Ballclub Thinks Similar Emoji Hockey Jerseys are Frowny Face, Chocolate Swirl

In 2016, fans of the Kalamazoo Growlers, a collegiate summer baseball league team in the Northwoods League, voted to select 25 emojis to be included in what they called “Emojerseys.”

Fast forward about two years and the pattern that resulted from the Growlers jerseys (or at least very close approximation) showed up on jerseys worn by the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

The Growlers noted the similarity and took to Twitter.

“We are having a little fun with the Havoc with some friendly Twitter banter,” said Growlers’ Managing Partner Brian Colopy. “We always love it when teams push the promotional envelope in sports. Our fans enjoyed the jerseys and all the press it received, including an appearance with the anchors on SportsCenter.”

The Huntsville Havoc did not respond to the Growlers on Twitter, and when I reached out to them for comment, they did not want to get drawn into the fray (kind of):

“We really have no comment about what a team in a completely different sport, in a non-professional league, in another state, that had a similar jersey two years ago feels about one of our promotions,” said Bill Hubscher, the Havoc’s Director of Communications.

It’s not unusual for custom sports apparel manufacturers to use templates (you’ve surely seen the same Star Wars Night jerseys worn by different teams a thousand times), and both of these promotional jerseys were created by North Carolina-based OT Sports.

“The Growlers’ emoji jersey was designed by the OT Sports art department using generic emojis which were placed in a collage,” said Scott Gollnick, VP of Sales and Marketing for OT Sports. “Regardless of which emojis are used, they are none the less stock emojis and the design time and creative aspect of the overall jersey appearance was that of OT Sports. Huntsville did change the design to include hockey pucks and added Twitter handles to their nameplates.”

In both cases, the emoji-based jerseys generated the intended attention and were auctioned off for charity.