What we know about Ottawa CFL Name Finalists

Written By:  •  Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jeff Hunt, owner of the new Ottawa Canadian Football League franchise has released his list of five finalists for the name of the expansion club for 2014.

They are: Ottawa Nationals, Ottawa RedBlacks, Ottawa Voyageurs, Ottawa Rush, Ottawa Raftsmen

The list is pretty weak, we must admit.

It’s been no secret around the capital that Hunt is a fan of the RedBlacks name, he’s been trumpeting it anytime he’s asked about the name of the club, going on about how it ties to the city’s history of red, black, and white colour schemes for its sports teams, as far back as the Ottawa Silver Seven in the early 1900’s.

The popular theory around town is that Hunt’s choice is being surrounded with lacklustre options to make it prettier-by-comparison.  I can believe that.

I did my own little digging around and this is what I found:

Of the five finalists “Rush” was registered as a domain name first with ottawarush.com snatched up by the group way back in November 2011, ottawarush.ca was then secured two months later in January 2012.  This shows that Rush was the favourite amongst ownership well before the others were even considered.  Following the Rush the other names were registered as domains in the following order: Raftsmen (Jan 19, 2012), Voyageurs (Nov 19, 2012), RedBlacks (Nov 30, 2012), and Nationals (Jan 23, 2013).

Nationals was registered as a domain the same day the finalist names were released, in my opinion it’s just thrown in there to round the list up to five.  It was also the name of a former WHA hockey team in the city… Forget it.

The Ottawa Nationals were a WHA hockey team in the 1970s

Voyageurs is interesting and might just be my favourite of the group. It’s the only name of the five to not have the .ca version of the domain name purchased by the team (it’s owned by a local walking club) but on the flip side the .com version is the only one to point to a GoDaddy starter page and NOT a standard GoDaddy parked domain page.  This could show that the club only ever intended to put a website up at this domain.  The name is also the only one that really works well in both French and English.  There could be something there…

Raftsmen was the second name considered by the club having been registered as a domain over a year ago, it meets the “R” requirement the club was supposedly looking for but not the “Good for French” requirement.

Rush is one of only two finalist names to have been registered as both a trademark with the Canadian government (as of Jan 22/13) and as a domain name (.com and .ca), as mentioned above it was the first name to be considered seriously by the group.  It’s a fairly “second-tier” league sounding name with the only other clubs using it being members of the Arena Football League and National Lacrosse League – leagues not traditionally known for anything traditional.

The original inspiration for the RedBlacks name, the 1907 Ottawa Silver Seven

RedBlacks is the favourite among nobody but the owners themselves, which is really all that matters, fans of the Atlanta Thrashers might remember they were holding a name-the-team contest until owner Ted Turner said he liked the name “Thrashers”, that was all she wrote. I like the uniqueness of the name, I like that it’s a throwback to the days of simple names, but I hate the use of camel case… “RedBlacks”? Another example of a naming style only used by minor league teams, not a single team in a major top-tier sports league has used this method.  Drop the capital B, go with “Redblacks” and it gets a little more credibility. Like “Rush” the name was registered as a trademark, albeit a month later, with the government.  It’s clearly Jeff Hunt’s “new toy” name.

Call me crazy, but I’m going to go with Voyageurs on this one… there’s just something suspicious about how that website is set-up compared to the others.

UPDATE (1/27/13): Due to some overtly obvious fraudulent voting we have looked into the results and found that 119 votes for “Ottawa RedBlacks” were registered by the same user over a period of one hour earlier today. We have removed these 119 votes and other duplicate votes found with other names. The results below reflect the proper vote data and security has been improved to stop future instances of this from happening again.

[cardoza_wp_poll id=8]

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Chris Creamer

Chris Creamer is the founder of SportsLogos.Net and has been maintaining it since June 1997. You can follow him on Twitter at @sportslogosnet or contact him via email at ccreamer@sportslogos.net

  • camly75

    RedBlacks would be the worst name in sports history

    • Doug

      I disagree. It’s original and better than the alternatives.

  • Ty

    There is nothing more Canadian on the list than RUSH!

  • Georges

    Ottawa Nationals would make more sense, but I do agree that Voyageurs would be more popular throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Bear in mind there are francophones living in this region, especially on the Quebec side, and this name can be said in both languages, which is key.

    Rush is an OK name, for a CFL team. But the Raftsmen, not to mention Redbalcks, doesn’t do it for me.

    I selected Voyageurs as the name for Ottawa, with Nationals a distant second.

    • John T.

      Why not call them the Ottawa Federals ! It would be a logical and political fit with the city !

      • John T.

        There are so much names with “R”, that could be better… Regiment, Royal(s), Rebellion, Red Coats (my favorite, but not bilingual). All with a military and historical background !

        But, if the choice is those 5 names, Voyageurs (a french name, also used in it’s form in english), is the better one, but not the best choice, in my opinion !

  • I think “Voyageurs” would work in English and French better than “Senators” works.

  • I don’t mind Red Blacks with a space. I don’t see the need for making it one word, and the camel case looks really amateur. Red Blacks > Redblacks > RedBlacks.

    But I voted Voyageurs because it’s original and works well in French. Who cares about having an ‘R’ name, as long as the colours are red, black and white?

  • Joe

    Not only that, but in our lowercase web address/hashtag world, the capital B in RedBlacks is useless.

  • LordDravan

    I would suggest the Ottawa RiverJacks. It pays tribute to the logging industry and the can use the black, red and silver colour sceme easily.

    • Rob S.

      RiverJacks would beat any of these choices,good idea! I wonder why they will not consider Rough Riders and Renegades.I guess they want something new.

  • ingmar66

    Voyageurs, or V’s for short, it should be. With a white capital V on the black and red helmet.

  • Alex Parisi

    Is Ottawa still cool enough for a name as awesome as the Redblacks?

  • Josh Truax

    “Redblacks” reminds me of an equally lame college team name derived from its colors, the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds.

    • AlMaFI

      I’ve always despised Blugolds!

      It reads more like blug olds. It would’ve been better as Bluegolds–but that sounds like a kind of fish.

  • Paul C

    There would be no problem with ‘Raftsmen’ in French. It is part of the vernacular; well, it was part of the vernacular when guiding logs down the river was an economic activity too many years ago.

    • JeffB

      There is a French language folk song called Les Raftsmen. So suffice it to say the Francophone population would not be complaining that the name isn’t bilingual.


  • AlMaFI

    Of these five, I think Voyageurs and Redblacks are the best. In agreement with Chris that RedBlacks is terribly minor league, with maybe the Seattle SuperSonics being the only pro example.

    Raftsmen and Rush are both very Arena League.

    Nationals would pair with Senators to represent nicknames that can apparently only be used by national capitals.

  • Stephan P

    I wish you had an option for “Other” because these names are pretty terrible. I can’t believe the new name of the Ottawa franchise is somewhere in this list. Renegades was an awesome name. Maybe they should have played around with “Red Riders” if they are willing to incorporate a colour in the name, or “Rottweilers” if they wanted a name starting with “R”

  • ” like the uniqueness of the name, I like that it’s a throwback to the days of simple names, but I hate the use of camel case… “RedBlacks”? Another example of a naming style only used by minor league teams, not a single team in a major top-tier sports league has used this method. ”

    Seattle SuperSonics?

  • Warren Woodcox

    The Ottawa “Log Riders”
    Leave the R on the Helmet
    Canadian Heritage
    Ottawa Heritage
    Team song already in place

  • Alex Giobbi

    If they’re called the Rush, will Tom Sawyer play every time they enter the stadium?

    • Blake

      I think they should play “The Spirit of Radio” for their theme song.

  • Mike HQ

    I actually really like the RedBlacks or Redblacks or whatever. Also, the name works really well in french… Les Rouge et Noirs. Sounds pretty good to me.

  • DTR

    I wish they would have gone with a name that reflects the military history of Ottawa. Both the Rifles and Regiment have historical ties to the area and include the all important R. Out of the suggested names I only really like the Voyageurs, but that sounds more like a soccer/hockey team than a football team. RedBlacks wouldn’t be so bad if they put “and” in the middle, but I think the only reason they went with that name is because it sounds good in French.

    • knoper

      I think when you name a sports team after the military, it’s almost cheapening the military aspect.

  • knoper

    CFL is a tough league to add something new, when every other nickname is 50+ years old.

    Voyageurs is classy enough to do it. Also bilingual friendly, and good enough to build an identity around. Raftsman is not as good, but still workable, and you can bring back the “R” helmet.

    RedBlacks sounds fake historical, like some of the American MLS teams, not terrible, but just seems out of place.

    Renegades was too bland and generic, same problem with Naitonals and Rush.

  • 54321

    RedBlacks is terrible. First thing we’ll be bombarded with on TSN is a ‘Blacks’ nickname (because TSN gives horrid nicknames to every single team it covers except their given names) & that won’t end well.

    Rush sounded good when I read it rumoured, it’s already grown on me.

    Hilarious- Ottawa can’t even reboot itself a 2nd time without failing for a 3rd time.

  • Aaron

    These names aren’t too bad. Although I think they could’ve added Rebels, Rogues and Renegades to the list of names. Voyageurs sounds cool, considering they have the bilingual aspect to it. Although if they really want to preserve the R, Rush, Raftsmen and Red Blacks (Rouge Noirs) although a bit corny would be alright. In fact, either of them would eventually grow on the fans.

  • Stu

    Why not call them the Ottawa Renegades??

  • Stephane Larochelle

    Just one thing wrong in your article: “Raftsmen does not meet the french requirements”. No big mistake, I used to say the same thing. Then my wife (who is born and raised in Gatineau accross the river from Ottawa) tells me that I don’t get it because I am not from the Ottawa area (I am originaly from the Quebec city area, but living near Ottawa for the last 30 years). Apparently french people born and raised in the Ottawa area all use the word raftsmen. The area originaly had alot of people who signed up as raftsmen and the word stuck. There was (is?) a bar and a hotel called raftsmans in Hull (now Gatineau)… The regular french word is Draveurs, but raftsmen is used widely by francophones in the Ottawa area. As far as I know, this is unique to the area.

  • WhenOctoberEnds

    SuperSonics was not a minor league team

  • Doug

    Rush is just awful. That’s a nickname used in Indoor Lacrosse (Edmonton) and the Arena Football League (Chicago – after Rush St.)

    Nationals is unoriginal.

    Raftsmen is lame.

    Red-Blacks is original and I don’t see anything wrong with it. It essentially brings out the colors of all major Ottawa teams of the past and present – the Senators (both old and current), Silver Sevens, Rough Riders and Renegades.

    Voyagers works too but it sounds like a Star Trek series.

    I vote for Red-Blacks but Voyagers is my 2nd pick.

  • 54321

    Ottawa Rapids. River Rapids, using Rapids for short. Les Rapid(e)s would embrace the bilingual & R cornerstones for the region.

    Srsly, what a joke… Ottawa can never ever get the CFL thing right.

    • Aaron

      Rapids or River Rapids would be a great name. If it can’t be Roughriders, River Rapids would be a fair trade off.

  • RedBlacks? Maybe the owner should reach out to a professional branding firm to provide him some real relevant team names?

  • Derek Howat

    A name that I submitted was Ottawa Otters. I think it would fit in with the CFL, is original without sounding minor league-ish and could pass as “traditional” if one didn’t know any better.

    • Aaron

      Ottawa Otters. Good one. Keep the alliteration train going. OTT on both words.

  • Marc

    I like the name Redblacks and I am sure somewhere the pioneers of football in Canada our smiling; perhaps it reminds me of when the game was played more in the style of rugby, or when men wore leather helmets. Whatever the case may be, I love the name Red Blacks. However, I would add that the new Ottawa franchise could be named Voyagers, Rush, or Nationals and have the moniker “Redblacks” as a second nickname. The Argos=Boatmen, Tiger-Cats=Tabbies, Pirates=Bucs, Indians=Tribe, Canadiens=Habs, etc.

    • Aaron

      Either that or Raftsmen being conjoined with the Redblacks moniker. Neat idea.

  • Bill A

    Pardon me Chris, this may seem like splitting hairs, but the former Seattle SuperSonics may be the only team to have used the “camel-hump” lettering. The thing is though, I cannot find anything conclusive on that. Some websites spell the nickname as mentioned above while others have it spelled “Super Sonics”. Just FYI.

  • bob loblaw

    If we’re looking at Ottawa Rush, how about Ottawa Nickelback?

    Or maybe Ottawa Paul Anka, Ottawa Anka. I like that one.

  • Nathaniel Melvin

    The name ‘Rush’ would coincide with Ottawa’s “Working Man”.

  • Lavone Humphrey

    My Favorite but it cant be used thanks to Saskatchewan is Rough Riders but since it cant be used I like rush because it can incorporate the old Rough Riders Helmet Logo and style

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