Tuesday, July 12, 2011
July by the Numbers travels to Europe for jersey #12.
Schlittschuh Club (SC) Bern (Ice-skating Club Bern in English) of Switzerland was established on November 3, 1930 and began play on January 1, 1931.
With the Swiss leagues using the promotion/relegation system, common in European soccer and hockey leagues, their first championship came in 1958 in the National League B. Newly promoted to the National League A, they captured a second championship in 1959, rising to the top of the league in absolutely the shortest time possible!
Their next championship came in 1965 after which the team was once again relegated, but won promotion again in 1969. Their time in the NLA was not to last long though and they were relegated yet again.
SC Bern regrouped once more and won their way back to the National League A in 1972, ushering in a period of great success for the club, as they won the NLA championship in 1974, 1975, 1977 and 1979. The late 1980's saw the club rise to the top once again with NLA championships in 1989, 1991 and 1992.
A tenth championship came in 1997 and they have since added titles in 2004 and 2010 for an even dozen in the National League A in addition to the three have have to their credit in the National League B.
Their success on the ice has also led to their outstanding success at the turnstiles, as SC Bern ranks as not only the club with the highest attendance in all of Europe at 15,856 per game, but in 2010-11 they ranked #22 worldwide, outdrawing nine NHL clubs on average!
This high profile also led to them being an attractive alternative to a number of NHLers during the lockout season of 2004-05, when Daniel Briere, Dany Heatley, J. P. Dumont, Marc Savard, Henrik Tallinder and Chris Clark all played for SC Bern at times.
Their competitive success also led to SC Bern being chosen to play the New York Rangers in an exhibition game in September of 2008 in advance of the first Victoria Cup.
SC Bern is also typical of many European clubs in that their jerseys have evolved over time in the area of sponsorship. This gallery takes a look at the evolution of the rise of sponsor in European hockey.
We begin with some late 1960's and 1970's jersey styles which are sponsor free.
Today's featured jersey is a 1981-82 SC Bern Roland Dellsperger jersey. This 1980's jersey is the first appearance of sponsorship we could find on an SC Bern jersey in the form of "Scheweizerische Mobiliar" across the bottom of the back of the jersey.
As the 1990's begin, the sponsorship remains rather minimal, but the jersey designs begin to become more bold and complex thanks to the dye-sublimation method of creating jersey designs.
Fast forward to the early 2000's and the sponsorships have become multiple in numbers as well as crowding the team logos on the front of the jersey. Note on the back of the jersey the player names are now subservient to the sponsor logo which now have the predominant location across the top of the back of the jersey for greater visibility.
Designs continue to evolve as the designs become more arresting and congested while the sponsorships now become a collage of colors, reducing them to a indistinguishable mass, with only the largest and boldest retaining any readability, while the team logos become harder to distinguish, as they are swallowed among the visual noise, a far cry from the pre-sponsorship days when the team logo was all that mattered.
Today's video section beings with Dany Heatley scoring a hat trick while playing for SC Bern. Note the sponsor logos are not limited to the jerseys, but also cover the players helmets, pants and socks as well as the ice.
Up next are the rabid fans of SC Bern creating at atmosphere unlike any in North America.
Finally, a feature story on Briere and Heatley while playing in Switzerland during the lockout.