On Wednesday, it was announced that the National Hockey League would be adding a 31st team to the ranks, this time in Las Vegas. Of the four major professional sports, no team has called Las Vegas their home, but that will change for the 2017-18 season when the team drops the puck at the new T-Mobile Arena just off of the Las Vegas Strip.
Millions of people visit Las Vegas each year and there is already a swelling metro population that has been clamoring for a pro sports team for the past decade after rumors of expansion started up all the way back in 2007. Throughout that time, there have been plenty of detractors who have said that hockey wouldn’t be a good fit for Las Vegas as it’s a “transient population” in a desert state and point to the Coyotes struggling. The problem with that is that more than 10,000 people have already made their deposits on season tickets for the Vegas team.
The team will be owned by billionaire Bill Foley, who paid a fee of $500 million to get them into the NHL. So there is an owner in place, a beautiful $375 million arena in place and a practice facility in nearby Summerlin that will now be built. The only thing that seems to be missing is a name for this team. A lot of ideas have been tossed around for the Las Vegas NHL team, but nothing is set in stone. Let’s take a look at 15 potential names for the team that will make history in Nevada in the fall of 2017.
15 Black Knights
The list starts with the name that seems to be gaining the most traction and appears to be the most likely, the Black Knights. Bill Foley was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point and all of their sports teams go by the same moniker. It seems unoriginal to have a pro sports team named after a college team, but the fact that the company that now owns the Las Vegas team is Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, it appears to be where they are headed with it.
Speaking of the Air Force base in Las Vegas (Nellis Air Force Base), one nickname that makes a lot more sense in terms of tying into the Las Vegas area is the Aces. An ace can refer to someone that is top notch at flying an airplane, which is something that is certainly welcome in the Air Force. A lot of hockey fans in Las Vegas that dislike the Los Angeles Kings are also big fans of the name, since the ace card is the only one that tops a king.
While most people are hung up on naming the NHL team after something that has to do with the gambling or military, there aren’t many that are thinking about other official Nevada state symbols. The official animal of Nevada is the Desert Bighorn Sheep. These sheep are very common in the Mojave Desert and they can grow up 280 pounds with elastic hooves that are able to help them climb steep hills.
Instead of having to steal a name from a minor league team way north of Las Vegas in Reno, how about supplementing one that’s actually in the city? Las Vegas is home to the 51’s, a Triple A affiliate of the New York Mets that play at Cashman Field (which is in serious need of an upgrade or new stadium altogether). The team was named because of Area 51, the top secret Air Force facility that is located less than 90 miles away from Las Vegas.
Another name that has been popular with some of the Las Vegas locals is the Flamingos, although there are plenty of other residents that don’t like it or think it’s unrealistic. The Flamingos would certainly be a unique nickname for a team (no other sports franchise has it) and there are a lot of Vegas tie-ins included. The oldest casino on the famous Las Vegas Strip is The Flamingo, which was founded by infamous Italian mobster Bugsy Siegel.
There are plenty of teams out there in professional sports that have taken their names from local teams that folded or moved cities. The Winnipeg Jets and Cleveland Browns come to mind by naming their teams after the franchises that were once there. Las Vegas could do the same thing by naming their new NHL team the Wranglers. The Wranglers were an ECHL team that played at the Orleans Arena from 2003 to 2014, but stopped playing when they couldn’t find a new arena to house their home games.
In the dictionary, a battler is defined as “a person who refuses to admit defeat in the face of difficulty.” That’s a perfect analogy for sports and the Las Vegas NHL team will face some difficulty in their first few seasons as they look to hit their stride. It might seem like a boring and cliche name, but it hasn’t been taken by any other professional sports team, and it is a good name for the history of Nevada.
8 Dust Devils
If you live in the non-desert area of the United States, you are probably used to standard tornadoes that form from the clouds. In Las Vegas, they live in a huge valley and don’t get to see tornadoes touch ground. Instead, what they see is referred to as a Dust Devil, which is a whirlwind that kicks up dust in a vertical column, looking just like a tornado that sweeps across the sandy and dusty areas.
What do The Killers, Nicki Minaj, Guns N’ Roses, Billy Joel and Ariana Grande all have in common? Yes, they are all headlining acts and they have all already headlined the T-Mobile Arena where the newest NHL team will play their home games. Las Vegas is the city where every performer from music to comedy wants to play since the crowds are always into it and they will pay top dollar to get into the event.
6 Rat Pack
Las Vegas might not be the resort town that it is today if it weren’t for The Rat Pack. The group of friends that consisted of big names like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. put Las Vegas on the map with their performances that sold out to the point where people would sleep in lobbies just to see them. Even to this day, there is a tribute show to The Rat Pack that runs seemingly every night in Las Vegas.
At the moment in Las Vegas, the temperature outside is a balmy 108 degrees and it’s supposed to get up about 115 to 120 degrees throughout the next couple of months. There doesn’t seem to be many clouds in the summer months as the sun shines constantly, beating down on people walking The Strip. Speaking of shining, the Shiners is a good name as Las Vegas is tied with Phoenix for the most sunny days in the United States for major cities.
A lot of us know that California is The Golden State and the NBA’s Warriors even use that in their nickname instead of Oakland (or San Francisco in the future). Nevada, on the other hand, is The Silver State, but that shouldn’t be seen as a second place finish. Silver is what helped establish cities like Las Vegas in the first place as people made their way into the state in the 1800s to mine for silver and gold, finding an abundance of the former.
If Arizona wasn’t too proud to name their NHL team after the desert wildlife, then Nevada shouldn’t be too happy to do the same. Being in the desert, they have a lot of venomous animals in Nevada, including the Gila Monster and several rattlesnakes. There are also scorpions and spiders that you have to worry about that could carry venomous bites. The inherent danger of getting lost in the desert and getting attacked by a venomous animal should strike fear into anybody, and it fits for sports, as well.
While most cities would try to bury their dark past, Las Vegas has done the opposite throughout the years and embraced it. You don’t have to be too much of a historian to know that the modern version of Las Vegas was built by the mafia (or mob, if you will). Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky used their dirty money that they put into Mormon banks to help build The Flamingo, which we mentioned a bit earlier in the list.
There was really no order to the list outside of The Las Vegas Jacks, which I put at number one because it works on so many levels. There are plenty of Jackrabbits that you can find in Nevada, so there is a potential logo right there. The jack also happens to be one of the face cards that you can find in a deck. Above all, though, the most popular game in all of Las Vegas is Blackjack, which has ruined a lot of peoples’ dreams of becoming millionaires in Sin City.
If that isn’t enough, it could also be short for the Jackpots, which everyone is trying to hit when they come to Las Vegas. Just picture the Las Vegas Jacks scoring a goal, then you hear the coins falling out of a slot machine like someone just hit a jackpot followed by Elvis Presley’s famous “Viva Las Vegas.” If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what will.
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