Hi, and welcome to the American Hockey League.
We here at What The Hell Is Icing Industries have been immersing ourselves into the wonderful world of the NHL. But we’ve so far neglected the building blocks of this league. How can we even think to understand the finished product, before we see how it’s made? I’m a baseball guy, and the way I relate to things is by understanding farm teams. So, without further ado, let’s get to know the triple-A teams of the NHL.
Leading off are the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames). This is a two-fer because I don’t know where Abbotsford is, and I’m still bitter towards Calgary for moving the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights out of my hometown (after only two seasons) to the Quad Cities (they didn’t last long there either). And the Heat? Come on let’s get more creative. I played on middle school basketball team called the Heat. What about Abbotsford Hell-fire, Abbotsford Inferno, Abbotsford Skin-melters…
Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers) – Again, let me say this must be another city in Canada because this is a cool name for any team. [ED- We know this isn't ACTUALLY a city in Canada, but doesn't it totally seem like it should be? I imagine rustic cabins built on puffy clouds of snow... maple syrup and fresh, locally brewed beer. Maybe a doctor moves in from New York City, and laments the lack of bagels. There's a cool, hippy, philosophical DJ. And a female pilot, who's a bit cold, but has a heart of gold...] Phantoms are terrifying and haunt the shit out of things (plus Ben Affleck was the bomb in the movie!). This franchise use to play at the Spectrum in Philly before that facility was blown up.
Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils) – This is the first of several cases in which the farm team has the same name as the parent club. Albany, didn’t you used to be called the River Rats or something? The River Rats totally trumps sharing the same as your NHL affiliate. Change it back!
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators) – Sure, I could go after the fact they share a name with Ottawa, but look at their awesome logo. It looks like Joe from the Family Guy only with a five o’clock shadow and holding a hockey stick. Of all the AHL teams this is the best logo because it really captures the minor league spirit, gritty and desperate.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) – Now that’s what I’m talking about! Binghamton Senators who? Here’s a logo that’s so coo that I’m not even asking what the hell a Sound Tiger is. Congrats Bridgeport, Connecticut, you’ve got a cool name. (And probably a team that’s better than the one your partnered with.)
Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) – Alright, close proximity to your NHL team, check. Hockey reference in your name, check. Polar bear logo, check…wait, what in the Orlando Solar Bears (old International Hockey League team) is going on here? Sure, it’s a neat logo, but having lived in Florida for a year, I hear checkers and think about the fast food chain.
Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks) – There used to be a discussion, back when there was a team called the Atlanta Thrashers, was who was better in Chicago, the Wolves or Blackhawks. I don’t think that conversation goes on any more.
Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers) – The Hartford Whalers, they are not, but I give credit where credit is due, having another team with whale in their name is spectacular. I just hope that the brass bonanza is played at their games (true hockey fans get this).
Grand Rapid Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) – Teams that are in the same state as their big NHL brothers get props for me over those who are located much further away (looking your way Vancouver and Wolves). The Griffins have a strong logo, which I feel must give them an advantage on a nightly bases.
Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadians) – Seems like we’ve gone awhile since mentioning an AHL team based in Canada. Hamilton, as you know, is trying hard to acquire an NHL franchise (Ottawa and Toronto don’t want another team in Ontario). This logo I thought for a second was Minnesota-Duluth. Look it up… freaky close.
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) – Having a bear swatting away a hockey puck is pretty awesome, and for a team based in the chocolate capital, bravo for not going cartoony with this. However, the Hershey Choco Taco’s had potential or the Hershey Kisses, their value just wasn’t in intimidation.
Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) – This is cool because it’s not the archery kind of Aeros (see what I did there), but rather aeronomics… you know… flight. I award this long running franchise several creative points. The parent and minor league club are an odd match in my opinion given the distance, but I kinda like the odd couple vibe here.
Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche) – This may be the best logo of all the AHL franchises. Honestly, I kinda feel threatened by this logo, because I don’t know if this monster is stalking me, waiting for the kill, or if it’s just ashamed of it’s nose and so is hiding it under the water.
Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) – This Lion looks a little off kilter. But double points because looking a little unstable works for me. What doesn’t work is getting that great call saying you’ve been promoted and then having to commute from Manchester to LA. Holy frequent flier miles!
Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) – I really like this logo, but I also really liked their old logo from when they played in the IHL (it was an admiral wearing skates and holding a hockey stick. I always pictured the admiral falling, because how would he possibly know how to skate?)
Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning) – Alright yes, this name is appropriate given Norfolk, Virginia’s strong navy ties, but c’mon, Milwaukee beat you to this name. Aside: Geographically I have no problem with this, because it makes sense to me.
Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) – I give OKC credit for playing off their parent clubs name, because Oil Barons is perfect for this city. What I will say is that how is Oklahoma City not the AHL team for the Dallas Stars?
Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues) – Hey, how about another nautical them name? But credit Peoria for sticking with their IHL logo. (Though it would have been cool if the captain in the logo was holding a bottle of hooch, paying homage to Peoria’s bootlegging history). This is another geographical match made in heaven (sorry, but I believe if you need a player, why make them play planes, trains and automobiles to get to your club). If it’ll play in Peoria, it’ll play anywhere… BOOM, music man!
Portland Pirates (Phoenix Coyotes) – I’ve got a strong feeling this isn’t Portland, Oregon but Portland, Maine, which makes the Manchester-LA commute look like nothing. Sure enough, this is the worst travel you can get if you’re getting called up, but I like the logo… plus it’s fun to imagine pirates in Maine.
Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins) – Well sure it’s a quick trip from Providence to Boston, but this is laziness at its finest. A) they share the same name B) change out the letter and you have the SAME LOGO!
Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) – I won’t make fun of this name because it just sounds classy, like a franchise that’s been around forever. Guess what? It has, and it just seems right to me (it’s also close to the NHL team).
Rockford Icehogs (Chicago Blackhawks) – When I first saw this name I immediately thought of how funny it be to see hogs on ice (and for some reason thought of Pigs in Space!). This is another match I like between the AHL team and NHL club because the distance is so close.
San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers) – Having a bull or steer, whatever you want to call it, is perfect, even if I don’t connect Rampage and Bulls… unless they are on parade (Rage Against the Machine points). And yes, I don’t care about the San Antonio to Miami distance, because it’s a easy flight.
Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets) – Has the logo which I expected, because if you have a bird or animal of pray, it MUST be swooping up a hockey stick or another team’s mascot. Initially, I thought this was Springfield, Illinois, but I found out it’s Massachusetts, which isn’t terrible, given Columbus is the destination.
St. John’s Icecaps (Winnipeg Jets) – Alright, you get credit for having for having an extremely unique name. However, the distance between St. John’s in Canada to Manitoba, yikes! I do like that we’ve got two fairly new franchises teaming up, but the distance is so far. I do kind of wish the logo was an iceberg ripping through the Titanic.
Texas Stars (Dallas Stars) – Yay, originality! There really isn’t any difference in these logos. The location is good, because this AHL team is located outside Austin, about three hours from the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.
Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) – Full disclosure, and please shoot the messenger, but I don’t know what a Marlie is (unless it’s a big golden retriever from an Owen Wilson movie), and these logos look the same. This wins the proximity award since both teams are in the same city and have the exact same look.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) – Once again, another franchise sharing the same name with its parent team. The difference here is that Pittsburgh lent their popular early 90’s logo, the Penguin on steroids.
Worchester Sharks (San Jose Guppies) – The final AHL/NHL pairing is for the San Jose franchise who, if you’ll recall in a previous entry, until they prove themselves ARE the Guppies. It’s fitting that our last combo would also have a huge distance between the two, a common theme with these teams. The names seem like they’re lacking in creativity until we remember that Jaws was set in Massachusetts (awesome) and of course the bay area has a lot of both Sharks and Guppies in it.