Prison Promotion
February 19, 2009 | Kevin Zdancewicz

  Prison Night

Minor league sports are a JOTW hotbed. Much like minor league baseball which is well-known for its crazy promotions and giveaways that sometimes spill over onto uniforms, minor league hockey relies heavily on the public relations department to get patrons through the turnstiles. Hockey farm systems definitely have the standard special uniforms covered – franchise throwbacks, breast cancer awareness pink sets, and tributes to the NHL affiliate (notice the advertising patches common in the minors). Then, there are tons of examples of random, off-the-wall promotional jerseys with accompanying themes.


Today's feature (promotional) jersey comes from the ECHL, where the Las Vegas Wranglers hosted the Bakersfield Condors for “Prison Night” last month inspired by recently-disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Wranglers wore the old-school, prison-stripe uniforms pictured above and the Condors went with faux-orange jumpsuits. While the uniforms are solid for the prison theme, the overall promotion was well done with some of the extra details that Las Vegas added. The referees got into the act with appropriate law enforcement attire and the off-ice official wore a black robe and judge’s wig (see fifth photo in this slideshow). Probably the coolest extra was dressing up the penalty box to literally put offenders behind bars in the sin bin.

The thing I don’t get about this topic is why some people come out and criticize minor league promotional jerseys when teams wear them. Some just openly mock the (admittedly sometimes) ridiculous uniforms that these promotions produce while others argue that they tarnish the sanctity of the professional hockey sweater – an interesting take given that various NHL teams have contributed some suspect alternate uniforms. There are even some terrible regular jerseys in the NHL that are worn every single game that people are happy to overlook or have decided to accept simply because they are regularly worn. None of this should give critics the right to hate on minor league promotional jerseys. They are only wearing them one time! Many of them promote a good cause or raise money for charity. And the ones like today’s featured jersey are just for fun: Minor League hockey is supposed to be fun! Haven’t you ever seen Slap Shot? Maybe the people who don’t like harmless promotional jerseys should be the ones wearing prison uniforms.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr