Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hockey Team Identity Project: Cincinnati Cyclones

After a hiatus, I've decided to try to resurrect this thing from the dead. With that, I've decided to go with a team that has a lot of resurrections itself, the Cincinnati Cyclones. You see, while the Cyclones have been around since 1990, the fact is that it has been three different franchises as a whole, starting in the 1990-91 season.

For some information, I turned to Sean Lynn of the Cyclones, who in-turn directed me to Jim Farmer, of the Society of Cincinnati Sports Research-- which is a group of Cincinnati sports fans and historians, who have done a lot to compile the history of their city and its sports.

"The first team played in the ECHL from 1990 to 1992. The club did very well so the owner, Doug Kirchhofer, applied and was excepted for an expansion team in the more visible International Hockey League," Farmer said. "The first Cyclones franchise was then relocated to Birmingham while the name, original logo and colors were shifted to the second incarnation of the Cyclones in the IHL. After a few moves to different cities, the first Cyclones team eventually landed in Stockton where they currently reside as the Thunder."

The colors of the team were carried over, which was primarily black, red, and gray with the logo being a goalie's upper body. The team in the IHL went from 1992-93 season until the IHL disbanded in the 2000-01 season. However, between then, the Cyclones did a little tinkering, switching to a Twister as the logo and mascot (of the same name) and adding yellow to their scheme, while damping the gray a bit.

The demise of the IHL and this second Cyclones did not last for long, as a new owner bought the two-year dormant Miami Matadors' franchise in the ECHL, who moved to Miami from Louisville and were known as the River Frogs.

"When the second club folded a new ownership group came along, bought the colors, team logos, nickname and a dormant ECHL franchise which began in Louisville," Farmer expained. "This ownership group moved the dormant franchise to Cincinnati and this gave birth the THIRD Cyclones team. This Cyclones team began play in Cincy for the 2001-02 season and is the current franchise that we know and love today."

However, it's not like the Cyclones had it easy in the Cincinnati market, as pressure from a higher league happened.

"This third Cyclones team DID in fact go dormant for the 2004-05 & 2005-06 season because they were in direct competition with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL," said Farmer. "But when Cincy lost their AHL club, the owners of the Cyclones (Nederlander Cincinnati) relaunched the franchise for the 2006-07 season. It has remained active since."

Even with all of that, the heritage of the Cyclones' franchise priors still remains.

Farmer divulged that the ECHL team statistics go back to the Louisville days, which is why some of the fans don't see their IHL favorites on the all-time stats list. However, Farmer did tell me that the numbers that the Cyclones have honored from all eras still remain honored by the 'Clones to this day.

Even so, the Cyclones have been through quite the cavalcade of jerseys-- including a fancy Reds jersey, to honor the MLB team. The jersey is also one that was worn by the twins in the great movie starring Seth Green and Shane McDermott, "Airborne."

Even more recently, the great Greg Wyshynski uncovered the latest viral hit from the Clones, which parodies The Lonely Island's, "I'm On a Boat."

Lynn did add one thing about keeping the name of the team, "The Cyclones brand is one that this market has thoroughly supported since day one. Changing it and alienating a loyal fanbase is not in anyone’s best interest. While staff, players, and even fans have come and gone, the Cyclones name has always been consistent in the Cincinnati Sports landscape."

Thanks again to Jim Farmer of the SCSR and Sean Lynn of the Cincinnati Cyclones for the information for this entry.

No comments: