What Should A Winnipeg NHL Team Be Named?
With all the recent talk of the potential sale of the Atlanta Thrashers and possible move to Winnipeg, the biggest question being asked by fans is: what will the team be named? The rumors seem to suggest that the Manitoba Moose is the current front runner, thanks to the interests of potential owners True North Sports. There is historical precedent for the obviously the Winnipeg Jets, but also other, even older names. Could they even remain the Thrashers? There are even more options out there. Which names are possible and why? Find out after the jump.
As things currently stand, it appears that the Manitoba Moose seem to be the favorite of True North Sports. They currently own the minor league Moose, and would likely move that team to another city as the Thrashers absorb the team name and logo. This helps in terms of merchandise already existing, but not so much in terms of fans. The roster would obviously be completely different, and even the current Moose are an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. There are more problems withe the Manitoba Moose name. The actual minor league team, and name, have moved once already. They came over from Minnesota when the Wild brought the NHL back to town. The team colors, and even the logo, are very similar to the Wild colors and branding. Having two teams so close together with such similar markings could be difficult, especially if they ended up in the same division. Hopefully, the owners will possibly address this, adding a new color palette for the NHL, and maybe a new logo is we're lucky.
Obviously, by sentiment and rumor boards, the idea of bringing back the Winnipeg Jets from hockey lore gives a lot of people a dose of nostalgia. It also appears to be the fan favorite at this point in time. Whether the same logo, or a new modern logo, the fans seem to want to see the Jets return to the NHL. While the league owns the name and logo, it would obviously make the arrangements to allow a change of hands. BUT, the real Jets franchise still exists in Phoenix, with players like Teemu Selanne still in the league who have be actual Winnipeg Jets. If Phoenix had relocated, the choice would be obvious. With this being the Thrashers, things are a little more up in the air.
The Winnipeg Falcons were actually a professional hockey team at the start of the 1900's. They even represented Canada in the 1920 Antwerp Winter Games, winning the first ever ice hockey gold medal awarded. Unfortunately, the franchise is moving from Atlanta, a city who happens to have an NFL team by the same name. Not wanting any ties back South, expect a fresher start than Falcons.
To take an even deeper dive into Canadian hockey history, the team could be branded as the Winnipeg Victorias. The Victorias played in a pre NHL era, and even won three Stanley Cups in 1896, 1901, and 1902. The precedent already exists in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators. They were another early franchise name rebooted into the modern NHL. The history of the name is fun, but it feels a little too, well, Victorian. In this new day and age, such an old name is difficult to sell.
Winnipeg Voyageurs/Manitoba Voyageurs
So far, Voyageurs seems to be my favorite idea for a new name. The idea of naming an NHL team the Voyageurs isn't new, as it was one of six finalists in competition for what became the Minnesota Wild. Voyageurs evokes the rugged French traders who glided across the lakes and rivers of the area in their mighty canoes. This moniker works for both the Winnipeg and Manitoba locale options. It give birth to a virtually unused, and intriguing, nickname. By incorporating a canoe, and likely some water blue, this name could be a big hit.
Winnipeg Lakers/Manitoba Lakers
While it is difficult to envision the name being anything but synonymous with Los Angeles, the Manitoba region definitely deserves more right to the name than California. After all, the Lakers moved to LA from just south of Winnipeg all those years ago. Lake Winnipeg and all trillions of fishing holes in Manitoba would be given respect with the Lakers nickname. In fact it gives a lot of jersey and logo design options to play with. A good example would be the Lake Superior State University jerseys and their larger anchor logo.
Not so much a strong contender in the debate as a nod to one of Winnipeg's greatest exports. The Weakerthans are a fantastic band from Winnipeg who make for a great listen any time, especially when completing cross country car trips and exploring everything from plains to peaks. Naming the franchise after a such a local product would show that Winnipeg indeed is One Fine City!
Manitoba Bisons/Manitoba Herd
Using this moniker would be taking a page from college teams, even one with a local fan base. The University of Manitoba is nicknamed the Bisons. Using either of these names would be giving a tribute to the fact that the region is prairies, and was was inhabited by the majestic buffalo in past times. Unfortunately, the Sabres use of the buffalo in its logo would be a difficult push in terms of merchandising.
Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms. He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long. Look for new articles throughout the week. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bryanvickroy . If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .