With all the talk of the Florida Panthers‘ success this year — breaking the 100-point mark for the first time in franchise history and clinching a playoff spot for just the second time in the last 15 years — it’s pretty much slipped under the radar that their logo and sweaters will be undergoing a complete redesign for the 2016-2017 season.
From a marketing standpoint, these changes couldn’t have come at a worse time. Having finally managed to recapture the hearts of an historically apathetic fan base, they’ll begin the 2016-2017 season by throwing that nostalgia directly into the nearest trash can, immediately distancing themselves from all of this year’s good feels.
From a design standpoint, though, the decision to move away from the organization’s original logo is even worse. Cat logos are notoriously difficult to pull off; aside from the style the Panthers currently use, cats usually only work well when presented as the profile of a growling face:
Attempts to draw them in almost any other fashion have long been met with comically disastrous results:
And as SportsLogos.net shows us, the Panthers’ rumored new look isn’t exactly putting that theory to rest.
What if the Panthers didn’t change their logo next season, though? What if they just tweaked some things, maybe kept the original logo, but made some changes to the sweaters?
Well, that’s my job around here, so I mocked up some concepts. You know, just in case some of the higher-ups in the organization finally came to their senses and realized they were making a terrible mistake.
This here’s a fancy website, so you can click the sweaters to make them bigger. And, as always, if you hate them, you can yell at me on Twitter.
It’s amazing to think that in 23 years, the Panthers haven’t had a set of home and road sweaters this simple. They’ve had all sorts of weird things going on with their shoulders and their elbows (and sometimes a combination of the two), but they’ve never gone with the basic striped elbow/empty shoulder look, employed by teams like the Rangers, Canadiens and Blackhawks.
The Panthers have also tried two different blue sweaters in the past, but I wanted to get away from that because (1) navy blue should never be more than an accent color, and (2) we don’t ever need to revisit the NHL’s Random Blue Era.
Listen, we can argue all day about whether college hockey sweaters are dope or not, but there’s only one correct answer: yes. They are, indeed, dope.
Sure, it’s a long shot, but just in case it ever snows in South Florida — I mean, it has happened before — we should be ready to host a Winter Classic, right?
For this, I went with a modified throwback, bringing back the diagonal shoulders from the inaugural sweaters, but combining it with an oversized logo and some old school stripes around the elbows and waist to give it a little of that 1950s look.
I know this looks ridiculous, but hear me out. The 90s were a weird time for all of us and nobody dove headfirst into the wackiness of the time period quite like the NHL.
If you’re not familiar with mid-90s NHL alternate sweaters, try to imagine getting really really high, opening one of your nephew’s coloring books, and then turning that whole experience into a hockey sweater.
The Mighty Ducks turned theirs into a cartoon; the Tampa Bay Lightning very literally wore rain and lightning on their chests; the Los Angeles Kings made Wayne Gretzky wear this; and then the St. Louis Blues very nearly made him wear this. We just weren’t the best versions of ourselves back then.
Unfortunately the Panthers missed out on that run and we’re all worse for it. Because there’s at least a 65% chance that what you see above could very well have been their actual alternate sweater.