On Journalism, Credit, and Perception

I am not a journalist.

At least that’s how I see it.

I spent a lot of time over the last year – DetroitHockey.Net‘s 20th season – thinking about what kind of site I wanted to run and what I wanted to write.  I decided that I don’t want to force myself to be unbiased.  I don’t want to sit in the pressbox, I want to sit in the stands.  I want to write about what I find fun.

That doesn’t mean I won’t hold myself to a certain standard.  I expect my readers to hold me to that, too.  It also doesn’t mean I don’t want to write serious pieces or topical pieces.  It just means I want to be more picky about what I write and when.

That said, today I was reminded that no matter how seriously I take myself, I can’t make those who would be my peers take me seriously.

Yesterday I published a post to DetroitHockey.Net that was the result of a not-inconsiderable amount of research and data tracking.  After weeks of compiling information about domain registrations, I thought I had discovered the name of the new Las Vegas NHL team, which isn’t set to be announced for another month.  Or at least a possible name.

There wasn’t much of a reception.  The Red Wings fanbase doesn’t really care about the Las Vegas team name and the Vegas fans don’t seem to really trust a Red Wings blog.  Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Until this morning when an article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was published, featuring all of the same points as my post (though some of them were slightly off, as if paraphrased by someone without full technical understanding of the details).

It was clear that my work was the basis of that article.  The original post did not credit me.  Since then, the following line has been added:

DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

It’s credit, and it’s probably all I can ask for, but let’s take a look at how other outlets have picked up the news…

Yahoo:

On Thursday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the name could be Desert Knights.

Fox Sports:

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal…

CBS Sports:

According to the Review-Journal…

Somewhat hilariously, NBC Sports credited the Review-Journal with breaking the story, then proceeded to quote the part of the article that credits DH.N.

How is it that all of the major outlets came to name the LVRJ as the source even as that paper named DH.N?  Why did we not see Fox Sports credit the Review-Journal only for NBC Sports to credit Fox Sports?

Well, lets take a look at the first couple paragraphs from the Fox Sports piece.

The NHL’s Las Vegas expansion team may finally be leaning towards a decision on its name, if recent domain registrations are any indication. Those domains point to the Sin City hockey club being dubbed the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Moniker Privacy Services — the same company that procured the NHL’s own website domain — has privately registered the rights to lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com. When asked about those registrations and the potential team name, team owner Bill Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had no comment on the matter.

Fox Sports opens with a summary, immediately credits the LVRJ, and goes into exactly what information they got from that source.

The Review-Journal, however, opened as follows:

Bill Foley may get his wish on his hockey team being called the Knights. Just with a modifier.

Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.

DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

In this case, a summary was provided, then all of the information, then a retroactive credit to the source.  Ignoring the fact that said credit wasn’t even in the original version of the LVRJ story, it’s not hard to see that Fox Sports put the source front and center while the Review-Journal slid it in as an aside.

The LVRJ writer, Justin Emerson, apologized via Twitter after being called out.  However, it’s clear that the paper got what they wanted out of this.  They made no effort to correct the people who were crediting them with the find.  Not their job to do so, I suppose.

So – after some prodding – the Las Vegas Review-Journal gave DetroitHockey.Net credit.  They also got all the credit.


From a technical perspective, I find it hilarious to see all of these sportswriters trying to paraphrase how domain registration works.  Near universally, Moniker has gone from the registrar for all of the related domains to the registrant.

Look for the technically accurate information and you’ll find the original source.

Thoughts on Hockey Sweaters

I think about hockey sweaters a lot.  I’ve collected them since I was a kid.  I doodle jersey concepts for fun.  I study their history.

Of the ones I owned growing up, my favorite was my Steve Yzerman Team Canada jersey from the 1998 Olympics.  White with the alternate captain’s A on it.  Pro-weight, with that thick Bauer mesh over the body. Red dazzle material over the sleeves and shoulders with a loose mesh for venting down the side.

I always loved the feel of that sweater.  The weight of the mesh.  The giant Team Canada crest.  Wearing it felt like wearing armor.

Though I’m a Detroit fan, no Red Wings jersey has felt like that.  The mesh of an authentic jersey always feels good but the Winged Wheel is too small, its proportions are off.  It’s a thing attached to the front of the sweater, not a part of it.

I think about the submissions I’ve done for the Grand Rapids Griffins’ jersey design contest and I realize how much those are influenced by that Team Canada jersey.  I created them to be like armor.  Heraldic imagery.  And a big damn shield right on the front.

Grand Rapids Griffins Alternate Jersey Concept 2016

Once again, the Grand Rapids Griffins are holding their annual jersey design contest and, even though I know I disagree with their design preferences, I’m throwing my hat into the ring.

Two years ago I entered a design featuring a griffin silhouette on a shield as the primary logo, with the jersey in “vintage” white, blue, and red. The shoulder logo was a roundel with an interlocking GR logo the team had previously used. Last year I tweaked the logo to make the griffin’s wing a little cleaner, switched up the shoulder logos, changed the number font, and updated the colors to go along with the Griffins’ color change, but the striping pattern stayed the same.

This year I thought for certain that I was going to enter another red jersey, so I started with my previous design. I swapped out the “vintage” colors and simplified the striping pattern. Rather than black numbers with a white outline, I went with white numbers outlined in black as they would be more legible.  I kept the player’s jersey number in the collar webbing because, as I’ve said before, I loved that feature of their old alternate jersey.  I also brought back the shoulder logo from my original entry as a 20th Season patch no longer made sense.  Finally, I broke down and put the Winged Wheel logo of the Detroit Red Wings on one shoulder, as the Griffins do that on their standard jerseys to denote their parent club, no matter how much I dislike the practice.

The first version of my concept for the Griffins' 2016 jersey design contest.
The first version of my concept for the Griffins’ 2016 jersey design contest.

I felt like that design was too simple, though, so I continued evolving the design. For the second generation, I switched the order of the sleeve colors and removed the shoulder yoke. I wanted the Griffins’ jersey to have an homage to the alternate colored sleeves of the Red Wings’ white jersey. I also brought back the black numbers outlined in white as I figured for a one-shot jersey, legibility is less of a concern (in fact, the Griffins wore dark red numbers on a dark blue jersey for one game two seasons ago).

The second version of my concept for the Griffins' 2016 jersey design contest.
The second version of my concept for the Griffins’ 2016 jersey design contest.

Unfotunately, I thought that looked far too close to the design of the Texas Stars. While the Griffins selected a design two seasons ago that was basically a color swapped Iowa Wild jersey, I wasn’t comfortable submitting something like that.

As such, I decided to fully embrace the alternate-colored sleeves. I made the jersey body red with a black stripe bounded by white and the sleeves black with a red stripe and white outline. I also changed up the shoulder logo, replacing the interlocking GR with the griffin silhouette I used on the crest as I didn’t want to re-use one of the team’s existing marks, even modified.

The third version of my concept for the Griffins' 2016 jersey design contest.
The third version of my concept for the Griffins’ 2016 jersey design contest.

At this point, I thought that I had my final design. I started showing it to a handful of people and near-universally the feedback was that they wanted to see a black version. Of course, I had started out trying to make a red jersey, so at first I ignored this.  Eventually I hit the point where I had to listen to what my informal focus group was saying and did a switch of the colors. While a quick Twitter poll showed 53% of fans would have preferred a red jersey, 100% of people who saw both the red and black jerseys picked the black one. As such, the black one was my final design.

My submission for the Griffins' 2016 jersey design contest.
My submission for the Griffins’ 2016 jersey design contest.

There are some coincidental homages in this design.  The Grand Rapids Owls, an International Hockey League team in the late 1970s, wore jerseys with red sleeves that had black stripes outlined in white.  Additionally, the Red Wings sold “fashion” jerseys (alternate jerseys that were never actually worn in-game) that had a black body with a red stripe at the waist, red sleeves with a black stripe, and numbers that match this design.  The stripes did not include a white outline.


The Griffins explicitly stated that they wanted a dark jersey from this year’s contest.  I imagine that’s because of the AHL’s new rule that will see light jerseys worn at home until Christmas and dark jerseys after that.  Previously there had been some flexibility with regards to alternates but I’d guess that’s out the window with these new rules.

At any rate, just for fun, I created a white version of my submission.

An alternate white version of my concept for the Griffins' 2016 jersey design contest.
An alternate white version of my concept for the Griffins’ 2016 jersey design contest.

As I mentioned, the primary logo is carried over directly from last season’s submission, aside from the color switch.  This is a logo full of homages.  The shape of the shield is that of the DetroitHockey.Net logo as a reference to my previous work.  The feathers on the griffin’s wing are those of the Winged Wheel.  The griffin’s tail is that of the original Grand Rapids logo.

The crest logo for my 2016 Griffins jersey contest submission.
The crest logo for my 2016 Griffins jersey contest submission.

The shoulder logo went through a number of revisions as I sorted out what color it would be placed on, how much detail should be included, and what element would be inside the roundel.

While I think that having a silhouetted griffin on both the crest and the shoulder is a bit repetitive, I see the different uses to be somewhat like how the Tampa Bay Lightning have a lightning bolt on both the crest and the shoulder.


As I’ve said every year, I don’t expect to win this contest.  This year is interesting because ten finalists will be determined by fan vote and then the Griffins staff will decide.  Additionally, this year submissions do not have to follow a standardized template.  If I had to guess, the vote will skew towards submissions that look like they come out of a video game, as they come across as the most impressive.  Whether or not those are actually the best designs will have to be seen.


Update: After posting this I noticed that the shoulder logos are incorrectly depicted on the view of the back of the jersey.  They should be switched so that the Winged Wheel is on the right shoulder and the roundel is on the left, as they appear in the view of the front of the jersey.  I’m not going to update the graphics, just use your imagination a little.