By Phil Hecken
A couple weeks ago, Paul ranked the best dressed cities in American sports for ESPN. In the Uni Watch comments that day, it was suggested that a Canadian power ranking might be in order — only it would be up to UW readers to create such a beast. My buddy, Mike Engle approached me about setting something like this up, and an idea was born. I solicited volunteers who would be interested in participating in this undertaking, and basically handed the rest of the project off to Mike, who spearheaded the rest of it. (About all I did was to create the inline images below — click on each to enlarge.) It was a yeoman undertaking, and I’m now pleased to present the results of his efforts today. So, without further ado, here’s Mike.
Canada Power Ranking
by Mike Engle
A while back, when Paul was on vacation from the blog and when Phil was minding the store on the weekdays, Paul published his “Power Rankings by City” on ESPN. As the only Canadian city with enough teams for Paul to play with, Toronto actually did quite well. While I was disappointed the Expos don’t exist anymore to team up with the Habs for a great score, a fellow Uni Watcher suggested we make a Canadian edition. Great idea!
With Paul’s blessing and Phil’s encouragement, I rounded up ten volunteers for my Canadian power ranking focus group. We decided upon the leagues to cover: NHL, CFL, major juniors, MLS, MLB, and NBA. Not enough of us nominated lacrosse (hopefully the sport gets big enough to consider it in the future), while I decided to restrict it to teams that draft, so that kept the major juniors in, but kept the AHL and indie baseball out. From there, I also eliminated the CFL’s third jersey program from consideration (it’s an absolute joke across the board), and restricted all other teams to “normal” home/away/third wardrobes, so Memorial Cup host jerseys, teddy bear toss jerseys, and Pinktober jerseys were all left out. Finally, we agreed upon “civic areas” in order to include more teams: Missisauga is with Toronto, Blainville-Boisbriand is with Montreal, Gatineau is included with Ottawa as a part of “the Ottawa valley,” and that’s it. For Saskatchewan, only the Regina Pats were used because the Riders are in Regina, so the three other WHL teams in Sask are out. We didn’t unite Brandon with Winnipeg either: just too far away, even though Manitoba only has that one WHL team.
I composed a Survey Monkey form for the volunteers to write out. We marked everything from 1 to 10 (we don’t have half-numbers) and gave comments as desired. I asked respondents to identify spots to give bonus points or deductions, but ultimately I decided against any bonus points. For better or for worse, I am waiving my leader’s privilege to unilaterally nudge results with the bonus points””the group’s results (n=11) shall stand. Add up all the marks, and then divide by the number of teams in the city, and that’s the city’s power ranking! All comments are by me (–MBE) except where as explicitly quoted to others.
Let me introduce the panel to you, in no particular order:
1. Brian Kallion is an information technology professional from Toronto and living in Missisauga. His favorite team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he’s still willing to admit that the Montreal Canadiens have his favorite uniform. His favorite Tim Hortons doughnut is the chocolate dip.
2. Tyler Piechota is a student from and living in Montreal. He’s a Habs fan, and that’s his favorite uniform not just to root for, but to look at too. His favorite doughnut is the maple dip.
3. Rydell Commisso is a hairstylist from and living in Woodstock, ON. His favorite team is the Leafs, but he gives special props to the New York Islanders’ threads. He likes the Boston Cream doughnut.
4. Brad Premberg is a geoscientist from and living in Calgary. His favorite team is the Calgary Flames, and as his favorite uniforms, he identifies the Colorado hockey Rockies, the 1970’s Atlanta Falcons, the Washington Bullets (I’m gonna guess more Elvin Hayes than Juwan Howard –MBE), and the 1969 Expos. He lost his appetite for Timmy’s doughnuts ever since they sold out to Wendy’s and stopped baking in house.
5. Ty Rabel is a firefighter from and living in Calgary. He’s a Flames fan, but won’t touch doughnuts: “That’s a cop thing. ;-)”
6. Will Leslie is a customer service manager living in Stony Plain, AB (near Edmonton), but originally from Orillia, ON (north of Toronto). Roots for the Leafs, and loves their current third jersey from 1967. His favorite Timmy’s doughnut is the Canadian Maple, which is a Boston Creme but with vanilla and maple frostings instead of chocolate on top.
7. Wade Heidt is a home insurance professional living in Vancouver, but originally from Regina, SK. Too many favorite uniforms for him to list for all sorts of reasons, but his favorite teams are the Sask Roughriders (the green ones) and the Vancouver Canucks and Whitecaps. His doughnut of choice is the maple cream.
8. An anonymous participant who left no comments except for number grades.
9. Mike Garritsen is electrical engineer from Edmonton, but living in Kitchener, ON. He is a season ticket holder to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and a die-hard Leafs fan. His favorite jerseys belong to the Leafs (his first jersey), and the Oilers and Eskimos from his childhood. Favorite doughnut is the Boston Cream.
10. Charles Fisher is a law enforcement agent who lives “in the bush” (never heard that one before –MBE) between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. He roots for the Winnipeg Jets and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but his favorite uniform is the Quebec Nordiques. Special Uni Watch honorable mentions to the Blackhawks, Blue Jays, Celtics, and Chelsea. His favorite doughnut is the apple fritter.
11. Yours truly, Mike Engle. I’m actually not Canadian (from New Orleans, LA, but live on Long Island, NY, where I am a law and MBA student), but I am a proud alumnus of McGill University and a diehard Habs fan. I’ve always loved the Habs’ look, and I’ve been a Ken Dryden fan since I knew what hockey and who he was. My favorite doughnut was never a year-round Timmy’s staple when I lived in Montreal, but I would always order the maple-dipped honey cruller whenever I saw it. And oh yeah, pumpkin spice is amazing too.
Now, let’s reveal our Canadian edition of the Uni Watch power rankings by city! We’ll take the cities in order, from best to worst.
1. Edmonton >> NHL Oilers (9.09) + CFL Eskimos (7.27) + WHL Oil Kings (7.73) = 24.09; /3 = 8.03
Our consensus crowns Edmonton as the decisive winner, taking the cake with a great Oilers package and stellar home and road uniforms for the WHL Oil Kings. I would concur with Rydell Commisso’s comment that “You can still see the ghost of Gretzky skating around in those current/original uniforms, barely any tweaks at all.” Meanwhile, if the Eskimos were to tweak their white jerseys and if the Oil Kings were to get rid of their overly-modern youth-pandering black and neon green set, the score would have been even higher.
2. Toronto >> NHL Maple Leafs (8.55) + CFL Argonauts (8.55) + OHL Missisauga Steelheads (6.00) + MLB Blue Jays (9.36) + NBA Raptors (6.64) + MLS Toronto FC (6.36) = 45.46; /6 = 7.58
The Toronto Blue Jays busted out of their lame BFBS uniforms with an out-of-the-park grand slam…even if the Skydome’s roof were closed, this one would still have gotten hit literally out of the park. Yes, the consensus loves the Jays’ look that much, and the Leafs and Argos are similarly unimpeachable.
Moving on from the GTA heavyweights, general consensus is that while TFC just kind of exists, “(I’m paraphrasing here –MBE) the Raptors should look good in their new duds, because thank goodness purple and the dinosaur are gone…but can we have a mulligan on the name please?” Meanwhile, the Missisauga Steelheads, for better or for worse, use Leafs uniforms with different logos. Some people liked that, and some didn’t. Charles Fisher with the money quote after their recent crest change: “The fish looks merely worried instead of terrified, so it’s a step in the right direction.”
3. Regina >> CFL Roughriders (6.55) + WHL Pats (7.55) = 14.10; /2 = 7.05
Consensus says that the Regina Pats might possibly look a little dated, but it’s their timeless tradition and it’s fine to stay. The Roughriders though…we think the basic kelly green and white are great, and Tyler Piechota and I would each give a bonus point for the fans’ watermelon rind hats, but we fielded a lot of complaints about the Riders’ template. The Riders have the same problem that the Denver Broncos have, in that their template locks pants and jerseys together without room for mixing and matching. Unfortunately, the Riders’ template “promotes” monochrome, and while green on green is just horrific, white jerseys over green pants, or vice versa, looks obviously wrong here.
4. Montreal >> NHL Canadiens (9.55) + CFL Alouettes (5.73) + QMJHL Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (6.55) + MLS Impact (6.09) = 27.92; /4 = 6.98
There are few if any objective facts in athletic aesthetics, but “the Habs look great” might be one, and you’d know it when our Leafs fans here can’t say anything else nice about the Habs. All the other teams are all over the place though, and no team in the whole survey more so than the Alouettes. For instance, Wade Heidt thinks the Als’ design is way too busy, and I happen to agree with him, but Brad Premberg cuts the Als some slack by working with the red/white/blue spectrum. Don’t believe the anecdotes? The Alouettes have one 3 and two of each score from 4 to 8. That covers more range than a Tim Tebow pass attempt!
Meanwhile, let’s talk about the Armada. Some of us like the simplistic black and white design with a striking third, but I hate it all. This team used to be maroon when it played within the Montreal metro system, and the Armada should have kept it somehow””not just for franchise continuity, but because that same year, the Gatineau Olympiques ended their orange and purple experiment and went back to black and silver. Mike Garritsen thinks the alternate “is creative and looks great,” and while I’d probably like it as a Memorial Cup host’s special jersey, it doesn’t fit as a permanent third for my tastes and I think the Armada should blow it up and start over.
Brian Kallion names Montreal as “Probably the best overall looking city,” and I wish I would let myself flex some homer muscle to give my old university town the bronze medal, but let’s move on. I’m having a hard enough time staying disciplined and keeping the departed Expos out of this exercise, which would make Brad Premberg and me smile immensely.
5. Ottawa >> NHL Senators (5.45) + CFL RedBlacks (5.73) + OHL Ottawa 67’s (8.73) + QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques (5.73) = 25.64; /4 = 6.41
Consensus loves Ottawa barberpoles (both black and white). We think the 67’s look fantastic and that the Senators should promote the thirds and resurrect the Heritage Classic in Vancouver look as the full-time design. Consensus also complained that the Gatineau Olympiques look too much like the LA Kings, but I refuse to dock them for that. Bruce McNall wanted a new look for his Kings after buying the team, and Luc Robitaille lobbied for his junior silver and black. It’s just now coming full circle because NHL teams drive templates. As for the CFL team, Will Leslie reasons, “Once you get over the RedBlacks name … oh wait, I can’t.”
6. Hamilton >> CFL Tiger-Cats (8.36) + OHL Bulldogs (4.45) = 12.81; /2 = 6.405
I’ll let Tyler Piechota speak for us all in a nutshell: “A tale of opposites: Cats and Dogs. The Ti Cats rock the classic black and yellow stripes to perfection while the Bulldogs seem to have thrown every Reebok gimmick they could on their cluttered jerseys.”
But can I slam the Bulldogs a bit more? Thanks. They have a great standard crest, as you can see in the picture here. They also used to be the Belleville Bulls, whose old black gold and red would have looked great next to the Ti-Cats. And just fusing those two elements together would have been just fine by me. But no. These Bulldogs picked up the old Habs’ farm team’s jerseys as the now-St. John’s IceCaps left them, but just replaced the Habs logos on the shoulders. Instead, it’s the AHL Bulldog’s 10th anniversary logo from 2006 (the bones make a Roman X for 10) on the left and a harkback H (from an outdoor game) on the right. The OHL Bulldogs literally chose not to design new uniforms. This is the equivalent of a kid stealing his big brother’s university essay for a high school class, and I caught it. I gave the Bulldogs a technical 1 on plagiarism, which just happened to bring Hamilton five thousandths lower than Ottawa. Je ne regrette rien.
7. Winnipeg >> NHL Jets (7.00) + CFL Blue Bombers (5.73) = 12.73; /2 = 6.365
Comments were all over the place for Winnipeg. The Jets have a mean, median, and mode of 7, but with comments ranging from boring to underwhelming to high marks, and even a “should have gone throwback” for good measure. Meanwhile, the Bombers are bimodal at 5 and 7, with a range from 1 to 8 and equal praise and criticism for not having a white jersey. Trying to find a consensus would be futile. Let’s move on.
8. Vancouver >> NHL Canucks (6.18) + CFL Lions (7.27) + WHL Giants (4.91) + MLS Whitecaps (6.82) = 25.18; /4 = 6.295
The Whitecaps, in a “world’s tallest midget” contest, have Canada’s best MLS kits, and they also happen to have my favorite MLS badge. The Lions have no gimmicks, just a solid bright orange color that is generally judiciously used (read: no monochrome that I’ve ever seen) and classic white elements without funky piping. Consensus appears to appreciate the Canucks’ return to blue and green, but with so many different throwback looks, there is a lot of real estate for reasonable differing opinions. Wade Heidt dislikes the radial arch city name over the orca, as well as the sorry execution of carrying over the orca from navy to now. I happen to agree with him on both counts. As for the Giants, Mike Garritsen hates the “really fast (or melting) maple leaf” on their shoulders, and I love that I’m not alone there.
9. Calgary >> NHL Flames (5.00) + CFL Stampeders (5.45) + WHL Hitmen (5.36) = 15.81; /3 = 5.27
Bringing up the rear, every other city has stampeded over Calgary in the All-Canada by city power rankings. Ty Rabel lobbies for the Hitmen to reinstate pink, as the inaugural team sported in Bret “The Hitman” Hart’s original vision. That would be a unique color, and last year, the Hitmen gave us a taste of what that would look like in their 20th anniversary season. As it stands, Calgary just has too much black and not enough life. Sorry, Cowtown.
OK friends, how did we do? What do you think we got right or wrong…or shall I say, where are our eh’s and F’s? What’s your favorite element that we didn’t mention yet? I’ll share mine: I love that Youppi got adopted by the Habs as the Expos were going to leave him behind, and I hope you don’t call that a homer move on my end.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
I usually run this feature on the weekends, but since I’m running the show during Paul’s sabbatical this month, I’ll probably (or at least as long as guys submit to me) run these once a week during August. Just two today, from Chris from ManCave and Bruce Menard (who technically doesn’t have a colorization, but it’s going in here anyway).
Click photos to enlarge.
First up is Chris:
Today I give you a couple of intense stares from the 1911 White Sox battery of Ed Walsh and Billy Sullivan, taken in their road uniforms at the Polo Grounds.
And here’s one from Bruce:
OK. I didn’t have any sort of full-blown colorization ready…but I did finish a cool restoration/color edit of the August 1925 cover of Baseball Magazine.
I changed the uniform colors for Zack Wheat (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Frankie Frisch (New York Giants). The original cover was red/grey, way off! Plus, they were both wearing the 1925 N.L. Golden Jubilee Patch (which I colorized from grey to the correct blue/yellow). As if that weren’t enough, Wheat is also wearing the memorial armband for the passing of Charles Ebbets. So there’s tons of uni-fun on that cover.
That’s it for today. Great job Chris & Bruce!
for the Ticker
We haven’t heard from my buddy Jimmy Corcoran (son of pro football’s James Sean Patrick “King” Corcoran), who frequently regales us with insightful and hilarious anecdotes about his dad’s life in the WFL and (and other leagues). Jimmy saw the photo I included in a ticker last week showing NFL helmet carts. He’s back today with another beaut and it’s simply too good for the ticker.
How are you Phil? I saw this picture you posted of those classic NFL helmet buggies, brought back some fun memories.
The World Football League may not have had enough money to pay their players but they did have helmet buggies. The Bell’s helmet buggy was parked underneath the stadium right next to the locker room by a large cage that had this mangy old nasty German Shepherd named Devil that would guard the inside of the stadium at night. I just remember how spotless clean the helmet buggy was all the time and after practice I would sit in it. I thought since my father seemed to be the Mayor around that place he could give me a ride in it. One day after his meeting I asked him if he would give me a ride in it, we were walking right by it on the way to the locker room. He said “Jimbo, why would you want to ride in a go cart when you can ride in the King’s custom Lincoln?” I said can’t we just go for one ride? He said “I’d like to help you out Jimbo but I don’t have the keys.”
One night before a game there were a couple of college guys who were in charge of driving it around the stadium, they asked me if I wanted a ride? I was like “are you kidding? let’s go!” I got in the front by the facemask, we went around the stadium, I was 10 years old and this was funner than the rides at Disney World to me. I didn’t care how may TD’s the King had thrown and totally neglected my ball boy duties I was finally getting a ride in the Philadelphia Bell helmet buggy!
One time my father told me Devil got loose at practice and all the players were running for safety, he said a couple of players jumped on the roof of the helmet buggy, I was like “please tell me they didn’t crush the roof of it in?” The buggy survived and anytime those guys saw me under the stadium before a game they would give a ride, sometimes there would be a Bell Cheerleader in there too.
Thanks, Jimmy! Great stuff.
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Compiled by Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: A’s players had different hosiery styles (including faux-stirrups, green socks and pajama pants) against the Diamondbacks yesterday (from Alexander Benezra). … The Braves laid the first brick for the construction of their new park a few days ago, and everyone, including team officials, wore Braves hard hats (from Willard Kovacs). … The Pirates wore their alternate jerseys for their team photo (from John Dankosky). … The Nationals cancelled a Jayson Werth bobblehead giveaway (from Tommy Turner). … Fun fact, if you didn’t know: The White Sox were the first team to have separate BP uniforms (from Marc Viquez). … The Orioles are giving away Steve Pearce bobbleheads that have prominent rope necklaces (from Andrew Cosentino). … Jay Jones sends in a photo of Cal Ripken Jr. in an Orioles basketball uniform. The photo was taken at a charity game in Crisfield, Md., in 1988. … Cubs manager Joe Maddon had his players wear pajamas when flying home from Los Angeles last night (from Dave Flapan). … While Pirates players wear matte batting helmets, their bat boys do not (from Patrick O’Neill). … Word is that MLB teams will wear this hat patch for games on September 11.
NFL News: The NFL Competition Committee is looking at addressing receiver gloves. Key quote from the piece, from John Madden: “I saw them when I was at a meeting in Indy. They passed them around and somebody made the comment that, ”˜Pretty soon, these gloves are going to be able to catch a ball without a hand in them.’” (from Nick Burczyk). … Here are two very similar NFL logo soda displays, one from Murphy, N.C. and another from the east side of Cleveland (from Blake Pass and Samuel Selker, respectively). … The Vikings will wear a memorial helmet decal for a stadium construction worker who died this week (from John Herrick). … Here’s a piece on the baseball caps Seahawks players wear on the sideline after being removed from the game (from John Kimmerlein).
College & High School Football News: Virginia Tech will wear orange helmets with memorial decals for Alison Parker and Adam Ward against Ohio State next Monday (from Andrew Cosentino). … South Carolina will have a helmet memorial decal for the Charleston shooting victims. Here’s another look at the design (from Phil). … New uniforms for UConn. … New white unis for Stony Brook, with a NOB (from Phil). … New orange helmet and uniform for Idaho State. … Oklahoma is now using the Nike Mach Speed uniform design (from Andrew Roberts). … Louisville will wear these helmets on Saturday (from Phil). … “I thought you might enjoy these illustrations I did of all 36 Washington State uni combos,” says Michael Spielman. “I don’t think any other school in the nation has more mix-and-match pieces than WSU ”” and I didn’t even include their light gray jerseys since they haven’t worn them in a couple years.” … New gray turf for Pine Lake Preparatory, a high school in Mooresville, N.C. (from Thomas Berlin). … Iowa (Louisiana) High School is remembering Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent with a helmet sticker. He was an Iowa native that was murdered last week on the job (from Chris LaHaye). … Two Michigan high schools faced each other wearing Wolverine-themed helmets (from Chet Miller).
Soccer News: Florida Gulf Coast signed a deal with Inaria, a sportswear company that is also looking to break into the MLS (from Phil). … Following Thursday’s Champions League draw, German Bundesliga team Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach unveiled a new shirt for the competition (from Bernd Wilms). … Florida is going with a retro look for its home opener. … The North Carolina women’s team wears a Dean Smith memorial patch (from James Gilbert).
Grab Bag: Look at all the logos that these rural Alabama high schools have borrowed/stolen. Dustin Semore tallied it up. From the NFL, there’s the Falcons, Panthers (two schools), Bears, Broncos, Packers and Patriots. From NCAA, there’s Arizona, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga (three schools), Missouri (“The black logo between the Atlanta Falcons and ‘CHS’ logo appears to be an all-black Missouri Tiger logo,” he says. “Hard to tell thanks to the shading, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”). Then there’s the MLB’s Tigers and the NHL’s Panthers. “Point being, out of 26 schools in a three-county radius, only 10 have at least semi-unique logos,” he says. “Let’s bust out the art programs and create our own identity, guys!” … After Graham Hill retired from the 1968 French Grand Prix, he sportingly offered Swiss driver Jo Siffert his visor, when Siffert found it hard to see due to the heavy rain that was falling during the race (from Graham Clayton).
And that’s going to do it for today — and for me, the end of my monthly August run. Thanks to Mike Engle for putting together that Canadian City Uni Ranking project, Chris from ManCave for the colorization, Jimmy for the great story, and Mike for handling today’s ticker. I wish I could say I’m completely done with the UW weekdays, but I’ll be handling tomorrow’s ticker when Paul (rightfully and thankfully) returns to running the weekday show.
I hope you guys enjoyed what I was able to bring your way this past month — even with a bunch of guest entries, it was still a struggle, but I did it; it just shows to go you how much Paul puts into this blog each and every weekday for 11 months of the year (in my defense, I do have a full-time office job). Still, it’s amazing how much Paul can churn out (plus his ESPN work, and assorted and sundry other projects).
I want to thank everyone for the help, understanding and patience. Also, a big thanks to Mike Chamernik for his great work on the tickers (and one lede) this month, and webmaster Johnny Ekdahl for handling all the weekends. Tip of the cap to you sirs!
I’ll be taking my own “vacation” over Labor Day weekend (when college football kicks off), but I’ll be back in the saddle on weekends right after that: I’m pleased that my “Sunday Morning Uni Watch” crew will return mostly in tact, with Terry Duroncelet handling the uni shenanigans and Tim E. O’Brien back tracking the Ducks. Unfortunately, Catherine Ryan will no longer be able to continue with the 5 & 1 (she’s a full-time lawyer now, dontcha know, so I know she’s going to be more than busy with that — and she promised to return here and there, and will likely be an Olympic Correspondent next summer!). She’ll be replaced by Joe Ringham, who I’m sure will bring his own style and panache to the task. The usual stuff (colorizations, scoreboards, concepts) will also return, and I’m hopeful Rob Holecko’s UWFFL will be back as well. No matter what, it’s going to be a full lineup this fall. Can’t wait for football to start!
On that note — thanks again everyone. Can’t wait for Paul to get back in the saddle. Till then,
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
” A good team is a good team (and a bad team is a bad team) no matter what it’s wearing. And a good uniform is a good uniform (and a bad uni is a bad one) no matter how the team performs in it.”
— Paul Lukas