The ECHL’s Maine Mariners, playing in their first season after relocating from Alaska, will peek into an alternate universe where fans chose a different name for their team later this season. When the Mariners take the ice against the South Carolina Stingrays March 9, they’ll be wearing the identity of the close second-place finisher in a name-the-team contest the franchise conducted in 2017.
“Wild Blueberries was something that took us all by surprise,” said Paul Holmgren, president of the Philadelphia Flyers and Maine Mariners, quoted in the Portland Press Herald after the team name was unveiled. “We had some interesting conversations.”
The nickname derives from state residents’ affinity for the more than 44,00 acres of wild blueberries in the state. And while blueberries may not be the most intimidating of mascots, they are a superfood, and they have the highest antioxidant levels of any common fruit or vegetable, so they’ll be good for defending against free radicals as well as forward lines.
The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.
Paul Caputo is a grown man who collects plastic ice cream helmet sundaes from minor league baseball stadiums because he likes logos that much. He is the author of the first book published by SportsLogos.net, The Story Behind the Nickname: The Origins of 100 Classic, Contemporary, and Wacky Minor League Baseball Team Names. He can be found on Twitter at @Count2Baseball and he maintains the Countdown to Spring Training on Facebook. Paul is a Philadelphia sports fan, but he's not so bad.