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Uni Watch Reader’s Logo to Make Long-Delayed ECHL Debut

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from longtime reader Doug Brei, who has a really sensational story about a long-delayed career milestone. Enjoy! — PL]

By Doug Brei

Back in November of 1992, I was the Director of Sales & Marketing for the ECHL hockey team now known as the South Carolina Stingrays. I was the first employee ever hired by the team, even before they were officially awarded the franchise. The team founders originally selected the name “Sharks,” and I designed the team’s original logo.

I went to the Charleston Public Library and checked out six or eight books on sharks. Children’s books, photo books, anything that had pictures of sharks. I picked out a couple photos I liked best and made some general sketches based on those photos. I showed those sketches to the owners, who picked out the one they liked best and asked me to refine it. I re-drew it at full size and took it to a graphic designer friend to “computerize” it.  That is the basis of what became the logo. (Unfortunately, I no longer have the original sketches.)

In January of 1993, we held a big press conference officially announcing the franchise, including our team name and logo (as seen in the newspaper story shown above). Our first batch of 288 T-shirts and 144 sweatshirts sold out in hours. I still have this one:

Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, who had come into existence two years earlier, sued us for using their team name. Our owners felt it was easier to change the name than to battle it out in court. So before the team had even played its first game, it was renamed as the Stingrays, which remains its name today.

By then I had left the team. The replacement logo they used was a modified version of my original, replacing my shark with a stingray. (I was told at the time that the new logo looked like a white blob with a palmetto tree stuck up its ass.) My original Sharks logo, sadly, never made it onto the ice.

Until now.

Next Saturday, Jan. 27, the Stingrays are holding a “Sharks Night” promotion. For that night’s game, against the Wichita Thunder, they’re going to play one game as the South Carolina Sharks, wearing sweaters bearing the original logo I designed over 30 years ago. It’s been a long time coming, but for me it’s pretty special!

When judged by today’s design standards, my Sharks logo may be somewhat dated, but I’m still pretty proud of it. Nowadays, even teams in the lowest levels of the minor leagues use professional design firms for their logos, but by the early-’90s standards of the ECHL (a league that included the Toledo Storm, voted as having the worst logo in hockey history), my design isn’t bad!


Paul here. I love this story so much! Please join me in congratulating Doug on his logo finally making its very belated on-ice debut.

Incidentally, while this logo may only be used for one night, the Alaska Baseball League logo that Doug designed in 2004 is still their official league logo and still appears on every baseball used in the ABL! You can learn a bit more about that here.




ITEM! An Interview With the King of NHL Ice Design

I’ve long been a fan of the great website, which documents the history of hockey ice graphics, including center-ice logos, red lines, and more. For this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack, I have an extensive interview with the site’s founder, David Crabtree, who’s almost certainly the world’s foremost scholar of ice designs.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you full access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration.




ITEM! A New Membership Raffle

Reader Brandon Grimm ordered a membership card for himself yesterday and also generously donated funds to cover an additional card for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle in-box by 9pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Brandon for sponsoring this one!



Too Good for the Ticker

Oh man, is that an awesome illustration or what? It’s from an old scrapbook that a hockey blogger recently received as a gift. Full details here.

(Big thanks to Chris Mizzoni for letting me know about this one.)



Mascot Watch

Yesterday brought about a development I’d long been dreading: Uni Watch boy mascot Waffles figured out how to get up on the living room mantel, which is populated by all sorts of rare and fragile treasures. This was never a problem with former Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin (R.I.P.), because she was too old and small to jump that high, but Waffles is full of beans and also has what we might politely call boundary issues, so I knew it was just a matter of time.

Anyway, I shooed him down and also took a few steps to make it harder for him to get back up there, but that’s gonna be a losing battle in the long run. Looks like I’ll have to redecorate. Sigh.



Can of the Day

So much to like here — the white arrow at the top, the all-lowercase lettering, the silhouetted boat, the wake represented by the simple white triangle. Very nice!

Comments (28)

    Re: Cat boundary issues.

    I’m sure you know this, but a small spray bottle of water is for behavioral modification.

    What a great story about the logo appearing on the ice after 30 years. That Shell can is sensational. As for the mascot discovering the mantle piece, it is time for rubber items to populate that space I guess.

    Congratulations Doug! That’s awesome!

    Love the hockey-centric content today!

    How can you tell the world isn’t flat? Cats haven’t pushed everything off the edge yet. Good luck with Waffles’ new adventures.

    Way cool lede today! Congrats, Doug! Had to be such an unexpected surprise, I can only imagine your giddiness when you heard. Congrats!

    Congrats Doug!
    I can only imagine how cool it would be to see a team wearing a logo that I designed on the ice!

    Waffles is clearly inspecting the items to determine the one that means the most to you – and to the floor it will go first, in traditional cat fashion.

    I am also a long time cat owner. I have discovered “sanctioned field trips” have deterred my cats from going up on things that I don’t want them on. Basically, I hold them in my arms. I walk by, in your case, the mantel. We look. We don’t touch. Then after looking awhile, the cat gets bored and I set the cat down. After a few “field trips” the cat realizes nothing cat interesting is up there.

    I am not saying it works with every cat. But, it seems to work with the cats I have owned over the years.

    Paul, please be sure report back in a future Mascot Watch as to whether the “field trip” approach works for Waffles.

    My best guess is that a standard application is a half-pint per standard-sized gas tank, so the text would imply the can contains four applications.

    Interesting the Sharks/Stingrays used a Capitals Sweater as the template at the beginning of their history as well as today.

    Congrats, Doug!

    That hockey scrapbook is too cool! Bob Goldham was an analyst on HNIC when I was a kid. They frequently referred to him as being a great shot blocker in his playing days.

    While I love stingrays more than sharks, I love Doug’s Sharks logo way more than the Stingrays’.
    Congrats on the long awaited moment, Doug!

    Also love the Can of the Day. There’s a difference between minimalism (which I don’t like) and simplicity (which I like). This is a good simple design.

    I’m a HUGE fan of the current Stingrays logo! Sleek, modern, clean and not the proverbial cartoony mascot logo that so many minor league hockey and baseball teams resort to.


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