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Posted 2007 March 24
(Previous review posted 2003 March 27)
I will never understand why anyone thinks "Thunder" is a good team name.
I understand the concept of naming teams after weather phenomena, of course. You want to name your team after something powerful, and many weather phenomena fit the bill. Hurricanes do millions of dollars of damage, sometimes over thousands of square miles. Tornados are more concentrated but more deadly (and can send people to a land of munchkins and witches to boot). Blizzards and Storms are similarly dangerous. Even Fog is treacherous when it gets bad. And Lightning might not cause damage on such a grand scale, but given the fact that lightning is literally hotter than surface of the sun, it's obviously powerful.
But then there's thunder. Thunder, unlike all the others, doesn't actually do anything. The reason for this is that thunder is nothing more than a sound effect accompanying another weather pattern. The worst thunder is ever going to do to you is screw up your hearing. And if you're close enough to the thunder for it to do that, then you have more important things to worry about — for example, the lightning you're standing close to. That's the dangerous part. Calling a team "Thunder" on the grounds that lightning is dangerous is a little bit akin to deciding that since having a sixteen-ton weight fall on you is dangeorus, you should name a team the Squish.
Nonetheless, the name is popular enough that Wichita's team has shared the name with two different teams (first Las Vegas in the now-defunct International Hockey League, and today with Stockton of the ECHL). Teams calling themselves the Thunder often run into the same problem, which is that it's hard to draw a sound effect. As a result a lot of the teams put lightning in the logo, which raises the obvious question of why they didn't name themselves the Lightning in the first place ("Wichita Lightning", in particular, has a nice ring to it). Of course, it's a little tricky making a great logo based on lightning, either. The standard lightning bolt in this logo's "N" is (when divorced from the "N") iconic, but it's a little bit plain. You need to do something to spruce it up. But it's also kind of hard to spruce up. The logo I'm reviewing right now is a case in point. The hurricane effect in the background doesn't really add to it. In fact, combine the hurricane with the point of the lightning bolt and the whole thing sort of looks like a thumbtack. I wouldn't want to sit on a thumbtack, but that doesn't mean I consider them to be highly fierce objects that make great sports logos. (Besides, "Wichita Thumbtacks" does not have a nice ring to it.)
I like the color scheme, but still question whether it was a good idea. Blue and purple, to my knowledge, has never been used before in any North American sport, and the two do work together in an odd sort of way. But they're both fairly cool colors (especially when the purple is such a bluish shade), so the logo isn't nearly as dynamic as it would be if they used warm colors like, say, red and orange.
And, of course, they had to throw the puck into the mix. Guess what? It doesn't help. It doesn't really detract the way that the hockey equipment detracts from some logos, but it doesn't add squat. It's your standard gratuitous hockey reference. Yawn.
In fact, that pretty much sums up my opinion of this whole thing: The puck, the logo, the name "Thunder"...it's all just so...yawny.
Final Score: 18 points.
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