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Discussing the Best and Worst of Sports Uniforms

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Las Vegas Silver Six NHL Design
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tombierbaum
The Uni Watch column at ESPN.com had another uniform-design contest, this time to come up with a team name and uniform for the rumored Las Vegas NHL expansion team.  What I came up with was a reference to Nevada being the "Silver State" and the fact that a hockey team generally has six players on the ice at a time (barring penalties) -- the Las Vegas Silver Six.


As usual, I wanted some striking colors that would really stand out and be unique within the league's current palette, so the Silver Six uniforms are gray / silver with burgundy and a gold / orange color.  Also as usual, I wanted a fun mascot kind of characxter, so their logo / chest emblem is a silver knight playing hockey with his sword fashioned into a hockey stick.



I was having trouble coming up with a team name / identity that I was especially happy with, but when I started toying with a Roman numeral "VI" with the "L" from Las Vegas turning into a hockey stick and the dot of the "I" turning into a puck, I decided the "Silver Six" was meant to be.

And as usual, I came up with a couple competing teams to illustrate my design in action. As I was coloring in the Silver Six and deciding on what to do with the opposition, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do with an established NHL team so I came up with a couple more proposed expansion teams:

INDIANAPOLIS CHECKERS: First, the Indianapolis Checkers, who occurred to me when I was just brainstorming an interesting hockey uniform to give to the opposition and in my mind I saw a design with checkers, at which point it occurred to me that "Checker" is a pun referring to the checking that hockey players do and the checkered flags from auto racing, and thus, the Indianapolis Checkes were born.  Note that their chest logo spells out "Checkers." I'm "borrowing" this idea from an Indiana Pacers design I came up with a year or two ago, and I'll admit, the Pacers' version of the checkered-flag logo is quite a bit more elegant than is the Checkers', but once I came up with the idea for this team, that chest emblem seemed like a natural.



And if you look closely at the mascot on the Checkers' shoulder, note that the hockey player has checkered teeth, which came to me because I remember making the kids laugh back when they were missing some of their baby teeth and saying they had "checkered-flag smiles."

SEATTLE TOTEMS: The opposition team to the road Silver Six is an idea for a Seattle Totems team -- the Totems were the Seattle minor league team for many years and when I was a kid, they had a green-and-white uniform...



I updated them with an adaptation of the original 1967 green-and-blue Oakland Seals uniform, which I really loved.  I just felt to me like green with blue trim is a really good color scheme for a team from the Northwest (especially since the first [and best] uniform of the Seattle Seahawks combined royal blue and kelly green).



So I sent in my Silver Six ideas to the espn.com address last week and Tuesday the "Uni Watch" writer, Paul Lukas, posted the results, and out of a abut 60 entries, five were cited as the top one and I made that list.  Here's the write-up from Paul's post...

5. Best design that's actually several designs: Tom Bierbaum

Whenever we run one of these contests, it's almost a foregone conclusion that one of the best submissions will come from Tom Bierbaum. It's nice that he draws his concepts freehand, not on a computer, but the best part is that he always includes new uniforms for the opposing teams shown in his renderings. If you check out the home uni for his Las Vegas Silver Six, for example (see above), the opposing team is the fictitious Indianapolis Checkers, whose checkered chest emblem spells out "Checkers" -- awesome! And his road uni for the Silver Six shows an excellent concept for a hypothetical Seattle team called the Totems. Good work on the Silver Six logos, too.

It's really gratifying to get such positive comments from Paul, who's probably the most authoritative journalistic voice covering sports uniforms out there, and who gives very even-handed, candid reactions to the submissions. And it's fun to get recognition after spending many hours sketching and coloring in those designs by hand.







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