It's kind of crazy watching something blow up (in a good way) right before your eyes.
This week, the IceHogs promotion, Los IceHogs Night, for next Friday's game (Friday, Nov. 16) against Houston has taken on a life of its own.
It's funny that when we announced the promotional schedule back in September and even put an image of the jersey on IceHogs.com that same day, it hardly caused a ripple of reaction.
But thanks to Puck Daddy (click here), the promotion has gone as viral as any that the IceHogs have ever done.
First off, we need to send a big thank you out to the Latino Leadership Coalition of Rockford for helping with this promotion and providing guidance and advice throughout the process of putting this fun event together. From their standpoint, I know they've stuck their necks out trying to open up a different entertainment option to the Hispanic community.
Secondly, a thanks to SP Apparel for bringing the jersey to life (insert joke here) and to Exclusive Pro Sports in Rockford for custom designing the numbers on the back. Those numbers are unreal!
Listen, we aren't blind. Yes, the jerseys are loud and borderline outrageous. But this is a good opportunity to partner with a segment of our community that we normally aren't known to entertain as an organization and have some fun.
Fortunately for us, the folks who helped organize this event at the Latino Leadership Coalition of Rockford has had the foresight to help us try to grow our product. Call me cynical, but you don't see that in Rockford everyday!
They have been supportive to the idea that hockey, as a sport, and the IceHogs, as an entertainment option in Rockford, are an important and enjoyable part of our community
Unfortunately, every "ying" has its "yang". Again, we know what the jersey looks like and we don't expect everyone to "like" them. But I have seen the word "racist" used in correlation with this jersey.
Here are two definitions of racist:
a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another
To say that the jerseys are racist is not an accurate statement. I don't have a problem with criticism on the organization or someone saying how stupid it is to try to do a night like this or wear jerseys like these. But please be accurate with the choice of words.
As a matter of fact, with the support that the IceHogs have received from the Latino Leadership Coalition of Rockford, I believe that Los IceHogs Night has been the exact opposite of racist as it is building a bridge between two different cultures in the Rockford community.
Here are some thoughts from locals on the jersey through a story on WTVO: Click Here
I will say, as a broadcaster, it might take a day or two to recover from staring at those jerseys for an entire game! So I would like to send out an apology in advance to the voice of the Houston Aeros Joe O'Donnell. At least he'll be feeling my pain.
Hopefully everyone can make it out to the BMO Harris Bank Center on Nov. 16 for the game as we truly believe the night will be a success. We will also be posting information in the next couple of days how you can get your hands on one of the Los IceHogs jerseys.