The Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise, slated to begin play in the 2017-18 season is expected to announce their team name any day now, but as is our way, we’ve gotten a hold of the list of names they’re currently considering a little early thanks to a little sleuthing around I did earlier today with lots of help from Clark Rasmussen of DetroitHockey.Net
Before you say it… Nope. None of them are the Knights, none of them are the Black Knights, and there are no Silver Knights to be found.
There are three names the team appears to be moving forward with: the Desert Hawks, the Red Hawks, and the Nighthawks. These names were all registered as several different domain names by Black Knight IP Holding Company, LLC, the company owned by Las Vegas hockey owner Bill Foley within the last few weeks.
Things to note: we’re not sure how the spacing will be applied (whether “Night Hawks” is one or two words as well as the others, for example), nor are we 100% sure if they’ll be known as “Las Vegas” or simply “Vegas”… because both appear to be options from what we’ve seen. What we do know is that none of the options include “Nevada” as the geo-identifier.
Foley was quoted on Sportsbook Radio earlier this week saying the team has narrowed their choice down to four. Sports Illustrated transcribed the good bits:
“It’s not Black Knights,” Foley said. “That’s been vetted, and there were too many objections from my alma mater [West Point] and then [we got] some push-back from some other people, so we’ve put that one aside. But the name is going to have … Knights somewhere in some fashion, some way. Or, there’s one particular animal, a bird, that we have available to us that we might use.”
He says it’ll contain “Knights in some fashion … or maybe a bird”. This is an audio interview, so we’re not sure if that “Knights” is actually a “Nights”, and, well, a hawk is most definitely a bird.
It seems “Nighthawks” would meet that definition.
If Las Vegas Nighthawks is indeed the name they could go two directions with the identity:
A nighthawk is a bird native to the Las Vegas area, and it would actually make for a decent logo. The bird contains a single distinct white stripe on either wing (kinda like a hockey jersey?) which looks kinda neat when in flight.
The Lockheed Nighthawk is a fighter jet which made its maiden flight in Nevada back in the early 1980s. Mr. Foley, of course originally wanted to use the name “Black Knights” due to the connection with his alma mater the United States Military Academy. This would also help stick with that military theme.
Or it could be a bird in a fighter jet, the kids will love it.
Las Vegas Nighthawks *could* pose some trouble with trademarks (an issue which has plagued the process thus far), it was a former AHL hockey team out of New Haven and now the brand is being used for a brewing company. It’s also a name being used by a couple of NCAA teams.
Las Vegas Redhawks might cause issues, we all know the Miami (OH) RedHawks, not to mention the Oklahoma City RedHawks minor league club, while the team has since changed their name they still own a trademark for it.
Las Vegas Desert Hawks, on the other hand, hasn’t been trademarked anywhere by anyone, in Canada and the United States. Nice and easy.
So what will it be? We contacted multiple members of their front office requesting either a comment or flat-out denial, they didn’t respond by the time of this article.
If we had to guess, it’d be the
Las Vegas Nighthawks. (see update 2 below)
Foley says to expect both a name and logo to be out there in time for merchandise to be available for the pre-season game they’re hosting in early October.
UPDATE (Aug 11/16 10:30pm ET): KLAS CBS Las Vegas is reporting that Bill Foley has confirmed that the three names we mentioned above are legit, he added that they will still be adding two more yet-to-be-determined names to the list.
UPDATE II (Aug 12/16 12:40pm ET): Reliable sources tell us that while our list was legit, the Las Vegas team has now eliminated all ‘Hawks’ names from consideration, looks like it’ll be one of those two names Foley mentioned late last night.