The San Antonio Rampage have struggled to become a consistent post-season contender and the change in affiliation for 2015-16 won’t help matters. As for the logo, in sticking with their city’s sports tradition, the Rampage logo is left in drab shades of black and white. Even bringing back the blue would help give the logo a boost.
(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.) Due to an affiliation change, the San Antonio Rampage could go from division champion to fighting for a post-season berth. This past season’s affiliation with the Florida Panthers resulted in what was inarguably the most successful regular season team the Rampage have ever iced. However, a new affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche is set to begin in 2015-16 and it could be yet another campaign of missing out on the post-season for the Texas team. Sadly, that’s something the club has grown accustomed to. In the 13 seasons the club has been in San Antonio, there has only been five post-season appearances. While this season’s roster should show some growth from the Lake Erie team that missed the playoffs by a mere five points in 2014-15, there haven’t been any major signings that will assuredly put the new-look Rampage over the top. Luckily, the stars of the 2014-15 Monsters will be coming over to the 2015-16 Rampage. That includes
Andrew Agozzino, who led the Monsters with 30 goals and 64 points this past season. That said,
Stefan Elliott and
Freddie Hamilton, who were two of the top five scorers on the roster in 2014-15, have yet to sign new deals and remain restricted free agents with the Avalanche. Youngsters
Mikko Rantanen and
Chris Bigras, both high draft selections of the Avalanche, should be making their AHL debuts this season, too. That could provide the offensive impact the (then-Monsters) roster were missing last season, as they finished 16th in the league in goals for. The Rampage’s play between the pipes should be good — and possibly even great. Goaltender
Calvin Pickard has been a standout at the AHL level and will be suiting up for the club in 2015-16, and he’ll have young backups
Roman Will and
Spencer Martin backing him up. Never has there been back-to-back post-season appearances for the Rampage, but it could be close in 2015-16.
Team History: It’s hard to believe that a franchise like the Rampage, with such a successful history, could have the post-season woes that they currently have. Before landing in San Antonio in 2002 to become the Rampage, the franchise spent 20 years in Glens Falls, New York as the Adirondack Red Wings and the AHL’s Red Wings were a playoff juggernaut, especially in the early years. The Adirondack Red Wings began as an expansion franchise in 1979 and were a picture of consistency rarely seen at the minor league level. Players were retained for several years at a time and it’s no wonder that Glenn Merkosky became the franchise’s all-time games (430), goals (204), assists (212) and points (416) leader, since he spent six full seasons with Adirondack. The AHL Red Wings would become the launching pad for a number of NHL alumni, inlcuding Adam Oates, Chris Osgood and Tomas Holmstrom. It even gave starts to notable front office folk, such as Doug MacLean, Ken Holland and Don Waddell. During their 20-season stay in Glens Falls, the Wings missed the post-season only once, during the 1984-85 season. The very next year, they won the Calder Cup — the franchise’s second — and would go on to win two more in the next six seasons. The 1990s wouldn’t be quite as successful, but the team did manage to make the post-season every season until 1999. Early in 1999, the Detroit Red Wings announced they were considering placing an AHL franchise in Ohio, a move which never came to fruition. The affiliation with Adirondack was suspended and the franchise remained without an affiliate, and out of the league, until 2002 when they were purchased by the Florida Panthers and NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs’ ownership group eventually bought out the Panthers’ interest in the club, and the NBA franchise has had full ownership for the past decade.
Logo History: The Adirondack Red Wings logo was exactly what one would expect: the Detroit Red Wings’ winged wheel logo. There wasn’t any differentiation, either. The club used a word mark at times, but the jerseys themselves were exactly the same as the NHL’s Red Wings.
The logo, like that of the NHL club, didn’t change over the duration of the franchise’s stay in Adirondack. No modifications were made until the club moved to San Antonio, where it adopted Rampage as its name and a charging bull as its primary mark. The silver and blue of the logo was a pleasant change and the logo worked well with the new name. Originally, the team was to be called the Stampede, but the name was changed at the behest of a semi-pro football team. The football club alleged using the name Stampede would be a blatant theft of their moniker, so the Spurs ownership backed off of the name and instead used Rampage.
Current Logo: In keeping with consistent branding across Spurs Sports and Entertainment, the Rampage logo was altered from its previous blue, silver, black and white to remove the blue. The NBA’s Spurs — and all teams under the Sports and Entertainment brand’s umbrella — utilize the color scheme, so it was one that was made with consistency in mind. Look at Pittsburgh, for example. The yellow and black is unique and runs across the cities sports teams. New York’s Mets, Islanders and Knicks all wear orange and blue. Even the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks have been able to land on similar shades of blue, green and silver. While we’re all for consistency, we just wish someone would inject some color into the brand. That’s not the fault of anyone on the Rampage side of things, but rather that in keeping with the established professional sports motif in San Antonio, the franchise is robbed of using anything vibrant in their color scheme. The Rampage logo itself is strong, but the absence of any color leaves it looking bland.
(All logos courtesy of Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net)