The Origins of the Team Names

Have you ever wondered how your favorite NHL team got their name? Well wonder no more, because this will tell you everything you need to know about how your favorite NHL team got their name that every hockey fan knows today.

Hockey's most celebrated team is officially known as the Montreal Canadiens which was founded in 1909. They're mostly known around the world as the Habs, an abbreviation for Habitants which the french word for Settlers. But that isn't what the H in their famous logo, which appeared in 1917, means. It stands for Hockey and not Habs. The more you know.


Did you know that when they first hit the ice, they weren't called the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they were called the Toronto Arenas? They then became the St, Patricks when new owners took over in 1919. Then in 1927, they were bought by Hall of Famer Conn Smythe who brought a brand new identity to the team. The Maple Leafs was a long used name for a minor league baseball team, but Smythe had a personal connection to the name since he served in the Maple Leafs Regiment during the First World War. The more you know.


Did you know that the wheel on Detroit's famous red logo is a reference to the city's automotive history? There is a twist in their name. Starting out as the Cougars, they played home games across the river in Windsor during it's very first season. They were then named the Falcons for a couple of seasons until Montreal-born business man James Norris became their new owner. Norris thought that Detroit was the perfect place for an adapted version of his boyhood sports club, the amateur Winged Wheelers, who had won the very first Stanley Cup back in 1893. You now know a little more about the Red Wings.


Original owner known as Major Frederic McLaughlin in the 86th Infantry, known better as the Black Hawk Division during the First World War. The division was named for Sauk leader Black Hawk, who lead multiple wars against the American settlers in the 19th century and the name plays a prominent role in Illinois history.


In North American history, Rangers are associated to Texas. Not in this case, but there is a "Tex" in this tale, and he's an inspiration for this original 6's nickname. George Lewis "Tex" Rickard was a boxing promoter and the Madison Square Garden President. When Lewis made it clear he wanted to bring a new NHL team to the Big Apple everybody started calling them Tex's Rangers so the name stuck.


The first NHL team to be based in the United States, the Bruins joined as an expansion team in 1924 with the newcomers called the Montreal Maroons. Owner Charles Adams decided to go with Brown and yellow colors associated with his chain of grocery store, then asked GM Art Ross to come up with a name. He chose Bruins, which in Dutch meant brown and an old english word for brown  bear.


They started life in Boston as the New England Whalers, they then moved to Hartford where the new team kept the name as the Whalers. Facing difficult financial problems, owner Peter Karmanos looked towards the south to North Carolina and relocated his team in Raleign in 1997. Karmanos thought about a new name and went with "Hurricanes" due to the massive storms that hit the coast each year.


Did you know that the names, Quakers and Ramblers were suggested as names when Philadelphia landed an expansion team in 1967? The Quakers had history as a team and only lasted one season winning 44 games in 1930. The owner decided they'd want a new identity for the team, and picked Flyers as the winning entry from a name-the-team contest.


Once upon a time, there was a team called the Kansas City Scouts, but an evil witch stole their house and they were soon scouting for a new home. Two years later, they became the Colorado Rockies and after 6 dismissal seasons in Denver, they were searching once again for a new home. They finally appeared in New Jersey and once again searching for a new name. The Americans? The Blades? The Coastals? or the Colonials? No! Ownership decided to honor the Jersey Devil. A legendary creature that roams the southern part of the state to this day. That brings us to the end of this mystical tale on how the New Jersey Devils got their name.


The team from America's capital city has been know by the same name since their entry in 1974. The Capital had 2 short-lived basketball teams called the Capitols and the Caps. Once hockey came into play, they founders picked up a little and decided to call their team, The Washington Capitals.


The idea of calling the team Penguins when they entered in 1967 was very popular. Out of the 26,000 fans in the name-the-team contest, 700 people liked the idea of naming the team after the aquatic bird, which typically make their homes in cold climates. They started out dressing in blue and white uniforms, but soon fell in line with their local sports teams such as the Pirates and Steelers that were rocking the black and gold uniforms. They adopted the black and gold uniforms in 1980.


Hockey hit Long Island a slap shot by Shea Weber, there wasn't many debate on the team's name. Rather than the Long Islanders, the wife of team owner Roy Boe suggested the New York Islanders to to broaden the team's appeal.


The leading name was Justice, but Columbus decided to pay tribute to Ohio's Civil War history. The state of Ohio is the birthplace of multiple prominent Union Army Generals such as Ulysse Grant and William Sherman. The Union Army also wore blue coats during the war were manufactured in the Ohio capital.


Buffalo has been home to multiple hockey teams over the years, one called the Bisons. The owners wanted something different when their new team came in 1970. Co-owner Seymour Knox admired the sound of Sabres. Noting that the curved sabre was carried by a leader and was effective at both ends was a no brainer for the team to name the team Sabres.


The name has a long history as Canada's capital. The original Senators (also known as the Silver Seven) won 11 Stanley Cups in 44 years (From 1883 to 1927). The team then declined and considered relocating to Toronto before moving to St. Louis as the Eagles in 1934, but after 1 season they went out of business. When Ottawa got hockey back in 1992, the name got revived. The original team's "O" logo was placed on the shoulder of their jersey.


Did you know that the team is named for the endangered species of the big cat that lives in the forest and swamps of the Everglades wetlands area?. The Panther hunts everything from mice to even alligators. With only a few of the endangered species remaining in the wild, the team helped contribute to the efforts in protecting the unique hunter.


Known by many as the Bolts, they were Florida's first hockey team and they play in the "Lightning Capital of North America". The name comes from their frequent thunderstorms formed by the breezes blowing in off the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, on of the team's founders, reportedly picked the name after being wowed by the lightning in the Florida Skies.


Starting out as the Atlanta Thrashers, named after Georgia's state bird. Pro hockey failed for a second time in Atlanta, they then flew north to Canada in 2011 and found home in Winnipeg. The Jets name pays homage to Winnipeg's strong ties to the Royal Canadian Air Force: The RCAF's 17 Wing is based in the city.


St. Louis is known for its vibrant blues and jazz scene, thanks to its location as a major port on the Mississippi and the Gateway to America's West. How did the St. Louis Blues really get their name? Well, it's all thanks to a song called The Saint Louis Blues by W.C. Handy, known as the Father of the Blues. The song has been part of every jazz musician's repertoire since it was first released back in 1914.


Minnesota isn't called The State of Hockey for nothing, they are the most hockey-mad state in America, so there was a widespread sadness when the North Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993. In 1997, they were granted a replacement team and the Wild hit the ice for the first time in 2000. Several names were suggested such as Blue Ox, Freeze, Northern Lights and White Bears, but Wild won the day in Minnesota.


25 years before hockey came to Nashville, crews were working on a downtown bank building and made an amazing discovery. A partial skeleton of a long-extinct sabre-toothed cat. When Nashville landed a hockey team in 1997, the owners unveiled the predator as its logo even before coming up with the name. Suggestions were made such as Ice Tigers, Fury and Attack, but Craig Leipold had his own idea. The name Predators was the best of the bunch. So that's what they called the team. The Nashville Predators. The more you know.


After the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Colorado in 1995, they needed a new name. The previous team that was in Denver was called the Rockies (Now the New Jersey Devils), but that was being used by a baseball team. Ownership suggested calling the team Extreme but weren't sure. Other names were considered including the Blizzards and the Black Bears before they settled with the name Avalanche. Hockey fans in Quebec are still bitter that the Colorado has the Avs while they remain the Av-nots.


When hockey landed in Los Angeles in 1967, Canadian sport executive Jack Kent Cooke came up with the name for his new hockey team. Cooke wanted the team to have "an air of royalty", dressing them in the same colors of yellow and purple as his L.A basketball team, which were the Lakers. The Kings changed it up and decided to wear silver and black since Wayne Gretzky joined them in the blockbuster trade that shook Canadian sports in 1988.


The Hockey team's name is more than just a synonym of the word Canadian. Johnny Canucks was a lumberjack character in a 19th century political cartoon. He became famous during the Second World War as a comic book hero who fought against Hitler and the Nazis. The originals Canucks were a minor league outfit in Vancouver since 1945, they wore lumberjack logos on their sweaters. The NHL team kept the name, but not the logo when they joined the Pro Leagues in 1970.


Edmonton was already home to a junior team called the Oil Kings when the WHA set up shop there in 1972. Then a new team came and was known as the Alberta Oilers in its first season, but soon became Edmonton's team after that. The city, known as the Oil Capital of Canada enjoyed a wonderful period as Canada's City of Champions. The Oilers went on to have one of the best dynasty and even winning 5 Stanley Cups in the 1980's.


Did you know that when San Jose got their team, the most popular name was The San Jose Blades, but it was rejected since the owners didn't appreciate the association with weapons? The area off San Francisco Bay, just near San Jose is known as the Red Triangle. There is barely anyone swimming there because it's full of sharks food, known otherwise as seals, otters and sea lions. More Great Whites attacks on humans are there than anywhere else in the United States.


After they moved from Atlanta to Alberta, nothing changed with the team's name. They were named for the fires and destruction that left the city of Atlanta in ruins after it fell to Union Army General William Sherman during the Civil War. The Logo changed from a flaming "A" to a flaming "C" when the team relocated to Calgary.


Probably the only sports team in history to be named after a movie starring Emilio Estevez. Disney landed the team in 1993, one year after the first movie of it's Mighty Ducks trilogy packed up theaters everywhere. So without any doubt the team got called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. When new owners took over in 2005, they renamed the team as The Anaheim Ducks.


After being relocated and breaking hearts in Manitoba, they went off to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. There were plenty of names considered for the newly acquired team such as the Phoenix Scorpions, Mustangs, Posse and Outlaws. But nothing came close to Coyote due to it's significance as a prominent character in Southwestern Folklore.


After a quarter-century as the Minnesota North Stars, they headed down to Dallas in 1993. More South than North in their new Lone Star State home, they became known simply as the Stars.

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