Column: What's in a team name? Ask the Vegas Flying Elvi
LAS VEGAS (AP) Sin City finally has its first major league sports team. Now the question is what to call it.
It won't be the Aces, already taken by a Reno minor league team. The same goes for names like Gamblers, Wranglers, Cowboys and Outlaws, all used at one time or another for minor league teams.
Owner Bill Foley, a self-proclaimed Army guy, likes Black Knights for his NHL team. But he acknowledged Wednesday that ''maybe that's not the right name'' for the team at this time.
But if New Orleans can name its team the Pelicans because the bird hangs around there, why can't Las Vegas come up with something befitting its reputation as the gambling and party capital of the country?
So, with apologies to hockey traditionalists everywhere, here are a few suggestions:
LOSERS: Hey, it's a town built on losers so why not honor the men and women who gave their money to make Las Vegas what it is today. On the flip side, it might be a little hard to convince fans to root for a bunch of losers.
RAT PACK: Frank, Sammy and Dean viewed ice only as something necessary for their drinks, but the Rat Pack once roamed the very spot where the team will play. Besides, it beats the alternative of naming them the Wayne Newtons.
STRIPPERS: OK, it sounds a bit risque and might not play well in Ottawa. But the team will actually be playing in an arena on the Las Vegas Strip, so there is that connection.
WISEGUYS: This might be the early favorite in the sports books. Bugsy Siegel would be proud of what he helped build, assuming he hadn't met such an untimely end. Then again, Bugsy probably never envisioned a hockey team amid the gambling joints he and the boys once ran.
DIRTY RATS: Bugsy's boys used to put these guys in their final resting places in the desert.
SHARPS: These are the guys who bet big money and often beat the bookies. They are royalty in Vegas, much like former players with missing front teeth are in Winnipeg.
SQUARES: The opposite of Sharps.
SINNERS: This is Sin City, you know. And there is precedent of sorts in New Orleans, where there is a football team called the Saints. Plus, think of the fun referees could have sending Sinners to the Sin Bin.
C-NOTES: The bill of choice on the Las Vegas Strip, it can get you into nightclubs and might even pay for a seat (parking not included) to watch hockey in the new T-Mobile Arena. Think of the promotional possibilities when it rains $100 bills in between periods.
VEGANS: If Vancouver can have the Canucks and Montreal the Canadians, Vegas can have the Vegans. Might even appeal to a new set of fans in search of a good tofu hot dog to go with their hockey.
SHOWGIRLS: On second thought, no.
SIEGFRIED & ROYS: They made magic with tigers. Why not let the new team do the same on the ice.
HARDWAY SIX: A craps bet favored by a lot of players about town, it's not easy to win but pays off big. There is some precedent, with the 1977 UNLV basketball team that made the Final Four nicknamed the Hardway Eight.
ATOMICS: Back in the day, Las Vegans used to get up early to watch the mushroom clouds from nuclear explosions set off at the Nevada Test Site just north of town. It would be much safer to cheer for the Atomics to explode for a few goals.
SECRETS: Everyone knows what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So why not call the team the Las Vegas Secrets? As a bonus, whenever they are eliminated from the playoffs headline writers can write: The Secrets are out.
And, finally, the No. 1 pick for a team name:
FLYING ELVI: No reason to get all shook up, but this takes care of the team name, mascot and entertainment all in one swoop. And, with 14,000 season tickets sold, Las Vegas has already shown a hunka, hunka burning love for this team.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg