The Central Illinois Flying Aces unveiled its new logos, jerseys, and color scheme while taking part in Monday’s Bloomington Labor Day Parade.
After announcing the name change from the Bloomington Thunder to the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Aug. 24, the release of the new visual identity capped the team’s rebrand for the 2017-18 season, its fourth season as a member of the United States Hockey League.
“We wanted to make this reveal as memorable of a moment as possible because it really signified the start of our new chapter as the Flying Aces,” Chief Operating Officer Brendan Kelly said. “To be able to do this in Bloomington at such a big event for the city is really symbolic of how we want our identity to become an integral part of the community — both here and throughout Central Illinois.”
Aces defenseman and Bloomington native Brady Smith (pictured above) was part of the reveal that also included head coach and general manager Mike Watt, assistant coach Andy Contois, and several other members of the team’s staff. That group started the parade in Bloomington Thunder jerseys, which were removed at various points throughout the route to reveal the new Flying Aces uniforms.
“This was such an awesome experience to be in front of so many people and let them all be part of this,” Watt said. “This community has become very special to me since I moved here two years ago with my wife Niki and our two kids. It’s our home and this team’s home, and I don’t think there was a better way to show that we’re committed to being here than this.”
As revealed at the parade, the Flying Aces’ new visual identity will incorporate some of the Thunder’s image but opts for more of a traditional, vintage look for both the logo and uniforms. Although the Aces will still use navy blue, they will now have a red jersey in place of the navy jersey that has been worn during the past three seasons. Both the red and white jerseys have the same red, white, navy, and light blue piping on the sleeves, while the white jerseys, which will be worn at home for the first half of the season, have red trim on the shoulders.
“We knew we wanted to have red as our primary color because of the special significance it holds in the area and the qualities of power and speed that it evokes,” Kelly said. “Between that and the logo and name, we feel that our new identity really embodies the talent of the rising stars we have playing for us.”
With the rebrand reveal now complete, the attention now turns to the upcoming season. More than 40 players from across the United States and around the world will report this week for the team's training camp with hopes of making the 23-man roster for this season. Among those players are 10 returners from last year’s team and nearly 30 NCAA Division I commits.
The new official website for the Flying Aces, www.flyingaceshockey.com, launches on Tuesday morning.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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