What is Icethetics?
Icethetics is a website devoted to the aesthetics of hockey. If you haven't figured it out yet, the word is a fusion of "aesthetics," the study of art and beauty, and "ice," on which the game is played. (Sorry to have to spell that out.)
Icethetics focuses on all things related to hockey team logos and jerseys and, to some extent, goalie masks — the truest form of art on the ice today. The site tracks news relating to logo and jersey changes throughout the hockey world from the NHL to the CHL and every minor league in between.
Who's in Charge Here?
My name is Chris and I've been running this site in some form since May 9, 2007. A native of Florida, I became a hockey fan in 1992 when I went to my first Tampa Bay Lightning game. I've been hooked on the sport ever since — and have even hooked a number of other Floridians, my wife included.
My interest in hockey logos and jerseys came a little later on (likely around 1995-96 when the NHL introduced its original third jersey program). Since then, I've always been excited to see what new designs teams will come up with. And after operating Icethetics for a few years, I've come to realize I'm only one of thousands fascinated by this aspect of the game.
How Did It All Start?
I launched a blog in May 2007 called NHL Tournament of Logos under the free Blogger service. The full, searchable archive is available here on icethetics.info. I was curious as to what hockey fans thought of the 30 team logos. So to find an answer, I started holding polls in a bracket-style playoff. For the record, the Montreal Canadiens edged out the St. Louis Blues with 55% of the vote.
But that's not what Icethetics is known for. It was during that summer in 2007 that the NHL joined forces with Reebok to fundamentally redesign the hockey jersey. The introduction of the Rbk EDGE Uniform System would prompt many teams to not only redesign their sweaters but also their logos.
I searched the web almost daily for pictures or details on these new designs. Information was hard to come by. So I started collecting the bits and pieces I could find around the web and gathered them on the NHLToL blog for anyone else who might be interested.
The Popularity Explosion
The site's popularity exploded and NHLToL became the go-to destination for jersey news. The logo tournaments became more popular than ever, leading me to launch a spin-off site, called Tournament of Hockey Logos, that would focus on the minor leagues and any non-NHL related news. The full, searchable archive is also here on icethetics.info.
In the summer of 2008, 18 of the 30 NHL franchises announced plans to introduced third jerseys that fall, something that was not permitted the season before. Again, I gathered news and information for anyone interested and the daily visitor count peaked above 110,000 — a record to this day. The site was a success and now it needed a real identity.
The Icethetics Identity
On July 1, 2008, the site was re-launched under the new name, Icethetics. (I credit Charlie from Sabres Not Slugs with the assist on coming up with the name.) It would be the third site I set up through Blogger. Full, searchable archive available now. But before long, I decided it was time to condense.
On November 1, 2008, icethetics.info officially launched. Icethetics now had its own domain and became a full website, with the blog still central to the endeavor. And this is where we've been ever since.
A Community Effort
The blog is just one aspect of Icethetics. The rest is a community effort. And there is a lot to it. Hundreds of devoted fans provide content to the site on a daily basis. One of the original elements was concept art, now posted several times a week on the Concepts page. Talented readers send in their redesigned renditions of team jerseys and logos for me to post and share with the rest of the world.
Born out of NHL concept art was a push to create and brand a hockey team from the ground up. The IceHL project was conceived and launched in August 2008. It was a fantasy league and every aspect of it would be created and voted on by fans — including team logos. Click here for the latest on the ongoing project.
New: Uniform Galleries
I've always tried to make Icethetics a place where readers can find content they can't find anywhere else. At the same time I think it should have evergreen content aside from the jersey news that becomes useless after a couple months.
In December 2009, the Jersey Galleries section was born. Other sites have done presented uniform databases by displaying flat, computer-generated images of jersey designs. They are useful in showing the finer details of a design, but that's not how we remember a hockey sweater. We remember it on a player's back as he takes that booming slapshot from the point. We remember it in action.
The Jerseys tab at the top of the page takes you to dozens of NHL jersey galleries of all kinds. From third jerseys to All-Star jerseys to the famed Winter Classic jerseys, they're all there. Almost. In time, I hope to feature all NHL jerseys from the modern era, home and road included.
I could talk about the plans I have for the site for weeks without stopping. But what's the point? Ultimately, Icethetics is for you, the jersey geek. Whatever you want Icethetics to be is what it will be. Just know that as long as I'm able, I'll always be improving the site.