The naming of the Las Vegas NHL expansion team took a potential twist Monday.
According to a report by the Fayetteville Observer, the Vegas Golden Knights name “has caught the attention of the United States military because a parachute team goes by the same name.”
Alison Bettencourt, a spokeswoman for the Army Marketing and Research Group in Arlington, Virginia was quoted in the story as saying, “We’re reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be.”
The Golden Knights are based in Fort Bragg and have used this name since the 1960s.
“We understand that one of the Las Vegas team owners (Bill Foley) has Army connections, and will likely understand our interest in this announcement is meant to protect the proud history of the Army’s Golden Knights and their vital role in telling the Army story and connecting America with their Army,” said Bettencourt, who noted the group learned of the Golden Knights through media accounts last Wednesday.
Here is some more background on the Golden Knights from their website:
In 1959, nineteen Airborne Soldiers from various military units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC). Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. gathered the Soldiers with the intent of competing in the relatively new sport of skydiving, which at that time was dominated by the Soviet Union. That year, the U.S. Army team began representing the United States on the international competition circuit, and performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia. Two years later, the Department of Defense announced that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team.
By 1962, the team earned the nickname the “Golden Knights”. “Golden” signified the gold medals the team had won while “Knights” alluded to the team’s ambition to conquer the skies.
Since then, the Golden Knights have conducted more than 16,000 shows in 50 states and 48 countries, reaching an average of 60,000 people per show. The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competition. Team members have also broken 348 world records.
In order to name the team Golden Knights, Foley had to get NHL approval as well as seek permission from Clarkson College – a school that also has the Golden Knights name.
Foley had previously said that he was initially partial to Black Knights based on his military heritage as a West Point graduate, but got “pushback” from the Army and immediately moved on. Also, Foley noted that Black Knights wasn’t exactly the first choice of the team’s prospective fans. Foley had registered Desert Knights and Silver Knights along with Golden Knights as possible team names.
SportsLogos.net explained the next possible steps in the situation.
What could this mean? Well they could dispute the trademark arguing that the similar name, color scheme and that both logos use a knights helmet might cause some to believe the two are associated. If you believe a reasonable person could mistake one Golden Knights with another then that’d be enough grounds for a decent legal challenge.
If the team were forced to change their name, it’d likely be as simple as just changing the “Golden” for “Desert” or “Silver” as their logo would just as well for either.
Story author Chris Creamer said he didn’t see the dispute getting to the point of a name change.
Vegas announced their team name and logo in a big ceremony next to T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 22. After the announcement, Foley was quoted by the Las Vegas Review Journal as saying he wanted the Golden Knights to parachute into the ceremony, “but it got kind of complicated.”
The decision to go with Golden Knights ended a long process that involved many twists and turns. These included possibilities from variations involving the word ‘Hawk’ to the ‘Knights’ template. Vegas will start play in 2017-18.
“We want our team to be known for dedication, honor, strength, courage and a commitment to never give up – both on the ice and off,” Foley said in a statement when the team name was announced. “We want our team to be committed to teamwork, service to this great city and integrity in all things – and we wanted a name and logo that represented all of this and was unique to Las Vegas and our community. Vegas Golden Knights is that name.”
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