Mar 172014
 

Despite the record, this 2013-14 season was good in terms of exposure. Promotions, sponsorships, and marketing have helped us get the highest average attendance in five seasons. But this first season in the WCHA was also a learning experience on and off the ice.

However, I have some suggestions.

I’m not going to talk about things I’d like to see in terms of players and coaching — I’m certainly not qualified beyond the obvious. We need to score more goals. ANALYSIS!

Instead, I want to focus on what I’d like to see in the coming years, things that will make UAH hockey look better. And looking better can help us become better. Consider this friendly advice from a longtime fan, supporter, and alum.

Home jerseys with more blue

Craig Pierce

To paraphrase a 1980s Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the blue?!” (Photo by Jazzmine Jordan)

I recently had lunch with a close friend of mine, and the topic turned to UAH hockey. She’s not what you’d call a sports fanatic, but she was at a game in January when they were handing out blue-and-white pom-poms. During the game, she found it very odd that she was waving a blue pom-pom when it seemed the only blue was being worn by the other team (Lake Superior State).

I don’t want to be too down on whoever designed the home jerseys this season, because I’m sure they are proud of their creation. However, the first line of our fight song is “We are the Chargers who wear blue and white,” but you wouldn’t know by looking at them. The problem: Too much black. I don’t mind a little black for the accent (over our history we’ve had silver, light blue, and red as accent colors), but the primary color of The University of Alabama in Huntsville is royal blue, and that color was marginalized in our own building.

These jerseys have pride in their blue and white. (Photo by Gemini Athletic Wear)

These jerseys have pride in their blue and white. (Photo by Gemini Athletic Wear)

In contrast, our road jerseys were beautiful. They are a bright royal blue, both bold and traditional. It seemed every where the Chargers went, the opposing team’s beat writers or announcers heaped praise on the road blues. When The Hockey News showcased UAH in January, the photo was of the road blue, not the home white. Uni Watch mentioned the road jersey when I submitted it for their hockey news ticker, but I did not see a repeat for the home. Maybe they were as underwhelmed as I was.

So why not tweak the home jerseys to match better with what the boys wear on the road? Here’s what I suggest:

uah_home_jersey_design_MNThese aren’t as different from this year’s home jerseys as you might think. There are only three changes:

1. The “UAH” is block to match the “Alabama Huntsville” font on the road jerseys. (It could also say “Alabama Huntsville” or “Chargers.” I kind of like “UAH” at home and “Alabama Huntsville” on the road, mostly because folks in Huntsville say “UAH,” while people outside of Huntsville call us “Alabama Huntsville.”)

2. The horse logo is replaced with the jersey number, just like the road jerseys.

3. Except for the shoulder horseshoe, the blue and the black are inverted, so that blue is the main color and black is the accent.

I think these would look so much better. Heck, even if only No. 3 happened to the current design, I think it would be an improvement.

Geof thinks using the official school logo on the front would be a cool idea:

uah_home_jersey_design_newlogo_MNI think I prefer the block lettering, but I am not opposed to this (it is slick). Either way, as the final line of our fight song says, let’s “have pride in your BLUE and white!”

More banners from the rafters, er, wall

I study UAH hockey history. For uahhockey.com I’ve done look-backs on the 1983 and 1998 national championships, and retrospectives on our histories with Bemidji State and the Alaska teams. I researched and expanded the record book when I worked in the sports information office back in the ’90s and on the side have been helping the sports information department expand the record book even more (it’s like 1995 all over again).

Quite simply, our history is under-represented at the VBC.

UAH's current banners at Propst Arena.

UAH’s current banners at Propst Arena.

Currently, the UAH corner of Propst Arena has three banners: The 1996 and 1998 NCAA Division II championships, and 25-year head coach Doug Ross. But we tend to say UAH five national championships when you count the three club championships of the 1980s. Those were important, because without them we don’t have the three banners we have now.

Then there are the accomplishments we’ve had since 1998, during our modern Division I era. We’ve won two College Hockey America regular season titles (2001 and 2003), plus two CHA tournament titles (2007 and 2010) and the NCAA tournament berths that came with them. They have banners at Spragins Hall, but not at the VBC.

So let’s fix this, and honor the teams that have done great things for UAH hockey and remind everyone what this program is capable of. (And show recruits, too!)

I propose we spruce up the UAH corner of the arena:

uah_banners_mock

A mockup of a proposed UAH wall of hockey honors. More championships means more banners. Those section markers are in the way — why are they so high? (Michael Napier)

On the left, there’s a WCHA banner with all the team logos. It seems every team in the league has something like this except us. It doesn’t have to be one big banner like I have in the photo, but it would be nice to have something. There was a time while we were in the CHA where there were placards with each team’s logo underneath one of the scoreboards — maybe that would be easier.

As for the Charger banners, this mockup goes for smaller banners than the ones we currently have so we can fit more. (Each Propst Arena tenant has its own corner to hang things, so we can’t decorate the whole place.) We have one for each national championship, conference regular season championship, and tournament championship (plus the Doug Ross banner).

If cost is an issue, we could combine the 2001 and 2003 banners, as well as the 2007 and 2010 banners. They don’t have to be pointed at the bottom, and they don’t need colored borders — these were just to make the mockups as cool as possible. Whatever works to expand our presence in the arena. We could auction off the original banners. And I’m willing to chip in on this in addition to my regular Blue Line Club dues. (I’m not kidding.)

I hope the powers that be can read this and take my advice under consideration. Even if my suggestions are completely ignored, I can’t wait for October. I’m looking forward to watching this program rise.

But seriously, MORE BLUE, LESS BLACK.

Michael Napier ’97