Serious discussions of architecture don’t usually involve sporting venues. And when they do, the venues are usually baseball or football stadiums. So I was intrigued when I recently learned about a new-ish book called Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena. The book, which was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press last September, modestly posits that hockey arenas are “North America’s most important overlooked cultural buildings.”
”¨I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the author, Howard Shubert, an architectural curator who lives in Toronto, provides an entertaining look at the history of ice rinks dating back to the mid-1800s, and their role in the development of hockey as a powerhouse sport. Along the way, he provides dozens of excellent photos, illustrations, and architectural renderings.
The earliest ice rinks were famously known as “barns,” and some of the book’s illustrations make it clear just how barn-like many of the facilities were. Check out, for example, this 1862 illustration of Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal (for all the images that follow, you can click to enlarge):
But other configurations soon followed. One of my favorite images in the book is this cutaway illustration of Victoria Skating Rink in St. John:
Back in those days, hockey was a fledgling sport, competing for rink supremacy with other ice activities such as ice polo, ice baseball, and even ice bicycling. But enough of that old-timey stuff — you want to see something a bit more modern, right? How about this great 1966 photo of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, which was home to the short-lived California Golden Seals:
I also like this postcard of the St. Louis Arena, where the Blues played from 1967 through 1994:
And here’s a great brochure showing how the then-new Madison Square Garden would be built atop Manhattan’s Penn Station:
The book’s focuses mostly on North America, but there are a few overseas arenas shown as well, including the awesome-looking Palatzetto dello Sport, which was built for the 1960 Rome Olympics:
The book eventually looks at contemporary arenas with their modern amenities, and discusses the way the fan experience has changed at live events over the years, all of which is interesting but more familiar and therefore a bit less illuminating.
The publisher is clearly hoping to get some college textbook sales out of this title (presumably in architecture or cultural studies programs), because each chapter concludes with a little “What have we learned?” summary. There are a few other annoyances, like the footnotes all being buried at the end of the book. On the plus side, the book includes some useful tables showing, among other things, when various rinks and arenas were constructed, and the square footage of modern NHL arenas.
Overall: a recommended read for history-minded hockey fans and architecture geeks. Less essential for the casual fan, especially given the relatively hefty price tag. The book is available here.
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a free varsity-style satin jacket from Stewart & Strauss. Full details here.
Merch reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch social media avatar (shown at right, click to enlarge), designed by the great Larry Torrez, is now available on a variety of shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, and stickers. They’re all available here.
In case you’re wondering: The results of the Raiders-redesign challenge will be posted next week, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.
Click to enlarge
KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a leather jacket zipper pull whose design is based on the logo for a brand of drums. Check it out here.
Position available: Are you handy with graphic arts software? Do you have the patience to spend potentially large amounts of time on tedious, detail-driven work in return for relatively little money? Does dealing with lots of extremely nitpicky feedback from me sound like your idea of fun?
If you answered yes, yes, and yes, then perhaps we should talk. Here’s the deal: I’ve been thinking about launching a new creative project in the near future. It will not be a uni-related project, although it might appeal to some of you and I’ll promote it here on the site, among other places. The project will likely generate a small amount of cash (a couple of hundred bucks, say), although I’m pursuing it mostly for the creative satisfaction, not for the revenue.
In order to execute this project, I’ll need help from someone with graphic design skills. Specifically, I’m looking to convert color photos and/or scans (all of very simple images) into flat art files suitable for print reproduction. I’ve been told that this means I’ll need a “‘vectorization artist’ who can turn raster images into vector, and can trace these out and turn them into flat art.” I don’t even fully understand what that means. But if you do, drop me a line.
Naturally, the person I end up working with will be compensated, via either a flat fee or, more likely, a share of the eventual profits (which, again, will likely not be huge). Thanks for your consideration.
By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: The Cubs revealed, and handed out, their World Series rings. @BSmile points out that the ring has a billy goat on the inner shank, and @ih8nyy is surprised the Cubs mark on the ring is missing the trademark symbol like the logo on the uniforms. … The Nats wore their stars and stripes alts for Military Appreication Day yesterday (from Chris Howell). … The score bug on Rockies broadcasts this week have been using the yellow-and-white Padres “SD” logo, which was only used last year. The Pads are now back to solid white (from David Wishinsky). … The Riverton Railsplitters, a 14U team in New Jersey, wore retro-inspired jerseys last season. It looks like they took elements from the Astros, White Sox, and Blue Jays (from Bill Prendergast). … Even in the days before batting helmets, Ted Williams wore a shin guard (from John Mahoney). … The Erie SeaWolves will host an Alternative Facts Night in August. Fans will receive replica championship rings for the SeaWolves’ 2016 Eastern League title. Akron, that night’s opponent, actually won the league championship last year (from Kary Klismet). … Matt Goodwin found this 1998 New Era MLB hat chart the other day. … Reds INF Eugenio SuÃ¡rez has added an accent to his NOB. It wasn’t there in spring training (from Joanna Zweip). … Speaking of the Reds, INF Jose Peraza has been wearing a double-flapped batting helmet. … The Astrodome originally had a semi-transparent roof and real grass, but players complained about glare from the roof/ceiling, so the roof panels were painted over — and the grass soon died due to lack of sunlight, leading to the installation of Astroturf. Here’s a 1965 shot showing the original grass surface (from Corey Buck). … After wearing Wahoo caps for their home opener, Cleveland went with the block-C cap last night. They had previously announced that the block-C cap would be worn with the navy jersey at home.
NFL News: The Lions will unveil their new uniforms tonight. The unveiling will be live-streamed on the team’s Facebook page, with streaming set to begin at 8pm and the uniforms due to be revealed around 8:30. Paul will have an assessment on ESPN, probably around 9:45. … Investigative reporters with Sports Illustrated wrote a longform piece on Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey. Additional info on how they dealt with the story here. … Dale Earnhardt, a Washington fan, will drive a car with an Eagles paint scheme at Pocono in June. The NFL has a partnership with Earnhardt’s sponsor, Axalta Coating Systems, and Pocono is in Eagles country (from David Firestone). … Chris Borba sends in this cool old USFL pillowcase. … The players in the front row of this 1969 Eagles team portrait are all wearing green shoes. “Likely first team to wear non-black or -white shoes,” says @NFL_Journal.
Hockey News: The Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello has new team-themed skates for the playoffs (from @ch1088). … Matt Murray of the Penguins has new skates with a yellow stripe (from @redbuppy). … Babies born in two Washington hospitals will be given Caps-themed baby blankets and hats during the team’s playoff run (from William Yurasko). … The Blackhawks are giving away seven hats that were designed using Brent Seabrook’s jerseys (from Dan Thompson). … NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace has a St. Louis Blues racing helmet (from David Firestone). … Broadcaster Pierre McGuire said that the Kings’ slick black, silver, and white unis helped them win their Stanley Cups. I don’t disagree (from Alex). … New unis for North Carolina at Wilmington (from David Hoxie). … Wild LW Zach Parise has “Jeep” on his gloves. Zach’s father, J.P. Parise, was nicknamed Jeep. … Here’s an Instagram account that shows hockey jerseys reconfigured as basketball-style tank tops (from Casey Cherry).
Basketball News: A few of the Timberwolves’ new alternate logos and wordmarks have been found by Conrad Burry of SportsLogos.net. … Color-vs.-color in Cleveland last night as the Cavs wore their black sleeved alts against the Raptors, who wore red. Also, it’s a little hard to see because of the Getty watermark, but the Cavs wore fan appreciation warm-up shirts (from Zach Loesl). … The Celtics wore their grey sleeved unis at home for fan appreciation night, which doesn’t seem like a very appreciative thing to do (from @_cap22). … Jason Kidd wore a blue Bucks hat before last night’s game against the Celtics. “Great Lakes Blue” is one of the team’s official colors but is largely used as an accent (also from @_cap22). … The Magic’s new minor league team will be known as the Lakeland Magic. … Carmelo Anthony’s game towel is personalized with his No. 7 on it. He’s used his own distinctive gray towel for years (from Dan Gartland). … A Mormon missionary from Utah ran into a kid in Africa who was wearing his Junior Jazz jersey (from Benji King). … The basketball coach at Oral Roberts University was reportedly told by the school president not to recruit tattooed players.
Grab Bag: A team of researchers found out why shoelaces often come undone. They said that common shoelace-tying methods produce a weak knot that comes apart almost instantly when walking (from John Muir). … New Zealand rugby player Sonny Bill Williams will not have to wear logos from banks, alcohol brands, or gambling companies on his kit. Williams, a Muslim, made the request to not have to wear the ads, and Auckland Blues and New Zealand Rugby gave the okay (from Matthew Bonnett). … New logo for the 50th Milwaukee Summerfest. The fest is famous in part because of its iconic smile logo (from Kurt Crowley). … A Syracuse blog explored the Orange’s apparel deal with Nike across its entire athletics program (from Phil). … New name and logo for Fly Fishers International (from R. Scott Rogers).