The start of the next season for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs and the Southern Professional Hockey League remains uncertain, but they are still aiming for a kick off in December.
One thing is certain: when the date arrives, the Dawgs will sport a new look on the ice.
The Dawgs showcased a new logo and redesigned home and away jerseys on Facebook Live on Thursday night to give fans a first glimpse of what to expect for the coming season and be the first to get the chance. to buy their favorite style that fans love to wear to the Dawgs Games.
The new designs quickly garnered rave reviews in the online comments section, and items like jerseys, shirts, t-shirts, hats and accessories were moving fast as the Dawgs head coach Dan Bremner and team vice president for marketing and corporate sales Alexandra Martin played the role of the improvised online models.
“We had been tossing around the idea of changing the logo and the shirts for several months,” Martin said in a telephone interview with The Star on Wednesday. “This is our fifth year and we thought it was time for a new look. These changes are typical of minor league hockey. We knew there were certain things we wanted to keep, like our mascot, Diesel, and the Roanoke Star, but it was time for a refresh. From a marketing standpoint, we wanted to make it stand out when people started to think about hockey and football, rather than the beach.
The team had not updated their logos or jerseys since they were revealed with the franchise name in November 2015. The team had planned to host an in-person reveal celebration ahead of the 2020 season. -21, but changed those plans to a virtual exit due to continuing concern over COVID-19.
The team began the redesign process last December and sought out a local designer, John Comstock of Magnets USA in Vinton, to help with the creation of the new logo. Comstock is a huge fan of the team.
“My family and I are huge supporters,” Comstock noted in a team statement. “The opportunity to work with the front office on the creation of the new logo has been an incredible experience and a huge honor. I can’t wait to see the boys take to the ice in the new uniforms and have a great season.
Martin noted that the release was also made at that time due to the delay in the SPHL season.
“With no games starting in October, that meant our main revenue stream from games was missing. Now, we’re looking at season ticket sales and merchandise sales to keep that revenue stream going until we get back to the games our fans have been waiting for. “
The new uniforms include a blue “home” jersey with DAWGS on the chest, gold and white trim, with Roanoke on the sleeves. The road jersey in white will have the fan favorite “Diesel” Rail Yard Dawg wearing an engineer cap with a star.
“It’s a simpler logo than before, but basically with the same colors,” Martin said.
All merchandise will soon be available on the team’s website which is under construction to move on to the new designs. It should be completed in the next few days.
The SPHL are still aiming for mid-December for a start date and are hoping for a full 56-game schedule, although no decision has been made on whether the season will be extended beyond April’s normal conclusion. or compressed into 56 games in this period of April.
“We will be ready to deal with this issue when the decision is made by the SPHL,” said Martin of the format for the season. “Right now our target starts in mid-December. If we have to compress the season and play a few games on weeknights, we’ll make it work. Obviously we would prefer to play the Friday and Saturday nights which draw the biggest crowds, but weekday games would be better than no games.
Additionally, the limits of fan participation are still uncertain as COVID-19 unfolds as fall approaches. Minor league hockey is an event business that relies on large crowds for its source of income.
The team continues to move forward with player signings to solidify their roster for the next campaign.
“It’s a strong team and our staff are doing a lot of legwork to prepare for the season,” added Martin. “Our subscribers and fan base have shown incredible support throughout this time.”