EDITORIAL – Picking better names for sports teams isn’t rocket science


An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.


They were the local Western Hockey League franchise until 1977, when they left town and, thankfully, changed their name.

Quite a few other sports teams are in for name changes right now, and it can’t happen soon enough. The Washington Redskins are going to trade their name in for something else, though who knows what? Others, like the Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, Warriors and Thunderbirds are also due for a change. There’s a women’s hockey team with the truly awful name Squaws.

A few mascots with stupid names like Chief Wannawin, Chief Noc-A-Homa and Princess Win-A-Lotta (get it?) are already gone.

The Portland Winterhawks name is sometimes called into question but a winter hawk is actually a species of bird. Their old Tom-A-Hawk mascot is gone and earlier this year they unveiled a new alternate logo of a hawk’s head. If they get rid of the old warrior logo entirely they’ll be in good shape.

The Edmonton Eskimos will have to find a new name, too, but it shouldn’t be hard. Creativity and originality have never been criteria for naming sports teams.

Birds and animals are popular. We have Pelicans, Blue Jays, Eagles, Cardinals, Orioles and, believe it or not, Penguins. We also have Lions, Panthers, Raptors, Broncos, Bulls and Bears.

Sadly, insects are under rated, though there are a few Hornets, Bees, Beetles and even Slugs and Black Flies. But where are the Spiders, Cockroaches, Mozzies and Katydids?

We even have snakes and rodents — Vipers, Diamondbacks, River Rats, Beavers and Prairie Dogs, for example.

So why not the Edmonton Elephants, Emus or Earwigs? Or, take a page from the book of the Pistons, Suns, Rockets and other teams that prefer objects or places. Could we soon see the Edmonton Flatlanders, Edmonton Cold or Edmonton Snowmen take the field?

Bottom line is, almost anything will be better than what these teams are called now.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8485 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Picking better names for sports teams isn’t rocket science

  1. Ian MacKenzie // July 16, 2020 at 6:51 AM // Reply

    There’s far too much to-do about sports names. I’ve never even thought of them in all my 87 years in racialized terms anyhow. About the only ones that would jar my perception is something like Whiteheads or Bluebloods.

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