While the Rapids Youth Hockey program was formalized in 2015, the seeds were laid many years prior. Before the Pavilion was constructed in 2014- 2015, ice hockey players here skated at the 7th Mountain rink (known then as the Inn of the 7th Mountain), Sunriver rink, and other spots in town that were flooded in the winter to make temporary sheets of ice (Troy Field and a concrete pad where Juniper Swim Center is now located) . The Rapids Polar Bears was the name of this informal group of players. A few kids who were especially passionate and skilled joined other teams around the state with more formalized programs like Eugene or Portland. They commuted to practices and games from Bend.
The arrival of our NHL regulation ice sheet (the Simpson Pavilion) in Bend in 2015 was a game changer for our ice sports community. The Bend Park & Recreation District launched a suite of programs providing youth and adults the opportunity to experience the joy of ice whether learning to skate or learning the skills for ice hockey, figure skating, and curling.
While the Pavilion was under construction, a dedicated group of parents of the Bend Polar Bears ice hockey players and other passionate people formed the first steering committee led by co-chairs Scott Wallace and Megan Herman. The Bend Polar Bears became the Bend Rapids and the process of becoming an officially recognized program under USA Hockey and Oregon State Hockey Association began. Uniforms s were designed, logos were created, coaches volunteered, and teams were formed at 8U, 10U and 12U. At the start there were not enough older kids to support 14U or 18U teams.
The Rapids program has seen considerable growth over the last 7 years. The 2022-23 season is a milestone with the Rapids fielding it's first AA team at the 16U level, which we hope will have a shot a national level play. With input in hand from our 200+ members and the steering committee it was time to take a step forward with an updated look for the Bend Rapids uniforms.
A partner with experience in sports uniform design and production was selected; Oregon based KTib Design & Art. Research ensued. Sketches were made. More research was done, followed by mockup after mockup. Questions like, “What is unique to the Rapids identity?” were tackled. While the Rapids logo is unchanged, we all know ice hockey has a visual hierarchy that is familiar. Where does the Rapids uniform fit in that? Striping, color, font direction, type, and size, and other seemingly generic elements, when assembled together elevate to become one. This new design pays homage to the Rapids colors and includes a more traditional sweater look, with classic striping and lettering.
The Rapids logo has not changed. It moved from the center-front to the shoulders. Although not shown in these mockups below, the 'WW' will be on the sleeve as a tribute to the founder of ice hockey in Central Oregon, Wally Wallace.