Sunday, July 29, 2012
July by the Numbers once again returns to Switzerland for yet another eye-searing jersey.
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 rebounded to win 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 again and won their way back to the National League A in 1972, ushering in a period of great success, 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 most recently in 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.
SC Bern celebrates their 12th championship in 2010
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 15,779 per game in 2011-12, outdrawing eight NHL clubs in the process. Bern las led Europe in attendance for 10 consecutive seasons and outdrew their next closest Swiss competitor by an average of 8,154!
The fans of SC Bern regularly fill the PostFinance Arena
This high profile led to SC Bern 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.
If you have a logo, SC Bern has room for it on their jerseys
and nearly 16,000 fans to view it
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.
The 2007-08 edition of SC Bern
Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 SC Bern Reijo Ruotsalainen jersey. This fantastic jersey, and by "fantastic" we don't mean "wonderful", but instead "bizarre" and "strange", is yet another is a series of the most unexplainable assaults on the eyes hailing from Switzerland.
While we are unsure of the brand of this jersey, it's got all the hallmarks of the Finnish company Tackla based on the mesh fabric used an the dye-sublimation of the graphics, who rose to prominence when they became the supplier to all teams in IIHF tournaments back in 1988.
This particular example features a vortex of color swirling around the club's crest. While someone lost in the whirlpool of color, the crest is at least still prominently placed on the chest of the jersey and not relegated to secondary status in location or size in deference to a sponsor's logo, as in the case of a soccer/football shirt.
As if the front of the jersey is not insane enough, the vortex is repeated on both arms as well as on the back below the numbers, where at least there are less lines, making it relatively "subdued" when compared to the front.
Also of note is the secondary sponsor logo of the prancing horse, which is not only on the upper left chest, but repeated around the collar no less than 11 times and contained inside both the back numbers.
Today's video section beings with 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.