North Dakota finally gets new nickname after more than three years

Jared Clinton
Connor Gaarder of Univeristy of North Dakota celebrates a goal at the Frozen Four. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The University of North Dakota nickname saga has finally come to an end. After three years without an official team name, more than one year of work by committees and multiple public votes, the school has officially adopted the moniker ‘Fighting Hawks.’

UND president Robert Kelley announced the new team name Wednesday in a press conference, which was the culmination of a public vote that saw more than 27,000 votes cast in order to select the Fighting Hawks nickname. With 57 percent of the vote, the name beat out the alternative, Roughriders, in the final of three public votes.

When asked about the nickname, men’s hockey coach Brad Berry said he doesn’t want it to impact the culture that has been built by the team over the past several seasons. “I know we’re North Dakota, now we’re the Fighting Hawks,” Berry told the Grand Forks Herald. “We want to make sure nothing changes in our group. That’s about winning games and trying to hang banners. We want to make sure that remains in tact.” Read more

Las Vegas Aces? Moniker for potential club gathering steam with fans

Jared Clinton
Las Vegas (George Rose/Getty Images)

Potential Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley may have filed for an expansion club using Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC, but it seems as though fans in the area may want another nickname to be associated with the club.

According to a poll that has been open for one week on the website, and run by the Las Vegas Sun, those who have participated in the poll — which is open to fans in Sin City and across the world — are largely in favor of the name ‘Aces,’ with more than 40 percent of the 800-plus votes going in favor of the name.

Maybe we won’t see the Black Knights in the NHL after all. Read more

Shawinigan and North Dakota telling stories they don’t own

Ryan Kennedy
Anthony Beauvillier (photo by Paul Krotz)

I have no doubt that when the person or group that came up with the Shawinigan Cataractes’ new marketing campaign saw their finished product, they were proud. The images involve three players, including new captain and New York Islanders first-rounder Anthony Beauvillier, in eye-grabbing, passion-stirring dress. But there’s a pretty big issue with how those passions have been stirred:

Read more

University of North Dakota Flickertails? School releases list of potential monikers

Jared Clinton
Connor Gaarder of Univeristy of North Dakota celebrates a goal at the Frozen Four. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The University of North Dakota officially retired the “Fighting Sioux” name and emblem nearly three years ago, and now, with the three-year prohibition on a new team name set to expire in June, the list of potential nicknames — and another with those that have been rejected — is seeing the light of day.

For the past three seasons, the team has simply gone by University of North Dakota, with its jerseys devoid of any logos save a word mark bearing the university’s name. The primary emblem, if it can be called such, was the letters UND overlapped with one another in a style similar to the New York of the MLB’s New York Yankees or New York Mets.

The freshly suggested monikers, though, provide the opportunity for several new names to be associated with the school. Suggestions were collected for the entire month of April, and the three most popular names appear to be Flickertails, North Stars and the use of no nickname at all. Read more

The world’s best hockey fan? It might just be the Winnipeg Jets’ Dancin’ Gabe

The Hockey News
Dancing Gabe has become a fan favorite in Winnipeg. (John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

By Geoff Kirbyson

Aside from the odd player on the opposition bench and a few on the home side, Gabe Langlois is the best-known person at every Winnipeg Jets home game. Known simply as ‘Dancing Gabe,’ the 51-year-old has ingrained himself in Winnipeg’s sporting culture over the past quarter century for his unparalleled fandom and his unmatched dancing skills.

Whether it’s the Jets, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes or high school sporting events around town, Langlois is there, showing off a soft sneaker whenever the music plays.

You want popularity? Cults would kill to have the following he has. Consider the fans who gathered at the intersection of Portage and Main in Winnipeg to celebrate the return of the NHL in May 2011. When Langlois joined the throng, the chants of “Go, Jets, Go!” were quickly replaced by “Gabe, Gabe, Gabe!” and he was mobbed for pictures and high fives. Read more

Brace yourself for arguably the most bizarre hockey jumbotron video you’ll ever see

Adam Proteau
Alaska Nanooks' polar bear (Image via Nanooks' promotional video from 2009-10)

If you’re looking for a Jumbotron hockey video that includes a soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Laura Branigan and a plotline starring a polar bear capable of flying a fighter jet, have we got a link for you.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks commissioned this video for the Alaska Nanooks‘ 2009-10 team, and calling it off the wall is an understatement. It begins, appropriately enough, in the Arctic Circle – but that’s where things start to get weird: an icebreaker makes its way through the frozen waters, apparently electrifying a polar bear that somehow had been frozen beneath the surface and enlarging it to Godzilla size (that point is also the point at which someone thought Branigan’s “Self Control” was a smart musical choice); Bearzilla proceeds to fashion a Fox-on-NHL-style glowing stick out of thin air, uses it to destroy the boat and everyone on board in a fairly serious overreaction, then makes his way onto the aforementioned jet to go full Maverick-from-Top-Gun.

From there, Bearzilla and a group of bear-pilots proceed to attack multiple places of higher learning before dropping a bomb into a volcano (something vaguely Scientology-ish there) and blowing the entire earth to smithereens. You’d think the bear wouldn’t have much to do after having destroyed the planet and all the innocent life forms that once lived upon it, but you’d be wrong – he still has enough juice in the plane to fly it, Interstellar-style, through a wormhole and intro an alternate universe where hockey is played on a giant brownie.

What, you think I made these past two paragraphs up? Go ahead, see for yourself: Read more

Killer AHL mascot goes down in flames. RIP, “Scorch”

Ken Campbell
Scorch, the Adirondack Flames short-lived mascot (Photo via Twitter – @AHLFlames)

More than anything, I want to meet the guy (or woman) who stood up in the planning meetings for the Adirondack Flames this summer and said the following: “Hey everyone, I have a great idea. Let’s give our new mascot a name that conjures up recollections of a fire that almost destroyed our whole town once.” (Slow clap follows.)

Suffice it to say, it has been an inauspicious debut for Calgary’s American League farm team in Glens Falls, New York. At its first news conference, the dais was adorned with a banner that had Calgary’s flaming ‘C’, then Adirondack’s flaming ‘A’, followed by the ‘C’ then the ‘A’. Which seems innocuous enough until you realize that it spells, C-A-C-A. Flaming C-A-C-A, no less.

On the ice, the Flames are 0-2-0 and have been outscored 11-2, so they’ve got that going for them. And in their first game of the season, resident meathead Trevor Gillies got himself suspended for 12 games with an act as senseless as you’re going to see on the ice this season. Read more

Why we should all be concerned about Gnash’s untimely injury

Ken Campbell
Gnash (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

You know the injury epidemic in the NHL is getting really bad when the mascots start going down. Not to be outdone by the likes of Derek Stepan and Jordan Staal, Gnash of the Nashville Predators is out six-to-eight weeks with a broken fibula in his left leg. Really. The team announced that.

Now normally, news of a mascot on the sidelines would be welcomed by your trusty correspondent. Spoiler alert: I’m a middle-aged white guy. And as such, I see mascots as an annoying waste of fabric. From the San Diego Chicken to Youppi! – abominations one and all. When two of them get into a fight at a college football game, I’m cheering for both of them to get beaten up. I admired Craig MacTavish when he pulled Harvey the Hound’s tongue out a few years back. I laughed out loud about 20 years ago when an ECHL player whom I believe was coached by Chris McSorley, went after the opposing team’s mascot in the stands because it kept hitting him with a pair of inflatable lips. “Our coach gave me the green light to go after their mascot,” was his explanation. Gold. Read more