Prince Albert Raiders’ new mascot is an offensive nod to the past

Adam Proteau
Prince Albert Raiders mascot (CTV Saskatoon)

Teams revisit their past all the time when promoting themselves via a redesign of their jersey, logo or mascot, but the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders have made a sizeable mistake in doing so this season.

To wit: the Raiders unveiled their new mascot this week – an Arabian “raider” character named “Boston Raider” after a tie-in to an area pizza sponsor – which is based on their original logo from the early 1980s:

The new mascot’s appearance does not sit well with a number of people who believe it stereotypes those of Middle Eastern heritage. Rhonda Rosenberg, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan’s executive director, told the Canadian Press she found it plays into discriminatory views of people from the region.

“The idea of a somewhat violent Muslim man is a stereotype that is really difficult for a lot of people to live with,” Rosenberg said. “Mascots are not where we should be depicting cultural groups of people. We just need to look at what values and ideas are being put forward, and whether they are really embodying what we want to be sharing.”

A team spokesman said the franchise never intended to offend anyone, nor does it believe the mascot to be “a negative representation of Middle Eastern people and their culture”. They might not, but in this day and age where society is rightfully trying to be respectful toward all ethnicities, the Raiders’ new mascot is a mistake. What may have been seen as appropriate decades ago isn’t always appropriate today; this is why a song like Ray Stevens’ “Ahab The Arab” – a top five radio hit when it was released in 1962 – is seen as patently offensive now.

Eras and tastes change, and sometimes the past is better left where it is. And if the Raiders are smart, they’ll send their new mascot to join former AHL mascot “Scorch” in the scrapyard.

NHL logo rankings No. 1: Chicago Blackhawks

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When THN’s seven-person panel sat down to come up with our rankings of the 30 NHL logos, we were basically in full agreement which team would be No. 1.

We didn’t want history to influence our decisions. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens sit outside the top 10 for that reason. Ranking all the Original Six 1-6 is boring, predictable and doesn’t accomplish what we wanted to do here: reward the best logos, not the longest history.

Even still, the Chicago Blackhawks stood up to that measurement. The vibrant color combination and the respectful way it honors a WWI battalion and a Native American chief sets this logo apart from the rest. If we handed out the Three Stars of these logo rankings, the Blackhawks logo would be one, two and three.

As we’ve done with the rest of the logos, we’re opening it up to you the reader to redesign the Blackhawks look. It may be hard to do, but if you think you can design a better (or fresher) logo for the Blackhawks, now is your chance. Send your redesign to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll run our favorites next week.

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE BLACKHAWKS LOGO
In 1926, coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin was awarded an NHL franchise for a $12,000 entry fee. To build a roster, McLaughlin purchased players from the Portland Rosebuds, a franchise from the disbanding Western League. But rather than take the name of the WHL team they had purchased – as the Red Wings initially did with the name Cougars – McLaughlin wanted his own nickname. Rosebuds simply wasn’t good enough for a hockey team.

In World War I, McLaughlin was a commander in the 333rd machine gun battalion of the 86th division in the U.S. Army, whose members called themselves “Black Hawks.” The name honored the Sauk Indian chief who sided with the British in the War of 1812. In the 1830s, Chief Black Hawk fought again against the Americans when he brought his tribe back across the Mississippi River and into Illinois to plant crops and reclaim their land. In 1832, he lost the brief war to the Americans, was captured and taken on “tour” of the East Coast. He would briefly be put in jail before he was released.

The original Chicago Black Hawks logo was a crudely drawn black and white Native American, inside a circle that spelled out the team’s name.

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NHL logo rankings No. 2: Arizona Coyotes

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We’re nearing the end of our NHL logo rankings, which are the result of a seven-person THN panel who discussed and debated each logo. Rather than judge by longevity and rank the Original 6 teams 1-6, we tried to look at the designs again for the first time.

Coming in at No. 2: The Arizona Coyotes.

For sure, some people are going to hate this selection. We’ve already seen the comments about the “roadkill” logo, but we couldn’t disagree more.

The Coyotes logo, which is a massive improvement on their original, is a nice-looking canine with a sun-dried color combination you don’t see every day. For me, I like the Coyotes logo for the same reasons I like the UConn Huskies logo: it’s just a good looking animal. The Coyotes design isn’t a cartoon, or one that looks soft and too happy for its own good. The howling Coyote is a sophisticated design that also sits nice on the jersey with smooth colors. Some will wonder how we ranked it No. 2 in the NHL – I’ll wonder how others don’t see the beauty in it. So goes the logo ranking process.

But if you think you can design a better logo for the Coyotes, now is your chance. Send in your design to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll run a collection of our favorite readar redesigns next week. And why not try designing new logos for the other NHL teams we’ve ranked?

Tomorrow we release the NHL logo we ranked No. 1. But you can probably figure out which one it’s going to be.

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE COYOTES LOGO
The Coyotes didn’t start in the desert, as the Coyotes, or even in the NHL. This team has its roots in Winnipeg and the WHA.

The Winnipeg Jets were one of the founding franchises in the WHA, a rival upstart to the NHL, and would become a powerhouse in that league. The first big splash the team ever made was signing Bobby Hull away from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, making him the first player to earn a $1 million contract.

In 1972-73, the first year of the WHA, the Jets lost in the Avco Cup final to the New England Whalers.

The first primary logo ever used by the team isn’t the one we equate to the original Jets, but this design of a red circle with a hockey player and a jet taking off in the distance. The team would continue to use these colors, but this logo stood as the team’s main image for only its first two years of existence.

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NHL logo rankings No. 3: St. Louis Blues

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We’re nearing the end of our NHL logo rankings and today we crack the top three with the St. Louis Blues.

The Blue Note has represented St. Louis’ NHL team since its inception in 1967, with some alterations along the way. It’s a symbol that stands not just for the team, but the city and region, which is renowned for its history of jazz and blues music. The color blue is an obvious fit with the name and is accentuated with a yellow that used to take up more space on the logo and jersey.

What we liked about the design were the colors and stylized look that jumps at you. It’s clean, to the point and representative of the city. It’s a slick look that’s easily identifiable. What else can you ask for from a team named the Blues?

If you think you can design something better, now’s your chance. Send your redesigned St. Louis Blues logo to editorial@thehockeynews.com and next week we’ll run all our favorite reader submissions from each NHL team.

HISTORY OF THE BLUES LOGO
In 1967, the St. Louis Blues were one of six expansion franchises that were added on to the NHL’s Original Six. What would the new team be called? For owner Sid Saloman Jr., it was an easy decision. From the St. Louis Blues website:

“The name of the team has to be the Blues,” exclaimed Salomon after being awarded the new franchise. “It’s part of the city where W.C. Handy composed his famed song while thinking of his girl one morning.”

Handy wrote a song called St. Louis Blues, which you can listen to here.

At first, the newly structured NHL was split into Eastern and Western conferences, with the Original Six in the East and the expansion teams in the West. The competition was very lopsided and though the Blues made it to the Stanley Cup final in each of their first three seasons, they were swept every time, twice by the Habs and once by the Bruins.

The original St. Louis Blues logo had the recognizable blue note inside a yellow cycle that said “St. Louis Blues” and “National Hockey League.”

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NHL logo rankings No. 4: Detroit Red Wings

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Coming in at No. 4 in our logo rankings is the Winged Wheel of Detroit, which has been a long-standing symbol in the NHL – and it has roots in Montreal.

The Detroit NHL team hasn’t always been called the Red Wings. They were called the Falcons and the Cougars before James Norris purchased the team in 1932.

With the name Red Wings came a logo that has stood the test of time and represents a perfect fit with the Motor City. The crisp, clean, detailed, yet simple red and white look has only been modified a couple times in team history – and not since 1949.

Because longevity was not a factor in our rankings, we had to look at this logo again for the first time – and we still loved it. Never was there any chance of the Red Wings falling out of the top five. The only dissenting opinion we had was that it should have been higher than No. 4.

Think you can design a better logo than this Detroit beauty? Now’s your chance. Get those creative juices flowing and send your artwork to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the conclusion of our logo rankings, we’ll share some of our favorite reader designs.

HISTORY OF THE RED WINGS LOGO
On May 15, 1926 an NHL franchise was awarded to a group from Detroit. The team purchased the roster of the Western League’s Victoria Cougars, who won the Stanley Cup in 1925.

At first, the Detroit NHL team was named the Cougars after the team its players were coming from. The Cougars struggled right off the bat, though, going 12-28-4 in their first season in Michigan. They were also a money-losing franchise and played home games out of Windsor until they moved into the brand new Olympia Stadium in 1927-28.

In 1928-29, the team reached the playoffs for the first time, but the name Cougars wouldn’t last much longer.

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NHL logo rankings No. 5: Buffalo Sabres

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Down the stretch we come.

We started from Carolina and now we’re here, heading into the top five of our NHL logo rankings. On Friday, we’ll reveal which one we’ve ranked No. 1 (though you’ll be able to figure it out on Thursday), but we start the week at No. 5.

Thankfully, the Buffalo Sabres moved away from the Buffaslug a few years ago – and hopefully never look back. The return to an original look was one welcomed with open arms by just about everyone in and outside of Buffalo for good reason – the current logo is a homerun.

Sure, sometimes Buffalo sports teams are reviled for relying too much on the animal the city is named after in their logos, rather than using something related to the team’s nickname. The NFL’s Bills have forever been guilty of this. The Sabres used a buffalo as their logo for about 14 years in the ’90s and ’00s – but the current throwback look integrates both the city and team name into the design.

We despise when a team needs to spell out its entire name in the logo, but the Sabres get around this. Their full team name appears in the logo, but it’s represented by images instead of text. It’s as if this logo came as a result of a game of Pictionary. This design gets the job done. It represents the city in a way it all its sports team do, while also pointing to the team’s nickname. The blue and yellow colors are also easy on the eyes.

But if you think you can design a better look for the Sabres, now is your chance. Send in your redesign to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll run our favorites next week, after we finish revealing our logo rankings. We’ve got some good ones on the other teams so far, but are looking for more. It’s crunch time!

(All logos below from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE SABRES LOGO
When the first Buffalo owners, Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox, had to come up with a name for their NHL team, they wanted something different and unique. Bisons, a popular nickname for teams in the city, was not an option. A contest was opened up and the winning name came from Toronto filmmaker Harry Cole.

So, when Buffalo hit the ice for the first time in 1970, they did so as the Sabres, a name the team says is “renowned as a clean, sharp, decisive and penetrating weapon on offense, as well as a strong parrying weapon on defense.” This is the logo that comes to mind when you think of the French Connection or May Day.

The familiar blue, gold and white color scheme was settled on and wouldn’t be changed for 26 years. The Sabres made their first Stanley Cup final in 1974-75, their fifth season of existence, losing to the Flyers in six games.

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NHL logo rankings No. 6: Dallas Stars

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We’re almost at the home stretch of our NHL logo rankings and finish off this week at No. 6: The Dallas Stars.

Judging by comments on our previous articles, this will be a contentious one. The ninja star logo, introduced a year ago, was the first time the Dallas franchise moved away from a design that was used by the team from Minnesota – and the color was lightened again. You’re either going to love it or hate it. We loved it.

The THN staffers involved in the ranking process appreciated the new green (which is kind of a throwback to the North Star days) and how well it meshes with the silver star. The way the star (and the ‘D’) is sharply designed and colored kind of makes it look like a spur, which is a nice fit in Texas. We liked it enough to rank it No. 6 in the NHL – if you disagree, let us know why in the comments section below. We explain our reasoning for the ranking a little more later.

And, heck, you can even try and design our own logo for the Stars. Use your artistic skills and send your logo redesign to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the end of our logo rankings, we’ll publish our favorite reader redesigns.

(All logos below from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE STARS LOGO
Originally, of course, the Stars came from the north. In 1967, when the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams, Minnesota was granted one of those franchises. As a result of a public contest, the team was named the North Stars, which gave a nod to the state’s motto L’Etoile du Nord, or The Star of the North.

The first logo had the full team name on it and a familiar looking ‘N’ pointing towards the northern star inside a green circle. The ‘N’ would be refined over the years, but this was the start of a green and yellow color combination I think most of us miss.

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NHL logo rankings No. 7: Boston Bruins

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So far, the top 10 NHL logos have included Philadelphia, Anaheim (still not over that one) and Pittsburgh. Today, coming in at No. 7, we present the Original Six look from the Boston Bruins.

At times in Bruins history, the logo has shown a bear, but we most associate the team to the spoked, black and gold ‘B’. But the Bruins weren’t always black and gold. Originally, their primary color was brown.

Although we’ve noticed some commenters poo-pooing Boston’s look as we’ve counted down our favorite NHL logos, the ‘B’ was almost universally favored by the seven THN staffers who were part of the voting – and debating – process. The goal was to look at all the NHL logos again for the first time, not taking history into consideration, and judge them on design, color and, if applicable, how it relates to the city. The Bruins logo stood up to these tests – and, hey, you have to give bonus points for using a color like yellow.

But if you think you can design a better logo for the Boston Bruins, send your art to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the completion of our logo rankings, we’ll share some of our best reader logo submissions.

(All logos are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE BRUINS LOGO
In 1924, Charles Adams purchased the NHL franchise rights for a Boston team from Thomas Duggan for $15,000. Adams, who was president of First National Stores Inc., (Finast) also purchased a share in Major League Baseball’s Boston Braves franchise in 1927.

Adams, along with GM Art Ross, settled on the name “Bruins” an old English term for bear. But the colors the team would use were settled on before the team name was selected.

The color scheme of Adams’ Finast chain was brown and yellow and he wanted his NHL franchise to share that combination. The name Bruins happened to fit rather perfectly with it.

As you’d expect for a logo from the 1920s, the original look wasn’t the most refined the team has ever had. This logo, which was placed on a brown jersey, was used for one season before the team added more white into the mix.

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In 1925-26, a face was put on Boston’s Bruin and the whole logo was outlined. Brown was still the primary color used by the team, but white was added to the middle of the jersey, which made it easier to see the logo. During this time, Adams and Ross took advantage of a collapsing Western League to pick up a few star players, such as Eddie Shore.

The Bruin would last on the jersey for another seven years before it was kicked off in favor of a look that set the team on a path towards today’s spoked ‘B.’ Read more