Both the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets
and the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes have announced that they will be changing their name. I hoped that the New York Mets were going to be included in this group, changing to the New York Mess, but unfortunately that is not happening.
New Orleans wants to have a name that is linked closer to their geographic identity. As you may recall the Jazz originally played in New Orleans from 1974 – 1979 and moved to Utah for the 1979-1980 season. Utah should have changed their nickname but they stuck with the Jazz and the Mardi Gras color scheme which never really made sense (the Utah Jazz has since updated their logo and colors). Anyway, New Orleans got another NBA team in 2002 when the Charlotte Hornets relocated to the Crescent City. New Orleans kept the Hornets moniker but have decided that after 10 years a change is much needed. Of course for merchandising purposes.
The talk on the street is that the New Orleans Hornets are considering the name Pelicans, which would be fitting since Louisiana is the Pelican State.
Bonus Fact: I memorized all 50 state nicknames in college on Sunday afternoon because I was just bored. A helpful fact during Jeopardy time as I have retained approximately 95% of the nicknames. Go ahead ask me.
Anyway, I love the Pelican name, it seems a nice fit just like I think the New Orleans Saints name is great. I always prefer a team name with local flavor to that of some generic team nickname. See a good recent example of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Except for the Fleur de Lis and NOLA in their alternate logos, which are cool looking but seems forced, the name and logo has no real association to The Big Easy.
Bonus Fact II: The most common college nickname is Tigers.
New Orleans has had a several minor league baseball teams throughout the years, currently the team is the New Orleans Zephyrs, with Fleur de Lis in logo (affiliate of the Miami Marlins). However, as recently as 1977 there was a minor league team called the New Orleans Pelicans (affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals). A minor league baseball team playing in Myrtle Beach is also called the Pelicans, which is the only current professional sports team with that name. (affiliate of the Texas Rangers).
So here is the kicker; the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 and called themselves the Bobcats (generic name, what the Tigers name wasn’t available?). Now since New Orleans is most likely changing to the Pelicans, Charlotte is interested in the name Hornets again. Why, merchandising of course. The team has noticed significant sales for the old Charlotte Hornets throwbacks and less sales for the Bobcats.
Whatever, just give me a NOLA Pelicans hoody.
Ok, this one is a little more complex. Can you believe that after you read the above? But it’s true, and for you non-sports Squirrelers I won’t bore you with all the details.
The NHL’s Coyotes technically play in Glendale, Arizona and have been doing so since 2003. The team relocated to Phoenix in 1996 when the Winnipeg Jets decided to move. Winnipeg got another team last year and decided to call them, wait for it, yes, the Jets. I told you this was confusing. (In summary, the original Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996 to become the Coyotes who then moved to neighboring Glendale in 2003. In 2011 the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg to become the new Winnipeg Jets).
Now the city of Glendale is not really interested in promoting another city, in this case Phoenix and have decided they want a new name. Now unlike New Orleans they don’t really have a clue yet to what their new moniker will be. So I thought we could help our Southwest Friends with a few suggestions featuring both Glendale and Arizona as the team’s geographic name.
Arizona Monoliths – monoliths are a rock formation that is quite prevalent in the area
Glendale Goats – goats are known as sure footed on rock formations
Arizona Copperheads – Having two mascot snakes for the state (see Arizona Diamondbacks) maybe much. Arizona is known as the Copper state (I told you that I know my state nicknames) as it is an abundant mineral in the area.
Bonus Fact III: Arizona’s primary state nickname is the Grand Canyon State but is also referred to as the Copper State.
Glendale Gorge – Gorge, you get it, Grand Canyon and such
Arizona Venom – scorpion venom that is
Arizona Hell Fires – as in it is hot as hell in this state.
So there you have it. I bet you never thought as naming a team as so difficult did you? Naming a kid or pet now seems so much easier.