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Sports, sports, and more sports! Edmonton is a sports-crazy city, and everyone has an opinion. From the Oilers to the Eskimos, from the Edmonton Capitals baseball team, the Edmonton Energy, to the Edmonton Rush and the Golden Bears and Pandas, the Rexall Edmonton Indy, not to mention all of the amateur sports this city supports – this forum is your chance to discuss, comment and review what’s going on.

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Old 21-05-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default Logo Wars: best and worst logos on the Edm. sports landscape

Logo Wars
Our panel of experts, fans and athletes crowns the best and worst logos on the Edmonton sports landscape

Scott Petersen, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, May 21, 2007

Labelled iconic, lauded for its simplicity, and loved for its colour scheme, the Oilers logo reigns supreme over the Edmonton sports scene.

A Journal panel of athletes, graphic designers, logo-enthusiasts and fans picked apart a number of the city's most identifiable sports logos in order to crown a king. A clear-cut favourite emerged in the Oilers' main logo, though most preferred the vintage version of the 1980s dynasty with the orange oil drop.

And no matter the logo dissected, nearly all illicited strong responses of like or dislike from someone. The Oilers just received a bigger heaping of positive reviews than the others.

"Screams 70s from the rooftops; particularly the colour choices and text-as-pooling-oil motif," said David Mann, a graphic designer from Milwaukee. "One can see stylistic ties to many of the gas station logos of the period. With all that said, I love this logo. Part of that surely has to do with the teams that wore it, but art doesn't exist in a vacuum and even if this symbol has become something merely self-referential, it is still iconic."

Georges Laraque wore the Oilers crest for the first eight seasons of his National Hockey League career before splitting last year between Phoenix and Pittsburgh. He wore several versions of the Oilers logo, and recalls pulling on the vintage version for the 2003 Heritage Classic in minus-29 degree wind chill as the most special moment in that jersey.

Still, he went modern with his choice and put his 250-pound weight behind the Oilers third-jersey logo concept designed by Spawn comic creator Todd McFarlane.

"The other one just says Oilers on it," said Laraque. "It's nice, but it's pretty simple. The (third-jersey) one is kind of modern, looks good and (it's) new."

Aside from the Oilers main logo, most of the rest of the logos plucked from Edmonton's sporting landscape had their share of lovers and haters. Only the Cracker-Cats also received a fairly uniform response, though their logo was universally, and often harshly, lambasted.

From the apparently vastly overused font used on the name, and the name itself, to the choice of a chubby cat as the mascot and poor rendering of an oil derrick in the background, the Cracker-Cats logo was torn to shreds.

"What does a sport with a reputation of its players not being true athletes do?" asked Edmonton sports fan Darren Boman. "They create a logo with an ugly, fat blue cat. Well done, creative team for the Cracker-Cats. All I picture when I see this logo is a bunch of C-rate Babe Ruths sitting in a dugout, eating hot dogs and breathing very heavily."

A lack of originality was cited by Daniel Rhodes, who sees logos just like the Cracker-Cats' all the time in his work with the website He rates, and often rips apart, minor pro hockey logos on his website by using a set standard of criteria. And he thinks he may have to work his way into minor pro baseball's ranks after checking out the Cracker-Cats.

"You have to look pretty close to realize that those golf clubs in the background are actually supposed to be an oil rig," said Rhodes. "And if cartoony, bipedal animals in sports logos were released into the wild, there'd be so many of them that the authorities would be issuing hunters special permits to help cull the herd."

The general consensus was that Edmonton's offerings in the sports logos department aren't much to write home about. A couple of panelists even said they were resigned to picking the best of the worst as their favourite.

"I had no idea Edmonton's logo situation was so grim," said Mann. "You have my sympathies."

Those thoughts were echoed by Edmonton's Danielle Peers, one of the top wheelchair basketball players in the world of either sex.

"This is a hard one," she said. "To be honest, I think we have some of the worst logos out there. I mean, how sexy or ferocious can an oil drop look? If pressed, I have to say I probably prefer the (University of Alberta) Golden Bears logo. Mostly because he looks really deviant and cheeky."

Most of the panelists pined for simplicity in the team logos. Some thought the Oilers third-jersey logo in particular tried to do too much by matching up the number of rivets with Stanley Cups, number of gear teeth with team captains, and using blade-like objects to represent the sport.

Eskimos running back Ronald (Goldie) McClendon stuck with his own team's double-E logo and the Oilers' vintage one as his local favourites. He said he's never been embarassed to put on a team logo in his life, but knows other athletes who have because the team, or school, just tried too hard to be creative and original.

"The simpler the logo the better," said McClendon, who likes a strong team nickname and logo to help with the intimidation factor.

"Simple, powerful and impactful."

The Rush lacrosse logo did very little for the panelists, with no one identifying it as a favourite and few detesting it either. It was generally perceived as bland, with the name selection probably hurting the design concepts.

"A missed opportunity," said Chris Creamer of "This logo would've looked so much better had they gone with a 'gold rush' theme instead of their apparent 'rock band' look. When I think of Edmonton Rush, I can't help but see a pickaxe in there somewhere. I had an opportunity to see some of the finalists to the design they chose and I'm sorry Rush fans, the best logos this team ever had were passed over."

The Eskimos also boast a middle-ground logo. Opinions ranged from iconic and traditional to uninspired. But most agreed the team has thankfully played it safe with a nickname that could get them in trouble if they tried to get too creative with designs.

"What is a 6E anyway?" asked Atlanta-based graphic designer JR Francis, who did like the outline thickness and colour use. "Sometimes, such as in the Houston Texans logo, simplicity is beautiful. In this case, simplicity is boring. A basic block font, with the two Es smashed together. I wish there was something interesting about the way the negative space came together, or how they overlapped, but none of that is present."

Of the other logos being judged, the Golden Bears received the most wildly differing views. Two panelists called it their favourite for its smug, cocky look. A couple were downright weirded out by it.

"Stare for a moment at the Golden Bear and ask youself, 'What is he thinking right now?' " said Mann. "I think you'll find you too need a shower. Horrible. This creature doesn't resemble a bear at all and he is currently drunk or worse."

The Oil Kings received marks for preserving tradition from some panelists, while also getting docked for adding little to the equation by others. The Pandas, despite having their name selection ripped apart for using an animal that doesn't exist nearby, is noted for its appetite for sleep, and inferring that all Pandas are female, received a general appreciation for its design.

spetersen@ thejournal.


Georges Laraque

Qualifications: NHL forward from Montreal and former Oiler who still calls the city home.

Edmonton's best logo: Oilers third-jersey logo.

Edmonton's worst logo: Cracker-Cats.

Best sports logo all-time: Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA).

Worst sports logo all-time: Phoenix Coyotes original (NHL).

Quotable on Cracker-Cats: "I thought it was just a prototype and that they were actually working on a logo until you told me it was actually their logo, then I started to laugh ... Isn't golf clubs (in the logo) an indication of a season being over? How does that even make sense in a logo?"

Danielle Peers

Qualifications: Pro wheelchair basketball player and Team Canada member from Edmonton. A Paralympian and MVP of 2006 World Cup team, which won gold.

Edmonton's best logo: Golden Bears.

Edmonton's worst logo: Eskimos.

Best sports logo all-time: Alabama Crimson Tide.

Worst sports logo all-time: Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Quotable on Pandas: "The Pandas? What ferocious and energetic, athletic beasts! The Pandas get second place for the worst name, but earn honourable mention on best logo since the designer managed (perhaps for the first time in history) to make this cuddly looking critter look like it's about to take off someone's head."

Ron (Goldie) McClendon

Qualifications: CFL tailback with the Eskimos who hails from Louisiana, but also works for team in off-season.

Edmonton's best logo: Main Oilers.

Edmonton's worst logo: Cracker-Cats.

Best sports logo all-time: Detroit Red Wings.

Worst sports logo all-time: Wichita State Shockers.

Quotable on main Oilers: "I think it's pretty sweet actually... If I'm not allowed to pick my team (Eskimos) then for sure, the copper oil drop is pretty cool. They nailed it right there."

Isidro Jimenez

Qualifications: Managing partner of Edmonton's Primal Tribe Inc. graphic design company.

Edmonton's best logo: Vintage Oilers.

Edmonton's worst logo: Rush.

Best sports logo all-time: Detroit Red Wings.

Worst sports logo all-time: NY Islanders fisherman logo circa 1995-97.

Quotable on Rush: "I thought it was tough to read. When you first look at it, it looks like a mish-mash of words. It's not distinguishable."

Daniel Rhodes

Qualifications: Runs from Raleigh, N.C., which analyzes and rates minor league hockey logos based on his own set of rules and with a heavy dose of humour.

Edmonton's best logo: Oilers' third-jersey logo.

Edmonton's worst logo: Cracker-Cats.

Favourite sports logo all-time: Seattle Seahawks (NFL).

Worst sports logo all-time: Danbury Trashers (UHL).

Quotable on Rush: "This is their idea of a logo? Just the name written in letters reminiscent of medieval Germany? They need to get a real logo. And while they're at it, they need to get a real name, too."

Dave Mann

Qualifications: Freelance logo designer from Milwaukee who counts the Manitoba Moose logo package in his portfolio.

Edmonton's best logo: Vintage Oilers.

Edmonton's worst logo: Golden Bears.

Best sports logo all-time: Hartford Whalers and Milwaukee Brewers of 1980s (tie).

Worst sports logo all-time: Phoenix Coyotes, current.

Quotable on Cracker-Cats: "This just sucks. Is that too harsh? Fine. If you choose to use a cat as your namesake, you need to distinguish it from the other thousands of high schools and colleges that also use cats as theirs. And no, hyphenating it with Cracker (no matter what local significance that conveys) does not count as distinguishing. Yuck."

JR Francis

Qualifications: Atlanta graphic designer and former semi-pro soccer player who's done logos for Silicon Valley companies and U.S. sports teams.

Edmonton's best logo: Oil Kings.

Edmonton's worst logo: Golden Bears and Pandas.

Best sports logo all-time: Manitoba Moose.

Worst sports logo all-time: Tampa Bay Lightning.

Quotable on Oil Kings: "Hockey

logos can be more complex, and in this case, they take full advantage and pull off a great sports logo. The script gives a nod to the age of the team, without seeming outdated. The Oilers' drop makes a deft appearance... My only hesitation is with the inclusion of green, which seems -- to this viewer's eye -- to clash with the rest of the colour scheme."

Chris Creamer

Qualifications: Founder, designer and programmer for Does web development in

Oshawa, Ont.

Edmonton's best logo: Vintage Oilers.

Edmonton's worst logo: Cracker-Cats.

Best sports logo all-time: Hartford Whalers of 1980s.

Worst sports logo all-time: Anaheim Mighty Ducks main until past season.

Quotable on Eskimos: "Without a doubt in my mind, the Edmonton

Eskimos have the nicest logo and uniform in the Canadian Football League. This is another look that is just too full of history to ever be touched."

Darren Boman

Qualifications: Passionate Edmonton sports fan.

Edmonton's best logo: Golden Bears.

Edmonton's worst logo: Cracker-Cats.

Best sports logo all-time: Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Worst sports logo all-time: Buffalo Sabres, current.

Quotable on Golden Bears: "The face on that bear is brilliant -- it is looking at you as if to say, 'Really, you think you can touch me?' That smug, cocky look is great."


Check out some of the logos mentioned on these two pages. Go to Online Extras at

- - -

Edmonton Oilers

Sport: Hockey

History: 1996 - present; Original logo had lighter shade of blue, an orange oil drop and no red outline.

Designer: A local artist commissioned by then-owner Bill Hunter.

Notes: Original colour scheme chosen by Hunter, the owner at the time, to generate lucrative sponsorship agreement with Gulf Western Oil that eventually fell through. Colours were occasionally reversed on logo. Colours changed to copper and midnight blue in 1996.

Edmonton Oilers (third jersey logo)

Sport: Hockey

History: 2001 - present; Used as third jersey crest.

Designer: Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn comic and member of Oilers Investors Group.

Notes: Oil drop is about the only element carried over from the original, surrounded by rivets, sharp blade-like shapes and gear shapes. Five rivets represent five Stanley Cups, 10 gear teeth for the 10 captains in team history and blade shapes signify blades on a hockey skate. It became the fastest selling third-jersey in NHL history.

Edmonton Eskimos

Sport: Football

History: 1996 - present; Original logo was of two melding white Es within a green oval shape. Gold added to uniforms in 1949, but not logo until 1996.

Designer: Unknown for original. Equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak credited with 1996 shadowing, borders and blocking of the Es.

Notes: Use of double-E is a common letter-form used by other pro football teams like the Green Bay Packers (GB) and San Francisco 49ers (SF). Also traditional in football to put letters in an ovoid shape, drawing similarities to a football. Team previously toyed with idea of using polar bear in logo, but those concepts only used for merchandising, not on team gear.

Edmonton Rush

Sport: Lacrosse

History: 2005 - present

Designer: Red Communications; won silver at 2006 Summit Awards in Consumer Colour Logo/Trademark.

Notes: Logo designed to be unique, bold and represent speed, grit and intensity of the game. The font used for the wording was picked and adjusted to finer points resembling a barbed-wire feel for that purpose.

Edmonton Oil Kings

Sport: Junior Hockey

History: 2007; Used about a dozen variations of logo for 1951-76 versions of clubs. Previously had a cross instead of oil drop, but largely stayed with tradition of past logos.

Designer: Orginal unknown; 2007 version comes from Keith Flynn, Flynnagain Productions, Mississauga, Ont.

Notes: Uses crown design from last team in 1976. Oil drop represents better link to the team name, the region's oil industry and its ties to Oilers' ownership group. Nine crown jewels on either side of oil drop symbolize nine trips to Memorial Cup.

Edmonton Cracker-Cats

Sport: Baseball

History: 2005 - present

Designer: Signature Printing in Edmonton

Notes: The idea was for something fun, friendly and unique, as is the trend in minor league sports, and to have a local, relevant connection. Cracker-Cats comes from a word play of fluid catalytic cracking, a process in refining crude oil into gasoline. To signify this, oil spews out of a derrick behind the cartoonish cat, and an oil drop also replaces the hyphen in the team name.

University of Alberta Golden Bears

Sport: University athletics

History: 1965 - present

Designer: Athletic director Ed Zemrau and friend Keith Randolph

Notes: Based loosely off branding by University of California Golden Bears at the time. Is supposed to look like it's possibly smiling at you from one angle, but also give off a look of unmatched toughness.

University of Alberta Pandas

Sport: University athletics

History: mid-1970s - present

Designer: Unknown

Notes: Designed after a stuffed animal the women's teams would carry with them to competitions. The stuffed animal still exists.

© The Edmonton Journal 2007

DebraW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-05-2007, 08:29 PM   #2
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This was a cool article.

I have to go with the Golden Bears as the best in the city. It oozes cockyness.

Oiler's and Eskimo's are pretty much classic. Not amazing, but very easy on the eyes and hard to find any flaws.

Best all time? Chicago Blackhawks.
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Old 21-05-2007, 08:30 PM   #3
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I think the Oilers should use this logo more often. I love this guy....

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Old 21-05-2007, 08:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LindseyT

Best all time? Chicago Blackhawks.
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Old 21-05-2007, 09:19 PM   #5
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Best Edmonton Logo: Oilers Third Jersey. Overall, Edmonton has great traditional logos.

Worst Edmonton Logo: Edmonton Cracker Cats

Best Logos: NY Yankees, Oakland Raiders

Worst Logos: Old Tampa Bay Bucaneers, Old Vancouver Canucks (Halloween Colours), Boston Bruins Brown Bear

Don't mess with: Edmonton Eskimos, U of A Golden Bears, Edmonton Oilers Traditional, NHL Original Six
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Old 21-05-2007, 10:39 PM   #6
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I gotta go with Georges. The Oilers 3rd jersey logo is sweet. Cracker-Cats logo looks bush-league.

As for worst all-time logos, I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Vancouver Canucks skate logo from the 80s/early 90s.
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Old 22-05-2007, 10:55 AM   #7
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What about the Philadelphia Flyers?

I heard the name was inspired by the old Edmonton Flyers because some of Philadelphia's original management had Edmonton connections.

I also really like the Edmonton Rush. One of the judges, Daniel Rhodes is quoted as saying he wished there was some reference to the Gold Rush. Been there done that dude.

As for the graphic designers on this panel, I would love to see their work so that we could judge whether they should be on the panel or not.
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Old 22-05-2007, 02:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by daleb
I also really like the Edmonton Rush. One of the judges, Daniel Rhodes is quoted as saying he wished there was some reference to the Gold Rush. Been there done that dude.
I really think he's a guy who doesn't get Lacrosse. The name/logo, imo, is referencing the speed of the game. Making reference to the Gold Rush would have been.... well, sad.
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