By Phil Hecken
If the artwork on the cover of the January 15, 2015, edition of Las Vegas Seven, pictured above, looks familiar to you, that’s because the artist has been featured on Uni Watch many times before — it’s by none other than UW fave Rob Ullman. You probably best know Rob for his “Atom Bomb Bikini” sketches of ladies in sports jerseys. Many of you have commissioned Rob to sketch your own significant others.
Well, back on the 15th, I noticed that in a tweet Rob posted:
— Rob Ullman (@robullman) January 15, 2015
Intrigued, I asked Rob the story behind it and if he’d be interested in sharing it with Uni Watch readers. He was happy to oblige — this is awesome, and I’m really happy for Mr. Ullman, as this is a huge deal. So, without further ado, and of course, click on any images below to enlarge, here’s Rob with …
By Rob Ullman
Back in early December, news broke that the NHL might seriously be looking at placing a team in Las Vegas. As I walked through Target one afternoon with that in mind, the idea struck to send an email to Ryan, an art director for a weekly Las Vegas magazine whom I’ve worked with in the past, DEMANDING that should they run a piece on the topic, I be given the assignment. I quickly dismissed the idea, deciding that such a thing was too presumptuous for even as shameless a self-promoter as myself.
So imagine my delight and surprise when, a couple weeks later, none other than Ryan himself emailed me out of the blue, inquiring about my availability to create an illustration”¦for the COVER, no less”¦on the subject of an NHL team in Las Vegas! “Who else would I go to?”, he asked. Who, indeed. It was like something out of “The Secret”.
He had few details about the piece itself, as it was still being written, but he envisioned a collage of pertinent elements: a hockey player, the proposed arena, some desert imagery, and of course, some pretty girls.
I did up a few sketches with different layouts, they chose one they liked, and I set to work.
It was a pretty tight deadline, so I didn’t have a ton of time to fuss over details, but I did want to bring a little extra effort to the jersey the player would be wearing. I began with a color scheme of red and black, representing the two colors in a deck of cards and many other table games. And at the risk of being hacky, I also decided to make gambling front and center in the fictional team’s identity, both as a challenge to do it in a fun and dignified way, and because it’s gambling that makes Nevada what it is.
I didn’t want to do too much research, lest I influence my design too heavily, but I remembered a vintage team called the Quebec Aces using an image of a poker hand in it’s crest, and that it made for a cool look. As I was sketching it up, however, I thought it was a little too boring for a primary logo. Then a bit of inspiration hit: I moved the cards to the shoulder, and dropped the amount to 2, an Ace and a 10, and decided I’d call my fictional team the Black Jacks. I sketched up a round poker chip, perfect for the jersey crest, and added the number 21 in the center. I had my identity.
For the jersey’s striping pattern, I wanted to do something classic, but with a little more menace to it, befitting the city’s tough origins. I played up the black, making three bold stripes on the sleeves, socks and waist, with just a little white between them. I briefly considered replacing the middle stripe with side-by-side squares that looked like dice, sort of along the lines of the Hurricanes’ old storm warning flag motif, but decided it would be too over the top. A solid black collar and black neck laces complemented the look nicely. For the one of the girls in the background of the composition, I created a white away jersey, which is basically a mirror image of the red home version.
As to the super fans in the background…I briefly considered adding a male fan to their group but I thought a third figure might get squeezed out, or worse yet, demand that the girls be smaller and throw off my balance. While I realize a pair of boozy ladies in thigh-high socks and short shorts might strike some as sexist or worse, girls in sports jerseys are what I’m known for, and their raucous expressions and overfilled beer cups speak to the heart of what hockey fans and Las Vegas are all about!
Finally, I added an image of the still-to-be-built arena, bathed in a glorious desert sunset, and I had a cover! The response has been fantastic, and I’ve come around a bit on the idea of a team in Sin City, which I admittedly thought sounded like a disaster at first glance. Provided they’re called the Black Jacks, of course!
Fantastic stuff Rob! And congrats on the cover. I’ve been a big fan of Rob’s work for years (for those of you who aren’t familiar, he’s got his Old-Timey Hockey Tales, he’s been featured in The Hockey News Big Book, and even though I’m not a Penguins fan, his This Week in Penguins History strip is amazing (I still wish the Pens would return to their powder blue days, but I think I’m in the minority there).
And how about that for a design for a future team for Vegas? As Jim Vilk would say, “I’d wear that!”
Anyway — big ups for Mr. Ullman — loved the cover and the story behind it — so thanks for sharing it with us!
Leo Strawn Goes To Columbus…
…and reports back
Reader and awesome UW contributor Leo Strawn had the opportunity to visit the NHL All Star Game festivities (the game, as you’re all likely aware, is this afternoon). Below is a neat write-up on his experiences there:
NHL All-Star Weekend Events
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
Went to the NHL All Star Weekend events on Friday in Columbus. The Blue Jackets did an amazing job at giving fans lots to see and do!
The lighting in the Fan Fair was meant for aesthetics, not for photography, so a few of these are a bit blurry, unfortunately.
Historic Ohio hockey sweaters:
• Columbus Chill wore these ghastly jerseys at one time during their 1991-99 ECHL days.
• Cleveland Barons has been the name of multiple clubs. This beautiful jacket comes from their 1947-48 AHL Championship season.
• Johnny Bower won this plaque during his 1957-58 season with the AHL’s Barons.
• They wore this awesome sweater during the 1960s in the AHL.
• Norm Locking represented the Barons in the 1942 AHL All Star game wearing this beauty!
• Cleveland Barons AHL jersey from 2005-06.
• The NHL’s Cleveland Barons (who had moved from Oakland and eventually merged with the North Stars) used this logo for their short history.
• After moving from California, the Barons used these pucks (sorry for the poor quality photo) with Golden Seals logos for their inaugural game in Cleveland, on October 6, 1976.
• After two short seasons the Barons merged with Minnesota. These prototypes, which were ready for the 1978-79 season, were never worn.
• Cleveland Lumberjacks IHL jersey from 1995-96.
• The World Hockey Association was well represented in Ohio. Here are WHA jerseys from (l to r) the Cincinnati Stingers, 1979 WHA All Star game (worn by Stinger, Mike Gartner), and (sorry for the blur) the Cleveland Crusaders (who, ironically, also moved to Minnesota).
• In 1981-82, Cincinnati Tigers played in the CHL.
• 1996-97 IHL Cincinnati Cyclones sweater.
• Sadly, I did not see any Cincinnati Swords jerseys. Apparently, the HOF does not have any Dayton Gems sweaters, either.
• Toledo Goaldiggers 1981-82 IHL sweater. Love it!
• Toledo Storm from ECHL in 2005-06.
• Also from the ECHL, 1991-92 Dayton Bombers jersey.
• One section of Fan Fair was the Mascot Clubhouse.
• Bailey was wandering around showing off some bling.
• I also saw Louie making some memories for the young fans.
• What NHL event is complete without the Whale?! (I counted no less than 4 different people wearing Hartford jerseys!)
• Upper Deck had their own unique look.
• Great Chi-sox! (See what I did there?)
• The Zamboni was dressed and ready.
• Oscar Meyer was ready to drive to “Hockeyville.”
• Stanley Cup history signs.
• Giant snow slide going down Nationwide Blvd. was covered in corporate signs and ASW logos, with ASW banners hanging from street poles. Nationwide Arena is on the left in both pics. (Okay, those pics were just an excuse to show off the snow slide!)
• Misc. ASW signs/banners, including the Ice Haus’ amazing signs! (Ice Haus has an NHL-sized rink for Jackets practices and local league games.)
Great stuff, Leo! Thanks for the report and taking all those great shots!
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
Been a while since we had any of these (sorry to all who’ve sent in, I shouldn’t keep these on the backburner) — but a couple of these are timely, so here we go with them today:
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Andrew Daniels, who has some concepts for the NHL All-Star Game:
This concept is mostly, though not completely, uni-centric. The intent is to fix both the format and look of this year’s NHL All Star Game. Instead of two teams chosen by a school yard pick, we now have four teams, one representing each division. The uniforms keep the color scheme of the recently revealed Reebok atrocities, but have a more tradition layout. Within the waist stripe of each jersey, there is a star to represent each team in the division.
I will say that I was a bit handcuffed by the fact that I was bound to MS Paint as my medium. I think they turned out fine, but they do leave a little to be completed by the imagination.
And we close today with Jim Vilk who has an idea for how to tweak the Leaves…er, Leafs:
I know the Rangers are famous for the downward-slanting name on their sweaters, but there’s another team that should try that look. Leaves fall off of trees, so why not have a Falling Leafs sweater?
Here’s how it looks on an actual player.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
QBC Uniform Panel
Last weekend, I had a small section featuring the “Uniform Panel” at the Queens Baseball Convention, which Paul moderated (and on which I participated), with some photos and audio. Paul ran the audio again on Monday. Well (and I didn’t even realize it at the time), there’s actual video of the panel as well. So, if you didn’t catch (or listen to) the audio, or if you did and want to see the panel in action. It’s here:
Hope you enjoy.
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Week 21 & 22:
T-Shirt Club reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s February design is now available, but only until Monday night — then it will be gone forever. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Neat stuff from Paul Stave, who writes, Hey guys. Ran across these (old baseball pennants) when looking for some Seahawk memorabilia. I forgot I had them. Some 35-40 years ago my folks bought an old cabin. Left behind at the time were these pennants, which even at an early age I knew I had to keep. Some were already tattered when I obtained them, but I have kept them in good shape since. Of course my fav it the Pilots one. These are full size, not the minis.” … Tweakin’ Wahoo? “The Indians are making a sljght change to their 2015 Wahoo caps,” writes Chris Marcinko. “The home and road alt caps for this season will now be a darker navy, making them the same shade as the block C fauxbacks. The past few seasons the Wahoo caps were a lighter shade of navy. You can see the difference between the models at the Indians page on mlb shop.com where both last years models and this years are for sale.” … You guys know I love those old school jerseys with the TNOP (Team Name on Placket). Well, this isn’t quite Team Name, but it’s close: 1913 Pittsburgh Filipinos Federal League jersey (thanks to @UniformCritic). … Cubs fan Tim Shay writes, “I, like a lot of Cubs fans, thought the world of Ernie Banks, and in the wake of hearing of his death, took some time to design a prototype for a patch that could be worn as a memorial to the simple, elegant, classy representative of the Cubs – and really all of baseball – that Ernie was. Knowing you are a design guru, I thought you might like to see it.”
NFL News: A bit of non-deflategate “news” from Tom Roddy, as the Patriots posted this pic to Instagram Friday. Says Tom, “And clearly this is an image of a Super Bowl patch on a piece of white mesh fabric or an old Reebok jersey since the only piece is mesh fabric on the Nike costumes is around the nameplate on the back. Unless the visiting team’s SB patch has been relegated to the back of the jersey this year? Ha! Sloppy social media post on the part of the Patriots.” … Hmmm, speaking of the Patriots — Rudy Gutirrez sent in this photo taken at the NFL Experience, and asks, “are the pats gonna wear different socks???” Notice those socks show plain low whites and blue undersocks, not their standard white three striped socks. Paul and I are both pretty sure the Pats will wear their “normal” socks, but this is still interesting. … OK, what the hell is this? Well, it’s a set of pads containing skittles, but why is a fan in a Cardinals jersey wearing it? Shouldn’t that be a Seattle beastmode thing? … Speaking of Seattle, looks like the Seahawks will expand the Link by 1,000 seats for next season. … In preparation for SB XLIX, Mickel Yantz has updated his Seahawks Uniforms site.
College Football News: This is amusingly bizarre: “Recruits often receive cookie cakes on official visits, but Ole Miss just took its fondant game to the next level.” That’s some cake (thanks to Christopher C. LaHaye). … The multi-talented Jim Harbaugh (new coach of UM) is apparently quite the piccolo player (or maybe not). Via Lost Lettermen. … At yesterday’s Senior Bowl, Baylor teammates were allowed to choose which helmet they wanted to wear (via Samuel Brooks). … Hmmm, did anyone who watched the Senior Bowl think it reminded them of a certain hockey matchup, uni wise? (h/t @jeffreybigmoney). … Speaking of the Senior Bowl, what genius decided both teams should wear black pants? Isn’t this supposed to be one of those times the uni maker (in this case, UA) shows off all sorts of “cool” looks? But overall the unis aren’t that bad. … And what’s with different makers for baselayers and tops? (thanks to Tres Lawless). Shouldn’t UA make everything? (OR…are those just Russell pads sticking out, and not a baselayer???). … In a recent rendering for new facilities, is this an inclusion of possible University of Colorado uniforms (nice spot by Joe Mueller).
NBA News: The City of Seattle has been on a bit of a roll lately, what with their football team in their second straight Supe and their baseball team getting some sweet new Sunday creams, so this is icing on the cake: Pearl Jam has some sweet Sonic themed warm-ups (thanks to Douglas Ford). Now, if they can just get a hoops & hockey team, their sports Nirvana will be complete. … We’ve seen a ton of alternate logos and mashups before, but here is a link to some NBA logos as video game characters which submitter Tom Currie doesn’t think we have seen before. … Mike King tweeted this photo of a Brooklyn Nets ‘Blue Nights’ with the sleeves cut off and professionally hemmed. Looks great!
Hockey News: Last evening, the Grand Rapids Griffins played the Iowa Wild, and wore these jerseys designed by Mark Roberts. That’s a fan-designed jersey and they’ll be auctioned off to benefit some charity (thanks to Matt Batchelder. … The Utah Grizzlies played a “Guns and Hoses” game yesterday — the front of the unis repped the police, with the back being for the firemen (thanks to É¹ÉÊŒoÊ‡ (@MHTID85)). … “I am sending an article that I found, highlighting the ‘brightest cheerleaders of the KHL’,” writes Alex Cohen. “It’s not necessary to know Russian in order to appreciate the uniforms, or the ladies themselves.” … Pretty cool ice projection technology at the All Star Game yesterday (h/t Pam Chvotkin). … The AHL Rockford Ice Hogs did a pink in the rink thingy (via Brant D Hulsebus). … More hockey pink, this time it’s the refs, in yesterday’s BC/UConn game (thanks to Stephen Hayes). … At the skills competition last night, the Blue Jackets Ryan Johansen took off his Columbus jersey to reveal an Ohio State jersey underneath (thanks to Chris Flinn). … The Spokane Chiefs wore military support jerseys last night (from Brandon Rose). … Hmmm, check out what’s on the inside of Jaroslav Halak’s leg pad (h/t @BruinsLou).
College Hoops News: Oregon State got some really bright orange script shooting shirts (via Beavers Equipment). … Lebanon Valley College did some sort of pink out yesterday, and the result was a color on color game (via LVC Athletics). … Also going color on color yesterday was Akron and CMU (h/t Zach Liles). … Men also went color on color yesterday, with S. Illinois vs. Evansville doing the deed. Evansville also went sleeved. Not a fan of this matchup (thanks to Joe Ringham). … Last night, the University of Missouri/Kansas City was rocking some gorgeous throwbacks (thanks, Paul). … Also from Paul, yesterday the coaching staff of Northwestern State was wearing some amazing pants (those look like they’re from LoudMouth Golf). Here’s another look. … After wearing 1970s throwback uniforms last Saturday, Houston Baptist wore 1980s throwback uniforms in last night’s victory over Lamar. The Huskies are celebrating their 50th season this year and announced their 1960s and 1970s All-Decade Teams last week and the 1980s team last night. Here is a link to a gallery from the game (big thanks to Russ Reneau). He adds, “I have attached a photo of senior guard Tyler Russell that shows the uniform pretty well and a photo of Anicet Lavodrama that shows the road version of (last) night’s uniform back in the 80s. The only difference is the number was centered to conform to NCAA standards, so we can wear them again.”
Grab Bag: Looks like George Washington Lacrosse has new helmets with skyline graphics (thanks to Jared Buccola). Also from Jared: Possible new lax uni’s for Maryland? And this: a confirmed new helmet for Notre Dame, “better bring your sun glasses,” he adds. … Heh. “The Onion goes Uni Watching,” writes Douglas Ford, as he sends in this uni-related spoof article. … I don’t watch staged, fake sports (aside from maybe the Pro Bowl for a couple plays) so this is news to me, but Josh Claywell points out the logo for WrestleMania 32 in Dallas next year. … A Connecticut brewery says it will rename Gandhi-Bot beer, according to John Dankosky, due to a “kerfuffle over offensive marketing.” … Couple of racing items from David Firestone: The story about how Jeff Gordon’s Rainbow Warrior scheme came to be, and at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Delta Wing, a brand new design debuted. David adds, “Sadly, transmission issues kept it from winning. I’m watching all 24 hours.” … Oooohhh, check out this beautiful 1950’s Wash. St. Letter Sweater and jacket and this anti-Ducks homecoming float (from Jeff Hunter).
Whew! That’s going to do it for today. Fantastic stuff from Rob and Leo, and thanks to the concepters, Alex, and all you fine readers and submitters as well. Enjoy the NHL All Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl Today, or whatever it is you may be watching.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“[I]f you think you should wear a horrendous looking jersey just because you’re on a winning streak, or if you refuse to wear a great looking throwback because you used to have a bad record when you wore them…then you deserve to lose.”