5 Best-Named Hockey Teams Around The World
Owning a team comes with endless possibilities: the name, the colors, the logo, and the players just to name a few.
Fans old and young can appreciate when owners include their own personality in creating a team's identity, such as the NHL's 31stt franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, and owner Bill Foley's nod to his military background and appreciation.
Below, in no particular order, are the world's five best-named hockey teams based on their uniqueness, their names' ability to roll off the tongue, and their logo and color schemes that bring it all together.
Wheeling NailersWhere: Wheeling, West Virginia
The Wheeling Nailers were originally the very successful Carolina Thunderbirds of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League. When the league folded in 1987, the team moved to the All-American Hockey League, which lasted for just the 1987-88 season.
The Thunderbirds, alongside the Virginia Lancers and Johnstown Chiefs, formed the basis of the East Coast Hockey League, now known as just the ECHL.
The team landed in Wheeling, WV, in 1992 and finally became the Nailers in 1996 after a trademark dispute with the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Nailers' black, gold, and white color scheme, old-style goalie mask for a logo, and hometown of Wheeling -- a common slang term in hockey -- is a unique combination that lands the franchise among the best named in the world.
JokeritWhere: Helsinki, Finland
League: Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
Annual Gagarin Cup contender Jokerit is both the city and team name of the Helsinki, Finland, branch of the KHL. Don't bother heading to Google for the translation, as the logo gives its meaning away. The team is simply called the Jokers, or Jesters if you like.
Jokerit floated around in various Finnish leagues for 46 seasons before joining the KHL in 2014-15, when it became the first Nordic team in league history.
The team's winking jester logo is one of the most distinctive insignias in hockey and was created based on jokers included in assorted decks of cards. The color scheme of the red, blue, and yellow is simple but has worked well for the franchise since it was founded in the late 1960s.
Odessa JackalopesWhere: Odessa, Texas
League: North American Hockey League (NAHL)
The mythical jackalope is a jackrabbit with antelope horns. Sure, there are plenty of exciting mythical animals to choose from, but there's a big difference between a team being named after a jackalope versus something less enticing, say, a unicorn.
Before moving to Odessa, Texas, in 2011, the franchise was nicknamed the "Express" and was based out of Owatonna, Minnesota.
What makes a jackalope a fun name is its reputation of being a mysterious, fearsome creature in North American folklore. While there's not much intimidating about a rabbit with horns, the name is unique enough that you'll struggle to find another "Jackalopes," regardless of the sport.
The team's colors are red, black, purple, and blue sealed by a burly, game-faced jackalope wielding a hockey stick. Everything blends together well and makes for a one-of-a-kind franchise.
Columbus Blue JacketsWhere: Columbus, Ohio
League: National Hockey League (NHL)
Historical references that don't ruin a team get bonus points, especially such a patriotic one. Columbus' original neon green bee logo seemed a tad random, and few seem to know the origin of its actual name.
"Blue Jackets" is an homage to Ohio's efforts during the Civil War, in which the Union Army wore navy uniforms. Those very uniforms were manufactured in Columbus. Ohio, coincidentally, had the highest percentage of population serve in the Union Army compared to any other state.
The name is one of the most unique in the NHL and has a deeper meaning than perhaps any other team's nickname does. Over the years, the Blue Jackets' minor tweaks to their logo and colors have stayed true to their military roots, using stars, stripes, and even a Civil War-era cannon.
KooKoo KouvolaWhere: Kouvola, Finland
The team's full name is KooKoo Hockey Oy, but it's known as KooKoo for short. Located out of Kouvola, Finland, KooKoo Hockey Oy -- it's just too fun to not say -- plays in Liiga, the top league in the country, which is more commonly referred to as the Finnish Elite League in North America.
KooKoo sounds as self-explainable as Jokerit but is pronounced more similar to "cuh-cuh" than "cuckoo," which is a reference to the team's original name of Kouvola Kiekko-65 and dates back to its founding in 1965. Even the team's black, orange, and white color palate can be confused with the chestnut-winged cuckoo bird that bares a strong resemblance.
The color palette does a fantastic job of drowning out the excessive use of advertisements displayed on most overseas league jerseys and helps the team stand out among its opposition.
Bonus: Kootenay IceWhere: Cranbrook, Canada
League: Western Hockey League (WHL)
When it comes to hockey, "Ice" is hardly original. However, with all due respect to Kootenay, the logo looks like the case of beer your cheap teammate hauls in on game day when it's his turn to buy. It's just too cool.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.