The evolution of the Express logo


Much like the name of a team, the primary logo is a key component of branding and marketing for any organization. What does the logo look like? What colours are used? Is the city name included? All are valid questions that must be asked when designing, selecting, and embracing a logo.

Fellow BCHLNetwork writer Brieann Knorr recently evaluated each logo of every BCHL team and ranked them from 1st to 18th. Using some of her findings, interjected with some of my own opinions and thoughts, here is how the three primary Coquitlam/Burnaby Express logos stack up next to each other.

The early years: 2001-05

With hindsight being 20/20, the first Express logo with its poor outlines and non-aggressive childhood appearance is a classic example of what not to do. This incarnation has often been compared to that of the childhood television show and character, Thomas the Tank Engine. The two hockey sticks – one in the train’s hands and one horizontally alongside the train’s wheels – are the only features that identify the association of this logo with a hockey team.

The top hand on the stick would be more effective if it didn’t look like it was just floating in mid-air attached to sheer nothingness. The same can be said of the Coquitlam wordmark for instance although the wordmark does not appear on the jersey or ballcap version of the logo.

The logo does have that 1990’s cartoon feel which suited the era it was used in, but it should definitely not be on the revisit list or destined for retro jersey incorporation anytime soon.

Rating: 1.5/5

The Burnaby years: 2006 to 2010

To the delight of many and the chagrin of a few die-hard fans, the Express had their logo redesigned just in time for their temporary relocation to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby following the 2004-05 season. It was this redesign that became the basis for the logo for the team today. The original cartoon train locomotive was mothballed to the big train station in the sky, and replaced by a slick new Express speed train rocketing along a skate blade track, with a menacing aggressive face replacing the smiling face of the original “Thomas the Tank”.

The new logo undoubtedly received some scrutiny on the club’s march to the 2006 RBC Cup championship. It was just two seasons later when Justin Dickie of The Hockey News named the logo the best in Canadian Junior A Hockey.

It was definitely a step in the right direction following the demise of the Express’ original logo concept, and Burnaby’s was the only team west of Saskatchewan to make the grade.

With the awesome aggressive train and bold new colours, it is easy to see why this logo received the recognition nationally and part of the reason why to this day it remains a fan favourite and likely will for years to come.

Rating: 5/5

The current edition: 2015 to today

Prior to the 2010-11 season, the team moved back to Coquitlam upon the completion of the renovations to the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex. The Express kept its logo as-is for four seasons, only changing the Burnaby wordmark to Coquitlam.

Prior to the 2015-16 season, the team changed its colour scheme and logo to align with the Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association Chiefs. The red part of the logo was changed to black with a small hint of yellow added. The previously red Coquitlam wordmark was changed to black, and the menacing toothy grill was eliminated in favour of a solitary headlight.

While the structural integrity of the logo remains intact, I believe that more was taken away than was added. The red and grey schematic is more visually appealing than the over-used black and yellow pallet. Even the subtle change in the colour for the wordmark acts more of a hindrance or detriment than it does an improvement.

Rating: 3.5/5

Now the Express move into the next decade with a relatively new ownership group in place, and along with the Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association’s rebranding on the horizon, one can only wonder where the Express train logo will stop next.