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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The ECHL, a professional hockey league stretching from Newfoundland to south Florida to Idaho, has some cool team names.
It also has the uncool Jacksonville Icemen.
The Iowa Heartlanders of Coralville are between cool and Icemen. I’m not hot for the name myself, but that’s because I’m a sports writer who doesn’t like repeatedly typing words with more syllables than “rink” or “puck” or “goon.”
I’m just glad they didn’t use some lazy variation of “Hawks.”
Here’s how to classify the rest of the ECHL’s names:
Toledo Walleye: It’s a fish that is abundant in the Toledo area.
Idaho Steelheads: It’s a fish that is abundant in the Boise area. Steelheads sound tough. Steel heads? You gonna take a swing at that?
Rapid City Rush: When in doubt, use alliteration.
South Carolina Stingrays: See “Rapid City Rush.”
Atlanta Gladiators: The Gladiators lost to the Alaska Aces in the 2006 ECHL Kelly Cup finals. A few years ago, the Aces were sold and moved to Maine. If you’re going to move, stay close to good seafood.
Cincinnati Cyclones: Were it not for Cincinnati, Coralville could have used the “Cyclones” name. Well, maybe not.
Acceptable Because of Location
Maine Mariners: It’s Maine. Maine has mariners.
Norfolk Admirals: Norfolk is a naval town. Simple enough.
Acceptable Because They’ve Had Pro Hockey Teams With These Names For Several Decades
Fort Wayne Komets: The original owner, back in 1952, named his team “Komets” because his wife’s name was Kathryn and she went by “Kay.” This is how you stay married, Bill Gates.
Jacksonville Icemen: Tim Tebow, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end, is a co-owner of the Icemen. “I simply love Jacksonville,” Tebow said. Then why not give its hockey team a better name?
Indy Fuel: Electric cars could eventually force a name change.
Tulsa Oilers: Electric pickup trucks could eventually force a name change.
Kansas City Mavericks: Kansas City was in the ECHL’s Mountain Division last season. So were Tulsa and Wichita. But hey, the Iowa Cubs were in baseball’s Pacific Coast League from 1998 through 2020.
Worcester Railers: The name is based on Worcester’s strong association with the railroad industry. Which means nearly every city in the U.S. should have a team called the Railers.
Reading Royals: Anyone who has played Monopoly knows of the Reading Railroad. Why wasn’t this team the Railers?
Allen Americans: Leave it to Texans to call a hockey team the “Americans.” Of the 24 players on the Americans’ roster, 18 are Canadian.
Wichita Thunder: On May 11, this team gave free tickets to a game to fans who presented their COVID-19 vaccination card. The Thunder rolled, beating Kansas City, 5-2.
Adirondack Thunder: In 2015, the ECHL’s Stockton (Calif.) Thunder really rolled, all the way to the franchise’s current home in Glens Falls, N.Y.
Utah Grizzlies: Utah doesn’t have grizzly bears.
Orlando Solar Bears: Orlando doesn’t have bears at all, solar or otherwise.
An Expansion Team With No Nickname Yet, And Doesn’t Really Need One Because It Will Be In French And We’ll Just Butcher It When We Try To Say It
Trois-Rivieres: This club will play in Nouveau Colisee de Trois-Rivieres, a $60 million venue. Xtream Arena, Coralville’s new “colisee,” is very nice, too. Bring on the Nailers and Grizzlies and Walleye.
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