In one of the proudest, humbling and most exciting moments of my professional career, I got to stand in a sold-out Madison Square Garden in 2007 looking up as my design work emblazoned the arena scoreboard at the start of the inaugural Red Hot Hockey. I was there again in 2009 for another stellar event and another sell-out. I’m switching things up for 2011… design-wise that is.
Red Hot Hockey is a biennial event pitting Boston University against Cornell University at MSG over Thanksgiving weekend. The inaugural RHH marked the first time a college hockey game had ever sold out Madison Square Garden, quite the impressive feat. Not to be outdone, the 2009 version was also a sell-out which sets the stage for 2011. Can 18,000+ passionate college hockey fans cram ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’ for a third time?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been involved heavily in the marketing of this event since its inception, so I’ve got quite a personal investment in how this thing performs. I was working as head graphic designer for the BU Athletic Department during the planning stages of RHH and turned out my first ‘real’ logo, which was used for the event in 2007 and 2009.
Although I had already moved on to a new gig by the time the first RHH was played, I remained involved in the event, designing the game program and assisting with the marketing of the whole production. This was due to my former boss and friend Becky Collet who wrangled a bunch of us former BU Athletics marcomm staffers to help create a unique celebration of college hockey in the big city. We often say working for Becky is like working for the mob… you’re never really out. That may help explain how and why I’m still involved in 2011.
Knowing I was in if Becky was in to run the event, I began thinking of re-doing the official RHH logo about a month back as we began cranking up the marketing machine. The schools weren’t asking for it and to be honest, it was more a personal challenge to myself. I wanted to top the original. I think the original RHH logo worked and works perfectly well. I also thought it could be improved upon. So I set about trying to do just that.
I based my idea off of the NHL’s All-Star Game logo from Carolina this year. It was only a coincidence that the colors were similar.
I felt that the Statue of Liberty crown from the original was probably that logo’s weakest link, so I replaced it with the entire head of Lady Liberty. I think it adds a touch of ‘regal’ to the new logo, which I’m pretty happy with, acknowledging as with all my work, there is room for improvement.
Even with a new logo designed, it took Becky to basically tell BU and Cornell we were going to be using it, for it to become official. And it did, as we rolled redesigned Facebook and Twitter pages in advance of the 2011 event’s pre-sale, which happened on April 11. When you’re dealing with two institutions steeped in tradition, in particular two athletic departments, change can be a rather gradual evolution. It’s a testament to Becky’s ability and attitude that she just rammed the new look through without time for debate!
Whether 2011 continues the sell-out streak remains to be seen. But I do know that I will be there, somewhere along the concourse of MSG, looking up at a scoreboard displaying another piece of my work and those original emotions I felt back in 2007 will be with me. Some things don’t get old. Some things just stay with you.