How about the Black Knights?
When Bill Foley, the billionaire businessman leading the charge to bring professional hockey to Las Vegas, submitted paperwork to the NHL last month to apply for the area’s first major league franchise, he did so under the name Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC.
Immediately, some assumed that’s what the expansion team, which is expected to be approved by the NHL in the fall, would be called.
After all, Foley is a proud graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, whose athletic teams are called the Black Knights.
But it’s not a done deal. Black Knights might just be a placeholder.
“The name of the team will be determined by our season ticket depositors, so get ready with your suggestions and keep the faith,” Foley wrote to fans two weeks ago. “The door has been opened, and we’ve stepped through. Thanks to all of you for your input and support.”
The depositors, who claimed more than 13,000 season tickets during a drive that started in February, showed NHL officials there’s an appetite for hockey in Las Vegas. Getting their say in the team’s name seems like a logical decision, because if it wasn’t for their support, there would be no team to name.
Then again, maybe Foley deserves to name the team. If he wasn’t ponying up most of the expected $500 million in expansion fees, Las Vegas would remain without professional sports.
Assuming the name does go to a vote, here are some suggestions for Foley and the depositors to consider:
Looking for an animal mascot that would strike fear in opponents? This arachnid with potentially deadly venom is commonly found in Las Vegas and would lend itself to creative logos.
Another option for an animal mascot is the mustang, a free-roaming horse with a long history in the American West. Mustangs, common throughout Nevada, are known for their surefootedness and endurance. Those are positive traits in hockey players, as well.
A Las Vegas expansion team likely would play in the same division as the Los Angeles Kings. In a deck of playing cards, only an ace trumps a king. The logo could even be an airplane, in a nod to the flying aces of Nellis and Creech Air Force bases. One negative: The Triple-A baseball team in Reno is called the Aces.
In the 1990s, Las Vegas’ minor-league hockey team was called the Thunder. Why not go a step further and incorporate wind, heat and heavy rain to overwhelm opponents? The Monsoon wouldn’t be out of place in a league with teams called the Lightning, Avalanche and Wild.
If you don’t want a mascot that references gaming, how about a homage to another major industry? Silver mining in Nevada dates to 1859 with the discovery of the Comstock Lode. The state also is one of the world’s largest sources of gold.
By Ray Brewer, Brian Deka