Our Story

Icethetics is devoted to the aesthetics of hockey.

The name is a fusion of “aesthetics” (the study of art and beauty) and “ice” (on which the game is played).

Icethetics focuses on all things related to hockey branding — notably logo and uniform designs. The blog tracks trends throughout the hockey universe from the NHL to the major Canadian junior leagues and all the minor leagues in between.

Who’s behind all this?

I'm Chris Smith and I’ve been running this website in some form since May 9, 2007. A native of Tampa, Florida, I became a hockey fan in 1992 when the Tampa Bay Lightning arrived. I’ve been hooked on the sport ever since and do my best to evangelize it everywhere I go.

My interest in hockey logos and sweaters came a little later on. I’d clock it around 1995-96 when the NHL introduced its original third jersey program. Since then, I’ve always been eager to see what new designs teams take on. And in writing about the subject for over a decade, I’ve realized I’m only one of many fans fascinated by this part of the sport.

In 2010, I moved to Seattle for work and have long been mystified by the fact that this city has never had an NHL team of its own. So I was beyond thrilled at the announcement in 2018 that we’re finally getting a franchise! As one of the first fans to place a deposit for season tickets, I’m anxiously counting down the days until October 2021.

How did it all begin?

In 2007, I launched a blog called NHL Tournament of Logos on the free Blogger platform. I was curious as to what hockey fans thought of the 30 team logos. So to find an answer, I started holding polls in a bracket-style tournament. In the end, the Montreal Canadiens edged out the St. Louis Blues with 55% of the vote.

But that's not what Icethetics is known for. It was during the summer of 2007 that Reebok took over manufacturing of NHL uniforms. The introduction of the Rbk EDGE Uniform System prompted many teams to not only redesign their sweaters but even their logos.

I searched the web almost daily for pictures or details on these new designs. Information was hard to come by, so I started collecting all the bits and pieces I could find around the web and gathered them on the NHLToL blog for anyone else who might be interested.

The first expansion

Completely by accident, the site’s popularity exploded that summer and NHLToL became the go-to destination for jersey news, much to my surprise. The logo tournaments became more popular than ever, leading me to launch a spin-off site—Tournament of Hockey Logos—that would focus on the minor leagues and any non-NHL related news.

In 2008, 18 of the 30 NHL franchises announced plans to introduce third jerseys that fall—something that was not permitted the season before. Again, I tracked news and unveilings for anyone interested and the daily visitor count peaked above 110,000—a record that stood for a long time. The site was a success so it needed a real identity.

The Icethetics identity

On July 1, 2008, the site was re-launched under the new name—Icethetics. (I credit Charlie from the Sabres Not Slugs blog with the assist on coming up with the moniker.) It was the third Blogger site I set up. But before long, I decided it was time to merge them all.

On November 1, 2008, icethetics.info officially launched on the Squarespace platform. Icethetics finally had its own domain and became a more complete website, with the blog still central to the endeavor. Then on February 1, 2014, a second domain, icethetics.co was introduced to the mix.

Finally, in the spring of 2018, the owner of the icethetics.com domain reached out to offer it to me. For the first time, I was able to negotiate a reasonable price for it. Only July 7, 2019, Icethetics landed at what I expect will be its forever home at a proper web address on the Webflow platform. Welcome!

A community effort

The blog is just one aspect of Icethetics. Most of it is a community effort. And there is a lot to it. Hundreds of devoted fans provide content to the site on a daily basis. One of the original features of the site was fan-made concept art—now posted daily to the Concepts Showcase. Talented readers submit their redesigned renditions of team uniforms and logos to share with the rest of the world.

Born out of NHL concept art was a desire to create and brand our own hockey teams from the ground up. The IceHL project was conceived and launched in August 2008 as a way for fans to create new concepts that didn’t rely on trademarked logos belonging to professional teams. It became a crowd-sourced fantasy hockey league and every aspect was created and voted on by readers—including team logos and uniforms.

What lies ahead?

I could talk about my plans for weeks without stopping. Shifting to the new site in 2019 was a significant step toward accomplishing some of it.

There’s so much I’d like to do including the creating of the Almanac—a go-to resource for all things related to hockey branding.

Sadly, even with a few ads to cover hosting costs, the site doesn’t make nearly enough to live on, so real life limits to some extent how much time I can spend in Icethetics land. Just understand that as long as I’m able, I’ll always be doing my best to improve the site.

And if you ever have an idea for an awesome new feature, drop me a line! Email is preferred. Twitter is cool too.