Hey Las Vegas NHL Team Names: Can We Talk?

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Can We Talk?

It’s been over a year since the last Can We Talk?, so to say it was overdue would be a- what’s that? It’s been almost TWO years?? My, how time flies when you’re lazy and uninspired.

Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what this (formerly) weekly column was all about. Think of the following paragraph as a “Previously on Can We Talk?”, a little catch-me-up for those just tuning in:

Hey Bus Seats – Can We Talk?

Ew. Just give me plastic seats:

bus seat

Seriously now, how do people even get that much dirt on their collective asses to transfer to a seat cushion? Is this a cowboy bus? WAIT is that actually years and years of buried farts rising from their shallow upholstered grave like an army of zombie shit particles? No no, FART GHOSTS. They need that ghostbusting vacuum that Miles had on LOST.

There you have it. Can We Talk? is basically farts and cowboys. Unfortunately, this time I come bearing no ass dirt chair gifs to regale you with, but I do have something I need to discuss.

Hey Las Vegas NHL team name poll – Can We Talk?

The Las Vegas Review Journal has published the bracket below, a tournament to determine the team name of the new Las Vegas NHL franchise that begins play in 2017. There’s a LOT to unpack here:

las vegas nhl team name_opt

First of all, let’s talk about the execution of this whole endeavour. Who made this and why did they use Microsoft Paint? I made better looking Super Tecmo Bowl brackets with my dad’s Apple IIc and dot matrix printer in 1991. OK, so maybe this bracket is not NHL or team sanctioned, but it’s got to be a pretty comprehensive list of the branding theme possibilities for Las Vegas’ first major American professional sports team: gambling, a million different kinds of Knights (why?), organized crime, and desert stuff.

Each potential name matchup was voted on by readers of this and other Las Vegas newspapers. The Black Knights got what appears to be the top seed in this bracket since the team’s owner Bill Foley is the head of Black Knight Sports & Entertainment AND Black Knight Financial Services, which probably means the locals can vote for Scorpions and Aces all they want but they’ll be cheering on the Black Knights in the new T-Mobile Arena.

Let’s get to breaking down some of these choices before we take a look at the finalists.

So. Many. Knights. Everywhere you look on this bracket there’s a variation on the Knight theme. I know there’s a classic hotel on the strip named Excalibur, but that doesn’t mean we need the Las Vegas Courtyard Marriotts to be an option. Oh God, there is a Mandalay Bay one though. Wow this is bad. The NEON Knights? That one sounds like a “future” sports team name in one of those early 90s science fiction movies like Demolition Man: “Hey, it’s 2032, let’s eat at Taco Bell and go to a Neon Knights game!”

I guess any city would be hard pressed to come up with 32 regionally appropriate and creatively catchy sports team name possibilities, but we need to back off the Knight thing here. Although the Knight Riders would have my vote.

Moving on- the Heat? That’s taken. The Dry Heat? Really? The Las Vegas Review Journal bracketologists gotta be smokin’ that jazz cabbage if they think Dry Heat is a viable team name. Ask yourselves if the “Houston Humidity” would look good on hats and jerseys. Hard pass. I’m already freaking out because I care about weather way more than I used to which means I’m turning into my father. Don’t make me root for a weather-themed hockey team too.

Desert Storm? Hmm. Is the Las Vegas Franco-Prussian War an option? What about the Las Vegas Iran Contra Affair? The Las Vegas Cuban Missile Crisis? I get it, Vegas is in the desert and there are probably storms there, but Desert Storm kind of has another connotation in American culture.

Speaking of war- surely it’s a coincidence but there’s a lot of G.I. Joe influence on this list. Snake Eyes, Ace, (Desert) Scorpion. I know that in this context “Snake Eyes” is a reference to dice and gambling and not the Arashikage ninja (whose visor and swords would make an INCREDIBLE team logo btw), but the nerd in me sees “Ace” and thinks Skystriker pilot, not Blackjack.

snake eyes logo_opt


Which brings us to the Las Vegas Blackjack- and the massive amount of Vegas and gambling references that made their way into the world of professional wrestling. Before I laid eyes on this bracket I never realized just how many wrestlers derived their names and gimmicks from the Vegas/gambling/desert theme: Johnny Ace, “Ace” Bob Orton, Blackjack Mulligan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Outlaw Ron Bass… Harlem Heat? OK that one’s a stretch, but a whopping six of these team name candidates are also wrestler gimmicks. The Hitmen is an intriguing possibility- Bret Hart already has the jersey, and it’s pretty dope:

las vegas hitmen nhl hockey_opt

The wrestling thing isn’t necessarily a bad deal though. This new franchise’s fanbase (especially those who aren’t NHL die-hards) could use a recognizable character to rally around. When the Hartford Whalers first moved to Non-Hockeytown, North Carolina- local favorite and wrestling legend Ric Flair would appear at Hurricanes games and occasionally WOO! to ease the South’s hockey virgins into fandom. The friendly face of a retired STING could really help the Las Vegas Scorpions catch on with the locals that know more about “Sports Entertainment” than actual sports.

The Road Runners? Pass. Although the regional rivalry with the Coyotes would be fun, if one-sided.

The Cutthroats? Yuck.

The Jokers? Easily my favorite if they were referring to the baddest comic book villian ever, not just cards again. And a playing card that hardly ever matters! Stupid playing cards.

las vegas jokers

The Rat Pack? Cute, but kinda trying too hard-ish. Right? The Seattle Grunge Movement. See?

Wait- does that one under Dry Heats say Hockey McHockeyface? We have a winner. Whoever was constructing this bracket clearly gave up toward the end and dry heaved “Hockey McHockeyface” onto the screen and inadvertently gave us the best possibility of the 32. I’d give up all other sports to see a team named the Las Vegas Hockey McHockeyface raise Lord Stanley’s Cup.

“With the first pick of the 2032 NHL Draft, the Las Vegas Hockey McHockeyface select Mike Underwood-Fisher. Let’s go to Taco Bell and celebrate! Yay future!”


CWT? is a weekly annual post by Howie Decker in which we pull aside a few deserving people, places and things and ask- Can We Talk?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kevin Hellions Decent August 22, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I think the bus seat is the official “Can We Talk?” seat and that’s two years of dust getting kicked up by this post reawakening the concept.


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