ECAC Makes Changes
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
ALBANY, N.Y. In 2004, when the ECAC became, for all intents and purposes, an independent hockey league distinct from the main ECAC office in Massachusetts, the hockey conference became officially known as the "ECACHL" — the ECAC Hockey League.
Now, as announced by league commissioner Steve Hagwell on Saturday afternoon, the "ECACHL" is dropping the cumbersome addition to its name and going back to ECAC Hockey, while, at the same time, further distancing itself from the overall ECAC by undergoing a facelift.
In 2000, the ECAC began using its current logo, with the familiar red ellipse encircling the ECAC text. Then, when the league separated itself as a distinct entity in 2004, CHN suggested 10 things to make the "ECACHL" truly new and improved. By 2005, only a year later, nine of those 10 suggestions had already been fulfilled.
The only suggestion that remained? The need for a new logo.
Well now, the ECAC is a perfect 10-for-10. Hagwell unveiled a new logo for the league, to be effective starting next season. The league will also revamp its web site, starting next season.
Said Hagwell, "[The logo] has been in the process for 12 to 18 months or so, when this league decided to separate from the ECAC on the Cape and do its own business and set up office here in Albany. Part of that development was that we had to change our logo and go from ECAC Hockey to the ECAC Hockey League."
But now they're back to ECAC Hockey, as shown in the new design, which perhaps can best be described as strong, bold, and confident.
"It modernizes it," said ECAC assistant commissioner Laura Stange. "We wanted to modernize the look, but we didn't want it to be cheesy. We didn't want it to be trendy. We wanted it to be something that down the road could still be useable and viable for us."
One thing the ECAC didn't change was the venue for its postseason tournament. Now in the second year of a three-year deal with the Times Union Center in Albany, the league extended that deal two years, through 2010.
Meanwhile, the colors remain the familiar red and blue, keeping with the league's tradition while at the same time heading in a new direction.
"We felt that the colors were familiar with our institutions," said Stange. "People saw the red and blue and they knew it was ECAC. We just richened them and made them deeper colors. And we stuck with a traditional, strong collegiate font."
Part of CHN's original suggestions two years ago was for the league to maximize its resources when making decisions, including the one to go to a new logo design.
And the league has done just that, receiving input from a variety of sources, from the administrative level to the student level.
Explained Stange, "First, we worked with the administrators and then we broke it up, going with a couple [Sports Information Directors], a marketing person, and a graphic design artist within our own school system. In the end, for direct hands-on input, we had eight people from eight different schools."
Now, with the new logo revealed, the ECAC will look to gain even more exposure in coming seasons. This year, although the league championship game is televised on CSTV, neither semifinal game was available on television, and the ECAC has tended to lag behind other major college hockey conferences in terms of television exposure.
"From a league standpoint, we want as much exposure as we can," said Hagwell. "We certainly want our semifinal games and our championship game to be televised at the very least. We ran into a situation this year where the women's Frozen Four took place yesterday, and CSTV is locked in to that. So they were boxed out from doing our semifinals."
Added Stange, "We talk to the major [networks]. We talk to ESPNU, to CSTV. They're looking for games, we're willing to give them games, and it's negotiating between those parties as far as what dates they have available, what they're looking for, what demographic or regions they're trying to reach.
"It's become more competitive, with ESPNU coming onto the front. And with CBS buying CSTV, that changed that dynamic in their standards and priorities a little bit too. Television needs money to function, and we try to do what we feel is best for us financially and what's best for our teams as far as getting them exposure."