Trademarks, NHL gambling rules hurt Las Vegas name search
LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 22: Penn Jillette (L) and Teller of the comedy/magic team Penn & Teller perform during the 2016 NHL Awards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bill Foley, the billionaire behind Las Vegas’s successful bid for an NHL expansion franchise, said there will not be a contest to name the team. The process takes too long. Time is of the essence. “We need a name. We need to get this done, and we need to get it behind us,” he said.
Getting it done has been easier said than done, unfortunately.
“I didn’t realize how complicated it was, and it is complicated,” said Foley, speaking at the introductory press conference for new general manager George McPhee. “We have a lot of names in mind, but they’re trademarked.”
Foley said there are “various athletic teams and entities that may have a name that we’re interested in,” and that Las Vegas is working with adidas and the NHL to work through the trademark issues.
“Our goal is to have a logo and a team name ASAP. But we’ve got to do it properly. And we have to make sure that we have the right trademark,” he said.
Foley has been open about a preference for “Black Knights,” in a nod to his military background. As you can see here, there’s a bit of a trademark issue. And negotiating with the U.S. government over a name or logo must be just a peachy experience.
Then there’s the issue with, well, being Las Vegas.
One assumes there’s an entire dictionary of terms associated with gambling that the Vegas team could use for a nickname. Heck, the “Blackjacks” might even get halfway to Foley’s preferred nickname. (Although the “or bust!” jokes might have been a bit much.)
One problem: Gary Bettman wanted a team in the gambling capital of America, but not one whose nickname is derived from legalized gaming.
“The League has made it very clear that the name really should not be associated with gambling and so on,” said Foley.
(And here we thought McPhee could have gone from Caps to Craps fans.)
If Foley can’t get one of his first choices, he’s hoping Vegas fans might be able to generate other ideas. “I’m willing to take any suggestions anyone has,” he said. “It should represent Las Vegas and be unique to Las Vegas. But it should be a name where you hear it and think, ‘These guys are dedicated. These guys are tough. These guys are going to win.’”
One day, Vegas might feel playoff tension. For now, they have the pressure of a name.
“I got my GM. Now I gotta get my name,” said Foley.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.