Bill Foley (left) and Gary Bettman (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The next step for Las Vegas’ expansion club will be naming the team and unveiling the logo, but that’s easier said than done. Foley said trademark issues have slowed the naming process. Fans shouldn’t expect a gambling-themed moniker, either.
By the sounds of things, were it up to Las Vegas expansion franchise owner Bill Foley, the NHL’s 31st club would already have a name and logo, but the process has proven to be much more difficult than Foley could have imagined.
During Wednesday’s press conference to announce George McPhee as the franchise’s first GM, Foley was asked about naming the team and when fans in Las Vegas could expect to learn the identity of the expansion club. Foley said the plan is to have the logo in place as soon as possible.
“I didn't realize how complicated it was, and it is complicated," Foley said Wednesday. "We are working our way through the process right now, as we speak…We have a lot names in mind, but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked, so that is a little bit of an issue.”
And while some may have thought the team would go the competition or contest route when it came to naming the club, Foley said that won’t be the case as the team wants to get the name settled quickly. He did joke, though, that he’s willing to listen to any team names that anyone is willing to suggest, so long as those names aren’t already trademarked. Jokes aside, however, it does sound like that has been a real issue.
Foley said he has been working with the league, Adidas and Reebok throughout the team-naming process and has been in touch with “various athletic teams, entities that may have a name that we’re interested in.” Some signs, in that case, point to the name Knights. It has been rumored that Foley, a graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, wants to name the club Knights. Army’s NCAA clubs are named Black Knights.
Considering Foley said the name should “represent Las Vegas, represent the environment and be unique to Las Vegas,” Knights may seem a bizarre choice (unless you’re a big fan of dinner theatre and Medieval Times, that is).
However, Foley said the league “has made it very clear that it really should not be associated with gambling and so on. It needs to be something a little different than that.” That’s a shame given there’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to the gambling-based logos and names, and any cursory look through fan-designed jerseys for the expansion club will no doubt turn up at least a half-dozen eye-popping ‘Aces’ or ‘Gamblers’ designs.
Foley doesn’t seem to keen on the gambling names himself, though, so it’s hard to imagine he would go for a moniker in that style even if it were an option the NHL would allow. Foley said the name has to evoke toughness, dedication and a winning spirit — that’s the kind of “momentum” and “philosophy” Foley is looking for in a name.
“We’re working our way through it,” Foley said. “I’ve got my GM. Now I need to get my name. That’s the next step.”
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.