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AHL Hershey Bears causing a stir with opponents logos on their jerseys

Jan 7, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT


You don’t ever think of a hockey team suiting up as if they’re a pack of bounty hunters, but the AHL Hershey Bears are treating their road jerseys as if they’re something out of the Boba Fett wardrobe.

With the AHL being a bit of an odd jersey wonderland on its own, the Bears took time out to pat themselves on the back for winning back-to-back Calder Cup championships by having a special jersey declaring as much but with an added touch. On the shoulders of the jersey you can see the logos of the teams they’ve beaten in order to win those titles.

If this sort of thing sounds tacky and downright unsportsmanlike to you, you’ll be happy to know you’ve got company in Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press who is rather outraged about the whole development.

Hershey is not some backwater but one of the pre-eminent spots in the hockey world. As no less than Gordie Howe said, “Everybody who’s anybody in hockey has played in Hershey.”

Hershey is a team and place that matters in hockey. It shouldn’t have its reputation sullied with high school stunts like this.

AHL teams regularly borrow one another’s logos for ads and other promotions but this is a stretch of that agreement.

Designing, manufacturing and wearing these jerseys is a mistake, an error in judgement and ego run amok. It’s not what the Bears have stood for in a glorious history dating back to 1938 with over 5,000 games played in the AHL and a record 11 Calder Cups. There’s absolutely no question the Hershey Bears are the flagship franchise of the AHL and such a display is beneath their standard.

All opinions of Hershey, Pennsylvania aside, Lawless is spot on with his take here.

This comes off as a bit of a cutthroat kind of gesture rather than one to say that the team is proud of winning their own title. Instead, it looks like the Bears are continuing to pour salt in the wounds of the Manitoba Moose and Texas Stars, the teams they’ve beaten for the Calder Cup the last two seasons. Creating bulletin board material is usually best left for the team loudmouth and not the uniform designer.

Picture if you will what would happen if the Chicago Blackhawks threw the famous Flyers logo on their shoulders when the teams meet up on January 23. Is there any doubt that retribution would be served up in the most violent of ways for daring to rub their nose in losing in the Stanley Cup finals? None whatsoever and I doubt you’d find anyone to blame them for any actions taken during the game.

It’s one thing to be proud of what you’ve accomplished, it’s another to take the ice and look like a pack of creeps looking to rub the opponents face in what’s already over and done with. This is the sort of thing you might see at the high school level by a group of kids looking to be jerks, certainly not from a professional organization. Then again, everyone loves a heel and the Bears, whether they meant to or not, have made themselves just that. Here’s to hoping they don’t mind embracing that role because this kind of self-congratulatory nonsense has earned them just that.

(Photo courtesy of the Hershey Bears website)

  1. t9tookey - Jan 7, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    People, including Gary Lawless, need to get over it. These jerseys were worn the first couple of home games and then auctioned off for charity…yeah, real classless there!! Lawless is just a two-bit hack trying to sell papers. If he was really upset by it, he’s have written about it back at the beginning of the season when they actually wore the jerseys, not now.

    The Bears have won back to back Calder Cups (and three cups in five years), they’ve earned the right to crow.

  2. crosbyhasgonorrhea - Jan 8, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    As the saying goes, if you don’t the celebrating, stop them from scoring.

  3. hockey4lifer - Jan 8, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    what is classless is articles written like this where people do not do their research. the picture above is not of the actually away jerseys like already previously stated they were auctioned off for charity for what… CANCER RESEARCH. Hershey is an organization that prides it self on being grass roots and raising money for cancer research, the childrens hospital, and other local organizations. Those jerseys in which you think have caused such a stirr were sold and raised close to a million dollars for research, and is done with several different special jerseys through out the season. I do not believe that you can call an organization that raises that large amount of money for research to save lives classless at all. I think that is what you call a class act right there.

  4. bearshockey12 - Jan 9, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    You must be on drugs. The sweaters worn by the Bears were worn for a game then auctioned for charity. They don’t wear them every game like the idiot from the Winnipeg Press wants you to believe. It’s a lie. Nobody poured salt in wounds or gloated or boasted anything. In the past 2 years 3 teams went to the finals and that sweater honored more than just the Bears. Everytime the Bears and Moose play someone from the moose or the WFP starts BS. Be an honest responsible journalist and check your facts and print the TRUTH. Man up. Apologize and print retraction. Or aren’t you classy enough to admit your wrong?

  5. classlessidiotreporting - Jan 15, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Joe Yerdon, Are you from Winnepeg? You did no research on your article. You took what Lawless wrote and republished it without verifying any of the information contained. That makes you worse than the idiot who wrote the article in the first place. I can’t believe that NBC Sports even allows you garbage to be posted. Do some research before putting crap like this on the internet. You sir are a TOOL!

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