Review: 2014-15 Rockford IceHogs

darlingThe Rockford IceHogs issued a team set of trading cards during the 2014-15 season. It was sponsored by the Rockford Register Star newspaper and features many Chicago Blackhawks prospects, such as Teuvo Teravainen and Scott Darling. The cards also have a unique design and tons of information on the back — as any good trading card should.

Player Selection (5 out of 5)
nordstromThis year’s IceHogs team set consists of 26 player cards, one card of head coach Ted Dent and a logo card. All the regular players on the team are included; many are highly-touted Blackhawks prospects. Perhaps the only drawback here is that cards of the assistant coaches are not included. This is strange, considering that the IceHogs have included assistant coaches in many of their past sets. No matter, since practically everyone collects cards for the players, and not the coaches.

Front Design (4 out of 5)
I’ll come right out and say it: no minor league team set will ever top what the IceHogs did two years ago, when their 2012-13 team set paid homage to the 1974-75 Topps Hockey set design. The 2014-15 set does not try to look like a retro set, and that is fine.

leightonThis year, the team moved away from using red, white and black for their card’s colors. Instead, they used dark, medium and light blue, along with white, for the design. Mid-range photos of the players are “cut out” and placed in front of a dark blue background, and framed by medium and light blue borders. As a result, the player really pop off of the surface of the card.

The Rockford Register Star logo is small and understated, as usual, and does not detract from the card. Many sponsor logos usually stick out like a sore thumb on the front of the card. That’s not the case here.

Another nice touch is the use of diagonal lines above and below the player photo, which gives the card a feeling of movement and prevents it from feeling too squarish.

Overall, a lot of information is put on the card’s front, but it does not feel cluttered .

Worth mentioning is that the cards have no gloss on them, making them perfect to get autographed.

Stats & Info / Back Design (3 out of 5)
Complete player statistics are displayed on the back of each player card, including any junior, collegiate, European and/or NHL statistics. Also listed are the usual biographical data (height, weight, birthdate, birthplace) and a “Fast Fact” if space allows.

nordstrom_backEven all of Michael Leighton’s professional statistics, at a whopping 22 lines, are complete.

leighton_back

They also made room for logos of the IceHogs, the AHL, the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA), as well as the team’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat info. Wait…the IceHogs are on Snapchat? Really? Cool!

logoUnfortunately, the use of medium blue and light blue — while fine for the card fronts — were poor choices for the back of the cards. Player stats are listed against the two different shades of blue in either white text (ick!) or red text (ack!). The white text against the light blue background is difficult to read, while the red text against either shade of blue is nearly impossible to read due to the poor contrast of the colors.

Another thing I don’t understand is that the back of the team logo card is blank. Why make a card and only use one side of it? Why not print a checklist on the back? Or a team photo? Or a large Rockford Register Star logo? Heck, they earned it for making their logo so small otherwise.

Retail Notes
This set was originally given out at a game in December 2014. You can currently purchase it for $10 at the Rockford IceHogs team store — and that price even includes shipping!

Rating 4 out of 5The 2014-15 Rockford IceHogs team set is better designed than your average minor-league team set, and has quite a few cards of players who may very well go onto NHL stardom (see below). The real drawback, though, is that the stats are very difficult to read.

BONUS
Five Chicago Blackhawks prospects worth watching:

leblancDrew Leblanc – LeBlanc (pronounced “le-blah”) won the Hobey Baker Award in 2013 as the best collegiate hockey player. He did not score much last season, and will need another year or two to fully develop into an NHL player (back).

teravainenTeuvo Teravainen – The Blackhawks number one prospect has split this season between Rockford and the parent club (back).

brennanT.J. Brennan – He currently leads the IceHogs in scoring with 33 points in 52 games so far (back).

broadhurstAlex Broadhurst – Broadhurst is from the Chicago suburb of Orland Park. He put up a respectable 45 points in 75 games with the IceHogs last year, leading all Rockford rookies in scoring. (back)

darlingScott Darling – Another locally-grown talent, Darling hails from Chicago suburb Lemont. He was a surprise for the Blackhawks so far this season, going 5-2 in seven games between two call-ups and posting a 1.97 GAA (back).

Notes
28 card set
Card Size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

1 thought on “Review: 2014-15 Rockford IceHogs”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *