Summer Reading: Barracuda Nostalgia Sparks Idea For Other Retro Nights

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With the announcement of the San Jose Barracuda having jersey/theme nights to honor the affiliates of the San Jose Sharks past, it made me wonder if more teams should go and do it. Nostalgia is a helluva selling point for people, both in-arena and online. A gimmick like this creates a lot of buzz and could move a lot of tickets and a lot of merchandise to help out a team.

On the flip side, it’s a bit morbid. It’s a showing of failed teams, possibly failed markets, and while it’s nice– could rub some people the wrong way if they are bitter enough about losing their team.

Regardless of that, however, and regardless if you asked my opinion or not– but here’s some teams who I’d enjoy seeing honor their old affiliates. Of course, my top pick would be the Capitals to show off the old Richmond Robins, Baltimore Skipjacks, and Portland Pirates jerseys….but a team like the Hershey Bears wouldn’t give up their tradition to honor someone else’s– especially since they have outlasted those teams.

So– in no particular order:

ANAHEIM DUCKS: First in the alphabet, first one on this list. The Ducks have had some great affiliates– the short-lived Baltimore Bandits and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, but they weaved their way through some solidly established teams, like the Syracuse Crunch and Norfolk Admirals. However, if there’s one team I want to see again, it’s the Iowa Chops. One season wasn’t enough and if the San Diego Gulls wanted to move merch, that’s the way to do it. Of course, the Gulls are at the top of attendance and probably merch, so they don’t need that big of a boost.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: While the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are the longest affiliate the Islanders have had, the stops they’ve had along the way has been great and aesthetically amazing. The Thoroughblades are represented again (as seen above), but also the gaudy Salt Lake Golden Eagles jerseys, the early Lowell Lock Monsters jerseys, and the Utah Grizzlies‘ jerseys with a giant shoulder patch would really steer the memories, especially from the IHL fans.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: Including the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes have only had five affiliates– but what affiliates they have been. The Beast of New Haven could have the worst logo of all time, the Cincinnati Cyclones, Lowell Lock Monsters, and Albany River Rats add to the memorable logos of affiliates past for the Hurricanes.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: What’s not to like about the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the Baltimore Skipjacks, or the Broome Dusters….jacks. While the motif is pretty much the same in the black and gold, the older logos would be solid in a modern setting.

MINNESOTA WILD: While the Iowa Wild is the third of the AAA-affiliates for the Wild, the Houston Aeros look would be nice– but why not add some ECHL flavor?? The Louisiana IceGators looks would be solid, same with the Texas Wildcatters, Mississippi Sea Wolves, and Johnstown Chiefs; though it seems like a better option for the Allen Americans to do with their new ECHL affiliation with the Wild.

There’s plenty to go around. Minor league teams change like the tide, though thanks to teams owning their affiliates and markets being very solid in the industry– that’s slowed down a bit. Maybe there’s entire weekends that could be “Turn Back the Clock” weekends to bring back a little retro flavor and put some much needed attention onto the minor leagues. Anything in the name of a good gimmick.

Minor League Monday: Streaking Teams, Odd Scheduling, and Shaky Defense

AHL

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-With three wins in a row and won five of their last six, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers seem to be maturing as the season goes on, especially in net. Christopher Gibson and Kristers Gudlevskis have posted shutouts against Providence this weekend alone. Rookies have also taken a big role with Scott Eansor, Mitchell Vande Sompel, and (the other) Sebastian Aho being in the top-five in team scoring. The addition of Josh Ho-Sang to compliment Tanner Fritz up front will definitely make them offensively stronger moving forward.

-Despite his point-streak ending on Saturday, Andrew Mangiapane is making a name for himself in his sophomore season. With 16 points (6g, 10a) in 11 games, Mangiapane has helped the Stockton Heat lead the way in goals-for in the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference. As a rookie, Mangiapane, along with Mark Jankowski, were the only 20-goal scorers in the Stockton, which helped Mangiapane build off of two 100-point seasons to end his OHL career. A sixth-round pick, Mangiapane could be a diamond in the rough that Calgary found to help their offensive growth.

ECHL

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-During their current four-game winning streak, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits have scored 23 goals in that span. Allan McPherson and Adam Chapie are both atop the ECHL scoring board, while Caleb Herbert is on an 11-point scoring streak from the start of the season. The only issue could be the team defense. The Swamp Rabbits are tied for the most goals given up this year. While Ty Rimmer has turned his game around a bit, the development of Brandon Halverson seems to have hit a rough patch with his 5.06 GAA in six appearances so far.

-The schedulers of the ECHL only seem to have slotted the Jacksonville IceMen to play in five games in the month of October. The IceMen are winless in those five games, but their inexperienced line-up (13 of 21 rostered players are rookies) give them a little leeway. The inexperience is showing with Jamie Phillips being 0-4-1 and a 4.21 GAA after an impressive rookie season last year in Tulsa. The upside for Jacksonville is that Alexandre Goulet has points in all five games and five goals in four of those games.

SPHL

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-While the Fayetteville Marksmen haven’t gotten much puck luck this season, the play of Jake Hauswirth, John Schiavo, and Kyle McNeil should be something to help ease the blow of being in 7th place. Hauswirth’s 11 points are a league-high, while Shiavo and McNeil are tied with Evansville’s Justin MacDonald for the league-high in goals with five. If Peter Di Salvo can get back on track, the the Marksmen could be a threat as the season goes on.