What’s in a name? Naming and Branding Las Vegas Hockey

Black Knights

Congratulations Bill Foley on the birth of your new hockey baby! Las Vegas DMC, Destination Fabulous, welcomes him into a neon world where he is sure to be loved by all those who are fortunate enough to see him skate.  Long before you’ll hear the first cheers of an audience or see the first instant replay on the jumbotron, naming your baby will make the franchise – and the team to play inside the T-Mobile Arena – feel real. But of the thousands of names in common use for U.S.  sports and the infinite number you could invent, which will you give your mystery child?

Naming is your first big ownership choice – welcome to more years of personality-molding decisions.  Las Vegas “Strip” day care or Summerlin home care, social media or none, beards or no beards?  These are tough choices. But beards grow back, while names are (or are meant to be) permanent.

Luckily you have a few months to find the perfect moniker – one that sounds good when you coo it, yell it or hear it intoned at the Stanley Cup Finals. And one that will fit a toothless 50 year-old with a beer belly as well as it does a sweet newborn. To help you get started, here are some Do’s and Don’ts. Happy naming!


  • Consider what your child’s initials will spell. Because a friend of mine failed to think about her hyphenated last name, her daughter’s initials are PMS. So far her wild mood swings have lasted sixteen years. Case in point, the proposed Black Knights would be…BK. Burger King… “The Home of the Whopper.”  “It takes two hands to hold a Whopper.” Need I say more? The defense rests.


  • Try alternate spellings. Changing an “i” or an “e” or doubling a letter can breathe fresh air into an overused name. Think homophonic heterographs. “Knights”, “Nights” or “Nites”…or better yet the Black Knights join Michael Knight at Owl Nite on Saturday Night to backup Gladys Knight…but I digress.


  • Think about how the first and last names will sound together (for our exercise; city/state and team name). If the last name ends with a vowel, the first name probably shouldn’t if you want to avoid one long mishmash. Short first names sound good with longer last names and vice versa, but long first and last name pairing can be a mouthful – just say Englebert Humperdinck!
  • Take a stroll through our local sports graveyard or visit a historical-sports website if you like old names. You might find some doozies that have yet to be discovered and popularized. Please allow the Thunder, Wranglers, Silver Bandits, and the Outlaws to R.I.P.
  • Remember that you can make people happy with a well-chosen Vegas centric name. Need to honor an imploded hotel or a degenerate’s favorite game of chance? This is a good place to do it.
  • Accept that it’s perfectly valid to veto a name because it’s too ludicrous. And honor your fan’s preferences, too – your favorite name might bring to mind a creepy Indiana college basketball coach or Medieval Times Renaissance Fair.
  • Pore over the recent RJ’s online team naming submissions. It’s the pre-season ticket-holders equivalent of online stock watching.



  • Name your baby as a way to tell the world all about you. The name is Vegas’, not yours. Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid Apple, which wouldn’t be that bad, except that the kid is a girl. That quirky Gwyneth, we’re meant to think. Moon Unit Zappa? That Frank was one crazy guy! Airy-Fairy names can be a handful to live with. What if Aurora wants to be an oil tycoon when he grows up? Then again, if your gorgeous and talented child becomes a star, he can transcend any name.


Sands Hotel and Casino

Often, when one of the members was scheduled to give a performance, the rest of the Pack would show up for an impromptu show, causing much excitement among audiences, resulting in return visits. They sold out almost all of their appearances, and people would come pouring into Las Vegas, sometimes sleeping in cars and hotel lobbies when they could not find rooms, just to be part of the Rat Pack entertainment experience. The Rat Pack’s appearances were of unprecedented value because the city would always become flooded with high rollers, wealthy gamblers who would routinely leave substantial fortunes in the casinos’ coffers. The marquees of the hotels at which they were performing as individuals would read, for example, “DEAN MARTIN – MAYBE FRANK – MAYBE SAMMY” as seen on a Sands Hotel sign.

The Las Vegas Rat Pack?  NO. The Las Vegas Black Knights? MAYBE BABY.

  • Pick a name that rhymes with something kids find funny. Unless you’ve conceived a first season Stanley Cup Champion whom no kid would be fool enough to tease, don’t name him the Flamingos.
  • Pick a name that rhymes with “Puck” if you want your son to be the only kid looking up from the ice when the referee throws him into the penalty box.
  • Select a name that, as the government of New Zealand advises, is “unreasonably long” or “uses punctuation marks, brackets or numerals.” Weird names have become so trendy there that they are now illegal under New Zealand law. And the law is being enforced. The courts recently ordered parents to rename young Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, and I’m most certain that the “Las Vegas Venomous Vipers of the Nevada Southwest Desert” wouldn’t fly either.

What’s in a name? A small fortune. Bill Foley recently stated, “I’m open-minded about the team name and colors, but I am the majority owner.” Any team name and logo would have to be approved by the league.  Foley anticipates $4 million in revenue from the sales of team jerseys, hats and other products in the first year.

Regardless of the team’s name it all hinges on one thing… “if you can’t beat ‘em in the heat, you can’t beat ‘em on the ice.”

Put the biscuit in the basket,



William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet