“He agreed with everything I said,” Slabyk said. “Then we talked about a second meeting. But it never happened.”
Slabyk said it’s likely that Reebok’s deal with the NHL, which went into effect in 2005, had some bearing on the creation of the new logo. Reebok owns exclusive rights to the production and sales of jerseys for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Slabyk believes that Reebok farmed the logo design to a national company.
He now lives in Chicago, but Slabyk thinks the design is proof that the league isn’t concerned about local fans, but picking up buyers in other markets.
“They think that local fans will buy it no matter what it looks like, so they’re kind of cut out of the process,” he said. “They’re looking to get people who wouldn’t usually buy it.”
Slabyk got to see the new design a few weeks before it was leaked as some industry friends snuck him a copy. His first thought was that it was a fake, especially since the Sabres said they weren’t prepared to release the logo until September.
“But the more I hear, the more I think this is the real thing,” he said. “And the best way I can describe it is soulless.”
Celestino’s Web site has created a stir — he’s been on local TV and radio stations since it debuted — and a number of designs have made their way into his e-mail inbox.
But he’s decided not to post the designs, even though he’s a fan of Slabyk’s work.
“I don’t really think it’s my job to cheerlead for anyone’s design,” Celestino said. “I don’t want to take a stance. I want to say that what the team has done isn’t enough.”