Maybe the NHL's 31st franchise won't be the Neon Knights after all. The man paying the bills for Las Vegas admits that he trademarked some prank names for his team.
You gotta give it to Bill Foley: the man already has Hockey Twitter figured out.
The Las Vegas owner admitted to NHL.com that he trademarked fake potential names for his expansion franchise, meaning that if you had dreams of the team being called the Sand Knights, you can extinguish them now.
I could not love this more. As Foley noted in the NHL.com article, the hockey community would seize upon any ideas he was putting out there, however fleeting they might have been in reality:
"It would get in the news and then people would start filing domain name registrations for that particular name," he said. "That's why I've been kind of circumspect lately."
Because it's the summer and because Hockey Twitter is a roiling beast, speculation has been rampant about the nickname for Las Vegas. Foley's military background has been a focus, as has the city's fame as a gambling hub. So when the name "Neon Knights" gets floated out there, you couldn't help but wonder. After all, we're just getting to know Foley and other expansion teams in the past have included the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers - so nothing is off the table.
Parsing Foley's words to reporter Nick Cotsonika, I'm thinking that Nighthawks is out. Personally, I love that name, but Foley noted that he wants Las Vegas' first major pro sports team to build an identity off something other than the city's famous Strip. And that is where 'nighthawks' hang out.
Foley did say he wants the culture of the team to have a military basis and that he wanted a two-word name. Golden Knights sounds cool. Desert Knights fits the bill, but it doesn't roll off the tongue. Desert Hawks has a nice feel to it, but is it too much of a mouthful as well? And how would Chicago feel about folks referring to Vegas as 'The Hawks,' as a short form?
Maybe none of this matters in the end, because maybe Foley has thrown all of us off the trail. He has already navigated Gary Bettman's rules for being a good potential owner for years now, so the man knows how to operate.
And for punking all of us with trademarks for names he never intended on using, Foley deserves a hat-tip. Of the NHL's current 31 owners, he is quickly becoming my favorite.