The Hockey Team That Has No Name


The owner of the National Hockey League’s newest franchise is having trouble coming up with a team name. It seems all his best ideas are taken—at least where trademarks are concerned.  

“We have a lot of names in mind, but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked,” Fidelity National Financial Inc. Chairman Bill Foley, who was granted a Las Vegas hockey franchise by the NHL in exchange for a $500 million expansion fee last month, told the Associated Press.  “I'm happy to take any suggestions anyone has for a name, particularly one that's not already trademarked.”  

Hockey is no stranger to trademark difficulties.  

The Orlando Solar Bears, a mid-level professional team, spent years in a trademark row with David D’Amato, who claimed he was the original designer of the team’s logo of a polar bear wearing sunglasses. A district court judge dismissed the suit last year after discovering D’Amato submitted forged documents in the case.  

The University of North Dakota—forced by NCAA policy to abandon its Fighting Sioux team nickname— ran into trouble with one of the replacement candidates: the Roughriders. The name was meant to invoke former U.S. president and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy in the North Dakota badlands but was already registered for use in hockey by a U.S. Hockey League team from Cedar Rapids, Iowa—which told the university in no uncertain terms that it would enforce it.  

A couple of weeks later, Marlan “Hawk” Haakenson, a former Bismarck, N.D., mayor who supports the  Fighting Sioux nickname, registered state-level trademarks for the remaining candidates in an effort to frustrate the re-naming process. Ultimately, university students and alumni chose Fighting Hawks as the team’s new nickname, which may have gotten under “Hawk” Haakenson’s skin.  

Foley insists there won’t be a similar vote for his team’s name, though he is inviting suggestions. Another factor in play is what type of name he’s looking for.  

“It should represent Las Vegas, it should represent the environment, it should be unique to Las Vegas,” Foley told the AP. “But it needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, `These guys are tough, these guys are going to win, these guys are dedicated.’ So I need to have that kind of momentum, that kind of philosophy behind the name.”  

Any ideas?