The Palm Beach Post has been running a feature on how professional sports teams got their nicknames, and they’ve finally got around to the only sport that matters… hockey, obviously. Although many current NHL teams have fairly obvious explanations for their nickname (i.e. Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, etc.), others have a more esoteric explanation for their moniker.
The Buffalo Sabres, for instance;
“Owners had an interest in polo and were fascinated with cavalry, knight and chivalry themes.”
Interesting, I’m assuming that ownership would have ran with the Buffalo “Wings” had it not been for those original 6ers in Detroit. The Red Wings, coincidentally, have an equally hermetic explanation for their famed winged wheel;
“Founded in 1926 as the Detroit Cougars, the team was renamed Falcons in 1930. In 1932, the new owner, who had once played for Winged Wheelers of Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, renamed team “Red Wings” and adopted winged wheel logo.”
Perhaps my personal favorite is the legend of the New Jersey Devils’ satanic beginnings. I’ve got a thinking this suspicion that this “devil child” may be New Jersey’s own Glenn Danzig;
“When the Colorado Rockies moved to New Jersey in 1982, newspapers held a naming contest that led to Devils. The legend of “New Jersey Devil” dates back 250 years. It says a woman in southern New Jersey who dabbled in witchcraft gave birth to a 13th child, a demonic creature that was part man, bat, snake and kangaroo. Creature supposedly continues to torment region.”
Check the Palm Beach Post article for full explanations for all 30 NHL clubs. Here’s to hoping somebody comes up with a list explaining the origin of players’ nicknames. That would make for a few laughs and probably a gasp or two.