary jerseys (perhaps we will add 3rds in the future… for now this is all we have finished).
Your job, should you choose to partake, is simply to look through and, as objectively as possible, vote for your favorite kit at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately it’s not a 1-6 rank style ballot, so you only get to cast one vote (for your favorite). Seeing as we are Canadians (hello to our American visitors too), a “First Past the Post” system is as good as we’ve ever known and it will have to do.
Along with the graphics, we’ve also included some historical information on each franchise via numerous wiki pages and other tidbits found across the internet. If you have other information pertaining to a specific design then drop a comment and I will update the article.
With all that out of the way, enjoy the graphics and make your vote count!
Hooray for democracy.
The Calgary Hitmen are a junior ice hockey team based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL). They play their home games at the Scotia Bank Saddledome. The Hitmen name is derived from Calgary-born wrestler, and original part owner, Bret “the Hitman” Hart. The Hitmen’s original jerseys were a distinctive mix of pink, black and grey, also taken from Hart’s ring attire.
The Hitmen are the third WHL team to represent Calgary, preceded by the Centennials and Wranglers. In 1999, the Hitmen became the first Calgary team to win the President’s Cup as league champions, and the first to represent Calgary in the Memorial Cup since the Calgary Canadians won the national junior title in 1926. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
The Edmonton Oil Kings are a major junior ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They play in the Western Hockey League, and as of July 2008, are owned by Daryl Katz’s Rexall Sports, who also own the Edmonton Oilers. The newest incarnation of the Oil Kings are the fourth WHL team to play in Edmonton, preceded by the first Edmonton Oil Kings (1950–76), the second Oil Kings (1978–79) and the Edmonton Ice (1996–98).
The original Oil Kings franchise predated the WHL, winning two Memorial Cups prior to jumping to the new Western Canada Junior Hockey League in 1966. Approximately 150,000 fans went to Oil Kings games in 1971–72. That number dropped to 90,000 the next year, and 68,000 the following year. The original Oil Kings moved to Portland, Oregon in 1976, becoming the Portland Winter Hawks.
When the sale of the Tri-City Americans to Chilliwack, British Columbia failed, the WHL placed an expansion team in Chilliwack, and the door for Edmonton was finally reopened. While the league had previously refused to consider further expansion, believing 20 teams was enough, the addition of the Chilliwack Bruins left the league with an odd number of franchises. Preferring an even number of teams, the league announced its return to Edmonton on March 16, 2006 with the granting of a conditional expansion franchise, named the Edmonton Oil Kings in homage to the former franchise. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
The Kootenay Ice are a major junior ice hockey team based in Cranbrook, British Columbia and competing in the Western Hockey League. The team plays its home games at Western Financial Place (previously known as the “Rec Plex”.
The franchise was founded in 1996 as the Edmonton Ice, and moved to Cranbrook in 1998. The Ice won the Memorial Cup in 2002, and also participated in 2000, after having won the league championship.
The move of the Ice to Cranbrook resulted in the folding of the local Junior A powerhouse Cranbrook Colts and possibly the entire troubled Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League that the Colts were the top team in. All of the remaining five RMJHL franchises from the Kootenays dropped to the Junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League within years of the Ice coming to the region. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
The ICE carried their colors and imagery over from their time in Edmonton as the Edmonton ICE.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes are a junior ice hockey team in the Eastern Conference (Central Division) of the Western Hockey League in Lethbridge, Alberta. They play their home games at the ENMAX Centre.
When the Lethbridge Broncos returned to their original home of Swift Current following the 1985–86 season, hockey fans in Lethbridge did not have to wait long for a new team. After only one year out of the league, Lethbridge returned to the WHL in 1987–88 when the Calgary Wranglers moved south to become the Hurricanes.
The team’s crowning achievement came in 1996–97, when the Hurricanes captured their first, and only, WHL Championship. The Hurricanes would finish as Memorial Cup runners-up when they lost the title game to the Hull Olympiques. That same year, they also won their division title (only done twice before, 1989–90 and 1990–91) and the regular season title. In the 2007-08 season, the Hurricanes won the eastern conference championship. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
The Hurricanes have worn this jersey/logo combo since it’s inception in 2013-14.
The Medicine Hat Tigers are a junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League (WHL) who play out of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Established in 1970, the team has won two national Memorial Cups, five WHL League Championships and seven Division Titles. The Tigers play at the brand new Canalta Centre. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
The Tigers logo and uniform has remain virtually unchanged over the years. Outside of a an alternative “modern” look between ’98-’03, this is what they’ve stuck with. The current iteration of the logo was implemented in ’03. It is a refined version of their logo from ’86-’98.
The Red Deer Rebels are a Western Hockey League junior ice hockey team based in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. They play their home games at the ENMAX Centrium. The Rebels were a very successful team in the early 2000s winning three consecutive division and conference titles between 2000–01 and 2002–03.
This period began with a WHL and Memorial Cup championship in 2001 when Doug Lynch scored the overtime winner against the Val-d’Or Foreurs. The Rebels were unable to duplicate this feat, however, falling in the league championship series the next two seasons. (Excerpt via: Ice Hockey Wiki)
A “Name the Team” contest ran in Red Deer from October 7 to 17, 1991. The top three ideas from the over 1000 entries were “Rebels”, “Renegades”, and “Centurions”. Rebels management chose the name “Rebels”. On February 5, 1992, the Rebels selected Mike McBain as their first player in the Bantam Draft.
The Rebels’ first game was on September 25, 1992 in Red Deer against the Prince Albert Raiders (the Rebels won 6 to 3 in front of 5240 fans). The original owner of the team was Terry Simpson, the original General Manager was Wayne Simpson and the original Coach was Peter Anholt. (Excerpt via: Wikipedia)
Now it’s time to cast your vote. Who get’s the honor of the best jersey’s in the WHL’s Central Division? You can only vote once so choose wisely. The poll will remain open until the start of the WHL playoffs, at which point, we will announce the winner (likely both here and on social media).
Now that you’ve voted, be sure to drop your thoughts below. Maybe you voted for a team based only on their home or away? Perhaps you feel that this isn’t fair without including 3rd jerseys? Chime in with some jersey or logo opinions. We love to hear them.
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What do you think? Who has the sleekest silks? The sassiest sweater? The jazziest jersey? Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
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