By Stephen Whyno
AP Sports Writer
Las Vegas owner Bill Foley would love to have a name for his expansion team, and he’s open to ideas.
Three weeks after the NHL awarded an expansion team to Foley, he said his group is having trademark issues and wants to settle on a name quickly. After naming George McPhee as his general manager, Foley expressed some impatience at how the process has stalled.
“We have a lot of names in mind, but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked, so that’s a little bit of an issue,” Foley said Wednesday. “I’m happy to take any suggestions anyone has for a name, particularly one that’s not already trademarked.”
Foley is a 1967 graduate of West Point and has expressed an affinity for the name “Black Knights” as a nod to the Army. Canadian sports network TSN reported Wednesday that “Knights” was likely to be the name of the Las Vegas team, which will begin play in 2017-18.
After agreeing to pay the league a $500 million expansion fee, Foley joked that he should be able to pick the name. Again he reiterated that there won’t be a pick-the-name contest but cited the urgency to get one.
“Our goal is to have a logo and a team name ASAP,” Foley said, adding “I didn’t realize how complicated it was. It is complicated and we’re working our way through the process right now as we speak.”
Another ongoing process is getting a top minor league affiliate. American Hockey League president and CEO David Andrews said in a telephone interview that there would be a 31st team for 2017-18 to even out with the NHL, although Las Vegas could take a current team or a new franchise.
Foley mentioned Salt Lake City as a potential option geographically close to Las Vegas.
There are plenty of Las Vegas-esque names out there, but Foley said the NHL made it clear it should have no association with gambling. Foley knows what he wants.
“It should represent Las Vegas, it should represent the environment, it should be unique to Las Vegas,” he said. “But it needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, ‘These guys are tough, these guys are going to win, these guys are dedicated.’ So I need to have that kind of momentum, that kind of philosophy behind the name.”