Sunday, October 22, 2017

New Uniforms for Auburn Club Sports - Hockey & Wheelchair Basketball

Everyone is familiar with a university's main sports - baseball, basketball, most likely football. The NCAA sponsors 90 championships - 41 men, 46 women, and three co-ed - across 23 different sports. But there's another level of athletics at most schools, one that doesn't get the nationally televised exposure or even scholarship money. Club sports feature many different sports not sponsored by the NCAA, like bass fishing, Ultimate Frisbee, sailing, and many others.

auburn uniforms club sports basketball hockey

Club sports typically don't get much attention. Many people don't know they even exist, let alone know their schedules. I, personally, have avoided any club sport coverage on this site for a few reasons. One, I want to get around to covering the varsity sports first. Two, club sports are lacking in coverage, so photos and information regarding the teams and their uniforms is incredibly tough to come by. Plus, with the nature of club sports in general, there's even instances of teammates wearing different uniforms.

Two Auburn club sports recently received new uniforms. With having connections to the programs now, and some information about new and old designs, I figured this would be a good time to show off their new uniforms.

We will start things off with the newer of the two programs. Auburn's wheelchair basketball program is technically listed as an adaptive sport with Auburn University, but fits in the club sport category. The program was started in 2010, and has continued to grow each year since. That first season, the team wore very simple reversible practice jerseys on the court.

auburn basketball wheelchair uniforms
Hand-me-down uniforms were worn in season two
for the wheelchair basketball program
(image via Auburn Adaptive Sports)
Things changed real quickly for the wheelchair basketball team, as they wore old men's basketball uniforms the next season. The 2011 team sported uniforms that the men's team wore during the 2008 season that saw a deep run in the NIT Tournament and a 24-12 overall record. What I love about the hand-me-down uniforms here is that the Virgil Starks memorial patch was left intact. Starks was the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Support Services and passed away in November of 2008. Most Auburn athletic teams wore the memorial logo either as a patch or a decal for the remainder of the season.

The Tigers would wear the Starks jerseys for the 2011 season, before changing to the third uniform design in only the third year of the program's existence. Auburn would finally get a true uniform of their own. Even after shelving the varsity-worn uniforms, the wheelchair team didn't stray too far from the design. The blue jerseys featured an orange shoulder yoke with a white stroke.

auburn basketball wheelchair uniforms
New uniforms, very similar design
(image via Auburn Adaptive Sports)
I believe these were worn for a few seasons before yet another change. Prior to the 2015-16 season, Auburn revealed another new uniform design. Out were the shoulder yokes and in were side panel designs. The new side panels add a lot of contrasting colors, which was needed with the removal of the yoke. The collar also contrasts in collar and somewhat matches the Under Armour template being used by varsity teams across the country. The shoulder yoke also features tiger striping, which is a nice touch.

The white set was a little different, but kept true to the yoke design. The white yoke on a white jersey is different, but the orange striping outlines where the yoke would be placed. There are also two "fangs," for lack of a better term, sitting towards the bottom of the yoke outline.

With the 2017-18 season right around the country, Auburn Wheelchair Basketball revealed - surprise! - another new uniform design. This one, though, has some more meaning to its design than the previous sets. I spoke with Robb Taylor, the team head coach, once these new uniforms were revealed and learned that he had designed them himself. The wordmark and numeral fonts are both new for the program, as is the side panel design (which, in turn, hearkens back to the final Russell Athletics uniforms worn by the men's team). Taylor is also a coach for the USA National Team, which actually came away with gold medals in both in the men's and women's fields in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The connection to the National Team is why the American Flag will be worn on an Auburn basketball court for the first time since 2002.

auburn basketball wheelchair uniforms
The newest members of the Wheelchair Basketball team model their new uniforms
(image via Auburn Wheelchair Basketball)
The shorts feature a few interesting details. The sides sport the AU logo, but housed in a little cut out of the hem line and a cover on top of the logo. It may be a stretch, but it reminds me of the tailoring on the current Under Armour template. The back side of the sorts also features what I can only consider a "tramp stamp," similar - but much larger - than the one the football team wore for the  2011 and 2012 seasons.

The Wheelchair Basketball season begins this weekend with a home tournament. A second home tournament will be played in late January. Keep up with the team through their Facebook page.

Any time this next program is mentioned, there are always reactions along the lines of: "Auburn has a hockey team?!"

auburn hockey uniforms
Who doesn't love Sailor Aubie?! (image via Auburn Hockey)
Yes, Auburn does have a hockey team. As well do other teams in the deep south, including UAB, Alabama, Tennessee, and others. A big factor to lack of awareness for the program is that they play their home games in Columbus, Georgia, a good 45-minute drive east of campus.

The Auburn Ice Hockey Club Team has been around for many years, but, naturally, there's not a lot of historical information available.

The team gained a lot of popularity a few years back solely due to their uniforms. Prior to the 2014 season, Auburn Hockey sported what many consider to be their favorite Auburn logo - Sailor Aubie. Having any Auburn entity sport this logo was and still is rather rare, as the logo hasn't been used in an official manner in the school's history. It has always been used on merchandise and by fans, but never by the University itself. Auburn Hockey actually sold these game sweaters on eBay for $100 each after the 2013 season. Needless to say, they went rather fast. A blue jersey also sported the Sailor Aubie image, but was replaced with a New York Rangers style design (which in and of itself mimics an older Auburn design from 2011).

auburn hockey uniforms
Stripes are always important for an Auburn uniform
(image via Auburn Hockey)
The following season, the team showed off their new uniforms, which were much more lackluster than the one they replaced. While the Rangers-inspired design stayed, the whites now featured a roundel image with the Auburn AU logo. The more traditional striping pattern was also replaced with a simpler design.

Another year, another new design for a non-football Auburn program. In January of 2017, the team showcased a new blue sweater for the Tigers. This one featured a large AU logo on the chest, with white panels on the sleeves that housed the player number and stripes.

auburn hockey uniforms
Simple sometimes isn't always better. But stripes are.
(image via Harden Harris)
Shortly before the 2017-18 season began, Auburn Hockey hinted at new uniforms coming. Unfortunately, they kept getting delayed. In fact, the new uniforms were just delivered a few days ago at the time of writing this. The new white set mimics that of the blue, with a nice set of stripes featured inside a contrasting blue field. Unfortunately, the chest showcases the Auburn Tigers wordmark, which looks a bit awkward with the empty space below. The AU logo feels like a better fit for the space.

The team also mentioned that these will be available for purchase at a future point.

The best addition of the season comes in the form of one of the goalie masks. Goalie and team vice president Hayden Harris shared with me a few weeks ago the new helmet design that he will be sporting this year. Highly stylized (almost "robotic," in a sense) tiger and eagle heads dawn the sides of the mask, but the most appealing aspect is the Toomer's Corner design.

The Auburn Hockey schedule runs from September to February. Home games are played at the Columbus Ice Rink. The team's schedule is available on their Facebook page.

Enjoy uniforms and want to see more like this? Be sure to follow the Auburn Uniform Database, like the AUD Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter for even more uniform news. Also, you can support this site by purchasing AUD t-shirts and other merchandiseYou can also purchase your favorite team's merchandise throughFanatics, with a portion of your sale going to support this website.

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