A Hockey Logo Finds New Life in the Falkland Islands
What happens to a logo when a sports team ceases operations? For many, it quickly dissolves out of the memory and is perhaps saved by images on the internet, clothing, or collectible items. However, could it be repurposed and used for another league or organization?
The Jersey Rockhoppers were a minor league hockey team that operated for one season in the Eastern Professional Hockey League during the 2008-2009 season. They would play at the Richard J. Codey Ice Arena in West Orange, New Jersey, also the practice facility for the New Jersey Devils.
The cartoon rockhopper penguin name was picked out of 500 suggestions from a name-the-team contest. The fierce-looking penguin featured tufts of yellow hair and red eyes, yielding a hockey stick. A press release explained why the name was selected.
"We had many great suggestions," commented co-owner Curtis Russell. "There were plenty of original ideas and many that connected with the rich hockey past of Essex County or focused on the historic landmarks that dot the county footprint."
One of the common themes related to Thomas Edison, whose West Orange home is now a national landmark. "In the end, after weeks of discussion, we wanted to connect with Turtleback Zoo, and so we knew it was going to be an animal of some sort," explained co-owner Igor Mrotchek.
Rob Bennett for The New York Times
Other suggestions included the Mountaineers and Renegades out of the other suggestions. In the end, the spiky-haired rockhopper penguin known for its aggressiveness won.
“We think that Rockhoppers make a nice match and are identifiable with grace, agility, and an aggressive nature compared to other penguins”, added Mrotchk.
The logo was designed by Francis Santiquilani of FSDesign of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who also did work for the Quad Cities Bandits, Lowell Spinners, and the High Desert Mavericks.
The team finished with a 32-16-1-1 record and won the league championship over the Brooklyn Aces. However, the league ceased operations after its inaugural campaign and the Hoppers faded into sports obscurity.
However, 6,455 miles due south, a hockey association had been formed, and within three years was looking to compete internationally. They needed a logo to wear on their chest that would represent their nation. That country was the Falkland Islands - 300 miles west off the southern tip of Argentina.
"It was pretty much the perfect logo for us representing the Falkland Islands"
In 2006, the Falkland Islands Hockey Association was established by Grant Budd, who played professionally in England. The league began as deck hockey, but by 2015 would include inline and ice hockey. It necessitated the need to create a jersey logo for international tournaments in South and North America.
“One of the kids in our hockey program found the perfect logo,” said committee member Sam Cockwell. “ However, it belonged to another team. He reached out to them, even though they had disbanded.”
That team. the Jersey Rockhoppers, ceased operations six years earlier. The logo is currently owned by former NHL player Ron Duguay, who played between 1977 and 1989 with the New York Rangers, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles.
“He was thrilled about the logo brought back from the dead,” stated Cockwell. “We probably would have designed our logo, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. It was the perfect hockey logo for us representing the Falkland Islands.” The islands are home to five species of penguins, including the rockhopper. The birds have 5000,000 breeding pairs and outnumber humans 3 to 1.
Courtesy of Falklands Islands Hockey/Facebook
They are known as the athletes of the penguin world and have colonies on the eastern part of the island away from the capital of Stanley on Kidney Island. They are known as the athletes of the penguin world and have colonies on the eastern part of the island, away from the capital of Stanley on Kidney Island.
The Falkland team has played hockey tournaments in the United States, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Chile. The rockhopper logo is more appropriate than it ever was in New Jersey and now has been the symbol for 7-years longer than the original EPHL club. What a strange trip it has been for the original rockhopper logo.