GLENS FALLS -- Here comes the Adirondack Thunder.
It started with the decision to change the name. It wasn’t a case of just picking between the Adirondack Flames and Adirondack Thunder.
Part of the reason was to be clear that they weren’t trying to present a lower level behind an American Hockey League brand, said Brian Petrovek, Adirondack team president.
Once Calgary Sports and Entertainment, which owns all of the teams involved, knew it was going with a new name, it started looking for other options.
The team headed by Petrovek, Brian Burke, Calgary president of hockey operations, and John Bean, Calgary COO, discussed many options before deciding to keep the name currently used in Stockton, California.
“If we’re going to change leagues, we should change looks,” Petrovek said. “The best way to establish a bold new identity and educate folks on an ECHL environment is to start fresh.”
Petrovek stressed the opportunity to take the history, tradition and value with the name and logo already associated with the ECHL in Stockton. The brand has been a part of the ECHL for 10 years and he wanted to respect that.
There is another team named Thunder in Wichita, Kansas, but that did not factor into the organization’s decision. That team is newer to the league, having joined last summer, whereas the Stockton, now Adirondack Thunder, are an older part of the league.
The logo is very similar to the one used in Stockton currently. The image of the god of thunder is the same stylized image, down to the flip of the beard. He holds a hockey stick in his right hand. The beard is red, however, instead of yellow.
The differences are in color and in the wordmark, the stylized word logo the team will use. Stockton’s logo uses a lightning bolt-like ‘N.’ Adirondack’s logo features a lightning bolt through the ‘T.’ The word “Adirondack” is also a different font, but similar color.
The yellow and red are in keeping with both the Adirondack Flames and Calgary Flames’ team colors. Calgary plans to maintain that theme throughout its now three hockey teams. When it owned two hockey teams, Calgary typically modeled its AHL team after itself, usually using the name Flames.
Now that it owns three teams, the organization is following the model used by its other three teams.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment also owns a National Lacrosse League team, Calgary Roughnecks, a junior hockey team, Calgary Hitmen, and a Canadian Football League team, Calgary Stampeders. Those three teams all incorporate red but have different brands.
Burke wanted a bold and aggressive image and the god of thunder certainly fits that criteria.
The secondary logo of the god’s head and the wordmark come right out of the logo.
The mascot as well will be the same image, but a bit less aggressive.
“Obviously, the character will have a friendly touch to it as mascots need to in this day and age,” Petrovek said.
So far, fans seem to like the logo itself but not love the idea of buying new jerseys.
Barry Solberg, of Schuylerville, drove up to Glens Falls just for Wednesday afternoon’s announcement at the Bullpen Tavern. He didn’t expect to like Thunder, but came around when he saw the imagery.
“It sounds better than Stockton Thunder,” he said.
Carol Moier, of South Glens Falls, sat at the bar at The Bullpen with her friend Bonnie George, of Glens Falls, listing off the apparel they have from all the teams that have come through town. They’ll be in line for this one, too, when merchandise is available after the season ends.
It a delicate balancing act for the Adirondack front office going forward, but one of imbalance. The primary focus is still on the current team, but they will also be laying the groundwork for the new team.
Team employees will have two business cards to give out depending on which team they are talking about. The new website, however, will not be launched until after what Petrovek hopes will be a long playoff run. Even ticket sales will be advertised on a portion of the Adirondack Flames website.
The Flames will continue to sell merchandise for the rest of the season, and if they make the playoffs they will have a small playoff line as well. But Petrovek wants to produce a Thunder puck they can add to the merchandise. One fan, Dan Morency (@dmoe1980), suggested on Twitter “any rebranding is nothing but a money grab by Petrovek.” But the organization will lose money rebranding the whole arena and marketplace.
Every place there is a Flames logo currently will need to be changed to the Thunder. By keeping a similar color scheme, they do not need to repaint and carpet the whole office and dressing room, but everything else has to be done. It starts with new business cards and a new website and continues to the logo at center ice and in the middle of the dressing room.
Petrovek said teams typically don’t break even on merchandise until the second year. His organization is in its first year ... again.
Read Diana C. Nearhos’s blog daily at poststar.com/flames and follow her on Twitter @dianacnearhos.