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‘Pink in the Rink’ Jerseys: “Something different” from Erik Diehl

Tuesday, March 1st
‘Pink in the Rink’ Jerseys: “Something different” from Erik Diehl

When the Steelheads organization began making preparations for this weekend’s “Pink in the Rink” Jersey Auction, sponsored by St. Luke’s, they were excited by the prospect of doing something different with their jerseys, an outside-the-box design that would interest fans beyond the novelty of a pink hockey jersey that many teams in the ECHL produce each year.

Luckily for the Steelheads, they didn’t have to look outside their own offices to find a designer who could get the job done.

Erik Diehl, an Account Executive in the Steelheads Sales Office, was tapped to create this year’s “Pink in the Rink” jersey and came out with something that Steelheads fans will find both familiar and refreshingly original all at once.

“I wanted to do something different for the team this year with my design background,” said Diehl. “I put together a couple of different proofs and passed them around, having everyone in the office pick their favorite elements from each only later to be combined into our final product.”

Those proofs involved a variety of design concepts, all of which attempted to re-purpose past Steelheads logos into one new design. That was an angle suggested by Steelheads President Eric Trapp.

“Eric Trapp had the idea of meshing together a couple of the past logo designs. From there I saw it fit to throw the state of Idaho element into that pulling from one of our early logo designs, instead of the fish used on the current team logo,” said Diehl. “The logo itself was a collaboration of both Trapper and me.”

This year’s “Pink in the Rink” jersey primarily combines the bottom half of the mountain-scape logo used in recent seasons, utilizing the team name and font as well as the ”swooshing puck” across the bottom. The name and puck are superimposed on the state of Idaho, hearkening back to Steelheads alternate logo of the late 90s.

In addition to the logo and the jersey’s heavy use of black, an element meant to give the pink features and design elements of the jersey more ‘pop’, fans will notice a unique border along the bottom of the sweater.

Lining the bottom hem of the jersey, Diehl included the outline of the Boise skyline.

“I did a design for an advertising class back in college that I used that element for,” said Diehl. “So I pulled it off of a previous design and used it for what I believe to be that key artistic element.”

This is Diehl’s first design for the Steelheads, but he’s been an active artist through several mediums since early childhood. He began painting on his bedroom walls as a kid and never looked back.

“I actually have a display out in Freak Alley, which is the biggest outdoor art gallery in the Northwest, and have done everything from painting old records to acrylic art on walls. I used to focus on apparel a lot more such as t-shirts and sweatshirt designs while at the University of Idaho, but have since focused more on freehand artwork. That is definitely my favorite.”

With that art background, Diehl wanted his design to be not just sharp, but creative.

“It’s extremely different. I did a lot of searching through previous jersey themes in the NHL and AHL. There isn’t a lot of artistic flare in the sport of hockey.”

“There are a lot of different designs, but there isn’t a lot of abstract artwork or imagery on hockey jerseys. I made this simple still, not too busy, but I wanted to pull from that abstract mindset.”

That attention to detail goes beyond the logo, focusing on elements as particular as the stripe down the side of the jersey and the sleeves. Diehl explained that some NHL jerseys feature stripes on the sleeve, while some just fade from one color to another going from shoulder to wrist. This design does both.

Diehl enjoyed flexing his artistic muscle and hopes he’ll have the opportunity to do it again in the future, even considering using his talents for side work when he’s not at CenturyLink Arena. Yet there will be something particularly special for Diehl when he goes to work on Friday night and sees the Steelheads take to the ice draped in his creation.

“I loved hockey growing up and my goal was always to work for the Steelheads. Growing up, I had a piece of paper with that goal written on it in my room. It was pinned to my wall all the way through college and I looked at it every day,” said Diehl.

“Not only do I work for the team, but now they will be playing in one of my jerseys. It’s almost unbelievable.”

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