(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.) The Providence Bruins were one win away from advancing to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs in 2014-15 but lost consecutive one-goal games to the Hartford Wolf Pack, ending up on the losing end of the first-round best-of-five series. In 2015-16, it might be harder for Providence to even get that far. When the upcoming season begins, the baby Bruins could be without the likes of
Seth Griffith and
David Pastrnak, who were two of the club’s most prolific scorers during the past season. Both Griffith and Pastrnak have shots at making the big club in 2015-16 and without either, Providence’s offense will have to rely on
Justin Florek, who contributed 11 goals and 35 points, has moved on to the New York Islanders. That’s not to mention that one starting netminder, either
Jeremy Smith or
Malcolm Subban, will be making the jump to the NHL to backup
Tuukka Rask, with rookie netminder
Zane McIntyre suiting up as a backup goaltender for Providence. The club has been to the post-season in each of the past three seasons, but as the Bruins look to rebuild, some of the weight could come crashing down on the team in Providence.
Team History: The franchise has interesting beginnings in that the Maine Mariners would go on to become both the Stockton Heat and Providence Bruins. When the original Mariners left Maine in 1987 to become the Utica Devils, an expansion franchise was awarded to Maine and Boston took up affiliation with the club, beginning a new timeline for an alternate version of the Mariners. For five seasons, the Mariners remained in Portland, but took off for Rhode Island to begin the 1992-93 season. Once in Providence, the team was almost instantly successful. The Bruins farm club won a division title in their first season and before the decade was through they were a championship squad. The 1998-99 team was led by coach Peter Laviolette and top-scorer
Randy Robitaille and went from winning 19 games the previous season to Calder Cup champions. They dominated the post-season, losing just four games en route to their first and only league title as the Bruins' affiliate. The club has been the launching pad for the likes of Rask,
Johnny Boychuk and
Adam McQuaid. The franchise leader in goals (101), assists (109) and points (210) is
Logo History: The Mariners logo remained largely unchanged when the affiliation switched from Flyers to Bruins, so there’s a hint of Philadelphia in the franchise’s first logo. The color scheme changed the slightest bit to reflect the Bruins’ colors, but that was it. The real change came when the team moved locales and put down roots in Rhode Island.
The Providence Bruins logo is, like the Albany Devils, a near one-for-one copy of the big club. The spoked ‘P,’ in this instance, is taken directly from the Bruins famed logo. When the Bruins have made changes to their primary mark, so, too, have the P-Bruins. One change the club did adopt that looks quite nice, however, is the Bruins’ alternate logo,
featuring the bear amidst a word mark. The logo is sharp and could easily be the team’s primary crest if they chose to run with it.
Current Logo: As mentioned, the logo, like that of the Albany Devils, is too reminiscent of the big club. The Bruins logo is classic which makes the alteration of the iconic symbol look a bit odd. We want originality, and that’s why it would be better had the Providence Bruins used the secondary crest as their everyday logo. It’s certainly an improvement on the Maine Mariners logo and we like that the Bruins have stayed up to date with Boston’s logo and changed theirs alongside their NHL affiliate, but something bolder would make Providence really stand out.
(All logos courtesy of Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net)