The Las Vegas National Hockey League expansion team is already facing a major problem well before the opening faceoff of the 2017-2018 season when the team is expected to become the 31st NHL Franchise. It’s not securing a stadium, they’ve done that and for all my aggravation at Las Vegas getting a team while traditional market Quebec City is left hanging by Gary Bettman it is a beautiful arena in the pictures I have seen. It isn’t finding season ticket holders or an owner either, the season tickets were one of the requirements to get a team and William P. “Bill” Foley II has already ponied up the monies required to get the team there. Rather it is Foley and his crew’s inability to get a team nickname. Yes you read that right, copyrights and trademarks are what is costing the NHL Vegas team money because the longer they go without a name the longer they go without selling merchandise, for the record I will purchase an NHL Vegas hat once they pick a name because I am intrigued, and Foley is getting kind of mad.

Part of the issue is what Foley wants to be the name: the Black Knights. My first issue with that is that there is only one group of Black Knights in American sport and that’s Army. Foley is a graduate of West Point and wishes to honor his alma mater and the academy has given its blessing which mitigates my concerns but the process would likely take years of legal wrangling given the service academy’s governmental rules. It sounds to me like Mr. Foley needs a creative hand but my suggestions are going to be suggestions are going to be based on a couple of rules 1. No gambling references because although I love betting and the sound of the Vegas Odds the league doesn’t wish to look corrupt and I can understand that given the gambling scandals of other sports. 2. No current names of other professional teams or ones that involve a gun (sorry Gunslingers and Outlaws I never liked you anyways, this also excludes Rattlesnake references which although cool could confuse them with the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team) 3. I want to stay kid friendly because frankly, all sports mascots should exist primarily for the enjoyment of children, here are some of the ones I came up with.

The Las Vegas Roadrunners: This one is tricky because although there are no current Roadrunner teams the Phoenix Roadrunners were a minor league outfit and although it would be awesome to see the Roadrunners and the Arizona Coyotes duke it out on the ice, the Roadrunner Wile E. Coyote Looney Tunes cartoons probably couldn’t be used for copyright reasons. Although the Roadrunner always wins in those so maybe if the rights can be secured it could lead to some fun. Most important for the league is this could spur a real rivalry with the Coyotes which could help both teams and invigorate fanbases.

The Las Vegas Scorpions: To my everlasting confusion no team in the major four sports leagues uses a scorpion as a mascot. It’s a mean critter with eight legs, big tough looking claws, and a poisonous stinger on its tail. Natural selection demands this titan of the invertebrate world be represented on a hockey sweater. Also, although I do like roadrunner as a suggestion, there are already 14 bird mascots in North American major sports other animals do exist and although I love bird-watching and wanted to be an ornithologist when I was a kid, scorpions look tougher than birds and nobody could cry foul over copyrights that I am aware of, pun intended.

The Las Vegas Fightin’ Cacti: Looking at a Saguaro Cactus it’s usually got two arms when drawn which is what gave me this idea. Why not put a face on the cactus with a snarl (a missing tooth to complete the hockey player look) a prospector style hat/helmet and have hockey gloves on the two arms of the cactus (oh how I wish I could draw).  This one could be cool but goofy enough for kids to get along with better than a scorpion or a roadrunner, also the kids could cuddle a cactus at games without getting the spines, those are for opponents. Cacti are notoriously tough, growing with little water, and likewise the Fightin’ Cacti would be tough going against the cold-weather teams and the traditionalist snobs who scoff and sunbelt teams. The green of the cactus isn’t the only green I see Mr. Foley.

Verdict: If I had to pick between the names I came up with, my favorite would be Fightin’ Cacti and Scorpions in second but rather than letting me decide the league should hold a name the team contest with these and other suggestions as options, including those I did not make. No write in candidates though because as fun as the Las Vegas John Scott’s or the Vegas 50in07’s  would be (I got those suggestions on Twitter) , it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to the fans who aren’t Twitter savvy and that could lead to some unfunny jokes being made about hooking penalties. Your move Mr. Foley.

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