Alaska’s loss was Portland’s gain when the ECHL Aces announced they were relocating to Maine for the 2018-19 season, with the franchise rights given to Comcast Spectacor, owners of the Philadelphia Flyers (to whom Portland isn’t affiliated … yet).
Which meant that the Aces would be no more. Which meant that this Portland franchise needed a new name.
Which means we’re extraordinarily close to having an ECHL team officially christened the “Maine Wild Blueberries.”
Portland Hockey LLC announced on Thursday that the first phase of its “name the team” contest is complete and there are five finalists for the team name. The Final Five team names are Mariners, Watchmen, Lumberjacks, Puffins and … Wild Blueberries.
Let’s take a look at these candidates individually:
The Mariners were a real team that played in Portland from 1977-1992. The Mariners are the only franchise in AHL history to win the Calder Cup in their first two seasons. They moved to become the Providence Bruins. Obviously this should not be the name because of all the Coyotes/Jets-like record book confusion that would occur even if the teams are in two completely different leagues.
The Watchmen would be a tribute to the 65 historical lighthouses in Maine, because we all know how successful sea captain and lighthouse motifs have been on hockey jerseys. This should not be the name unless the team puts The Comedian on its logo and makes Rorschach its mascot. (“I’M NOT TAKING PHOTOS WITH YOU … YOU’RE TAKING PHOTOS WITH ME!!!!”)
The Lumberjacks would be a tribute to everything insipidly obvious, sparing a late submission of “Lobsters” as the single most cliché name imaginable for a hockey team in Maine.
The Puffins would be in honor of the state being a nesting place for the adorable birds. While the team would turn a profit through sales of plush toys alone, this should not be the name because it’s already a delicious cereal at Trader Joe’s.
Finally, the Maine Wild Blueberries, which should totally be this team’s name.
From Portland Hockey:
The Wild Blueberries, submitted by Bill S. of Portland, is the official berry of the state. Maine accounts for 10% of all blueberries grown in North America and Coastal Maine boasts the largest production of blueberries.
First off … Bill S., whoever you are, you are a damned mastermind of awesomeness. Thank you.
Now, we’re not ones to instigate a fan vote (no, wait, we totally are), but the vote is currently ongoing here on the Portland Hockey site. And there are absolutely zero reasons a hockey team in Maine shouldn’t be called the Wild Blueberries. There are, in fact, many reasons why it should:
A decided lack of fruit-based nicknames among professional hockey teams.
The naming of the fan club section in the arena as “Blueberry Hill.”
The easy puns for local newspapers. “Blueberry ‘Nuthin” for a shutout, and so on.
The awkward moments in interviews when the coach is forced to acknowledge that the team isn’t just good but “berry, berry good.”
The fans are going to throw damn blueberries on the ice all the time and it’s going to look like a damn crime scene out there.
We here at Puck Daddy throw our support behind this ECHL team being named the Portland-and-or-Maine Wild Blueberries.
Crush it, people.
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