What are the names of the mascots of the Nashville Predators

The animal names of the ice hockey teams

When you look at ice hockey game boards, do you feel like the whole zoo has gathered there? We too asked ourselves the question and asked an expert in more detail. We tell you the stories of the animal team names of the NHL teams and get to the bottom of the global trend.

Michael Kerin with his blog "Kr1 Ice Hockey Blog"

Michael Kerin reports passionately on his blog "Kr1 Ice Hockey Blog - The Art of Ice Hockey without Bread" about current events, relevant backgrounds and exclusive insider stories from the world of ice hockey.

Where is the origin?

The tradition of having an animal companion in the team name originally comes from North American professional leagues. So not only ice hockey teams, but also American football, baseball and basketball teams have an animal in their name. Michael Krein explains how tradition crept into ice hockey:

“There are two aspects: On the one hand, the animal appeared in the city's coat of arms and was integrated into the logo from the very beginning of the club. On the other hand, towards the end of the 1990s, the clubs, infected by Americanization, increasingly identified themselves through mostly aggressive animal logos. The background to this was also technical marketing aspects in order to increase sales of fan merchandise.
One of the first teams in the world were the Quebec Bulldogs, founded in 1910, they even had the "mastiff" on their team photo. The tradition of animal names comes from the English-speaking world, here even Australia is one of the trendsetters shortly after the turn of the century. "

For example, as part of marketing, logos are printed on fan articles and the team animal is brought to life as a mascot.

The animal names of the NHL teams

The professional league "National Hockey League" (NHL) from the USA currently consists of 30 teams, six of which have an animal name.

“The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Mighty Ducks triggered a real marketing boom in the early 1990s. Before that, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers were among themselves for a long time, ”says blogger Michael Krein, explaining the beginnings of the animal teams. However, the Hartford Whalers were only part of the NHL from 1979 to 1997. We'll tell you below where the animal names of the six current NHL teams come from.


Pittsburgh Penguins

The "Pittsburgh Penguins" joined the NHL in 1967. Carol McGregor, the wife of the license part owner, came up with the name more or less by chance.

It was known that the team would play their home games at the Civic Arena, so she asked how the arena is popularly known. Since the venue was often nicknamed “The Great Igloo”, it was obvious to give the team the animal nickname “Penguins”. The original logo features a penguin in front of a triangle that stands for "The Golden Triangle" of downtown Pittsburgh.

Buffalo sabers

The team of the "Buffalo Sabers" was founded in 1970, their logo shows a bison and two crossed sabers. For one, the team comes from Buffalo, New York, and was originally supposed to be referred to as the "bisons" (Buffalo).

However, the brothers and owners Seymour Knox III and Northrup Knox wanted to find a more original and unique team name and started a name-finding competition. From numerous submissions, they finally selected “Sabers” (sabers). The brothers justified their decision with the fact that the saber is carried as a weapon by a leader and is strong on both the offensive and the defensive. This is exactly what they hoped for from their team.

Arizona Coyotes

The "Arizona Coyotes" were originally founded in 1972 under the name "Winnipeg Jets". For the 1996/97 season they moved to Phoenix, where they held a competition to give the team a new name. Here the coyote prevailed, which is considered the most feared predator in Arizona. The animal nickname "Scorpio" took second place.

At first the team was called "Phoenix Coyotes" until they moved again, this time to Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix. At the beginning of the 2014/15 season they renamed themselves to "Arizona Coyotes" because they are not only viewed as an ice hockey team for Glendale or Phoenix, but wanted to stand for the entire state of Arizona. Thus, the team hoped to be able to inspire fans from all over the southwest.

Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are the only team that has been named after a brand in the history of North American professional leagues. In 1992 Walt Disney landed a mega hit with the film "Mighty Ducks - The Superteam". In order to be able to realize this, Disney set up a professional ice hockey team itself.

The following year, the NHL recognized the film's popularity by signing a franchise agreement with Disney. Thus the club was christened “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim” and received the identical logo from the film. When Disney sold the team in 2005, the name was simply changed to "Anaheim Ducks".

San Jose Sharks

The "San Jose Sharks" were founded in 1991 and held a drawing competition for the tickets on the occasion of the game in Chicago that year. This should primarily serve to name the team.

Out of over 2,300 entries from all over the world, the name “Sharks” ultimately won. Also made into the finals were "Rubber Puckies", "Screaming Squids", "Salty Dogs" and "Blades". "Blades" was the most popular suggestion, but was ultimately rejected due to the gang relationship. When the team name was chosen, it was fitting that seven species of shark found their home in the Pacific Ocean along the California coast. The area is called "The Red Triangle".

Florida panthers

The Florida Panthers were founded in 1993. At that time, the wildcat native to Florida was one of the endangered species. The team wanted to draw attention to the acute problem and named itself after the graceful big cat.

When Chairman Bill Torrey revealed the team name, he shared his prediction with journalists that ice hockey players would do the panthers credit by being as fast on the ice as the animal in its natural environment.

A global trend - Switzerland and Germany under the microscope

Animal ice hockey teams are not only at home in America, animal surnames are also very popular in Europe. Using two countries, we will show you how naming in Switzerland and Germany developed towards animals.


A look at Switzerland

The first ice hockey league in Switzerland, or NLA for short, consists of a total of twelve teams. Five of them show an animal in their logo. Michael Krein looks back on the history of Swiss ice hockey and mentions the team of today's SCL Tigers as an example:

“In the 1970s, jersey advertising was banned in Switzerland. Because the SC Langnau (today SCL Tigers) had a tiger as a club symbol in ancient times, a tiger may adorn the SCL dress again despite the advertising ban. "Coincidentally" in the shape of the tiger head from "Tiger Cheese AG". Since then, the Langnau have been "tigers".
However, the dress advertising was not entirely without consequences, Langnau was not shown on Swiss television for two years and is considered a trendsetter when it comes to body advertising. The club management dared unbelievable things at the time. "

Here, too, the animal is the program in the name and is used for marketing purposes and the appearance of the team. Michael Kerin provides an apt example:

“HC Geneva-Servette in Switzerland lets a real eagle,“ Sherkan ”, fly from the stands to the face-off circle through the stadium before every game. Meanwhile, the players stand on the ice in an eagle formation during the player presentation. "

Although the team does not have an eagle in the official logo, it is best known for its feathered mascot.

This is how the trend came to Germany

The German ice hockey teams are also very much based on the USA when it comes to naming them. The blogger explains the sudden change:

“With the introduction of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) in 1994, Germany was literally overrun by the wave of animals. Of 18 teams, eleven teams changed their traditional club name to an animal name and three teams followed suit later. The trend is partly going back to the original name. "

Even before the DEL, the animal nicknames of the ice hockey teams were successful. Michael Kerin also gives an apt example:

"One of the first and best-known European teams are the Kölner Haie (EC), which until the founding of the DEL only had the name" Haie "as a nickname, but the name" Haie "was on everyone's lips long before that."

The most popular animal in ice hockey - the tiger

Despite the huge biodiversity in the wildlife, ice hockey teams have their favorites when it comes to naming the team. Michael Kerin sees the tiger as the great namesake:

“Tigers are particularly widespread in Europe. In the DEL, there are even two teams in the same class, the Nürnberg Ice Tigers and the Straubing Tigers. In the WHL in Western Canada (Medicine Hat), in the QMJHL in Quebec (Victoriaville), in the AHL in North America (Bridgeport), in Switzerland (SCL Tigers), in Russia (Khabarovsk), the Czech Republic (Liberec) and in Belgium ( Brussels, Turnhout) the Tigers also play. Tigers used to be in the NHL (Hamilton), in the Netherlands (Amsterdam), in Great Britain (Brighton, Dundee, Telford and Wightlink), Norway (Asker), in the OPJHL in Ontario (Aurora), in the former CHL in the USA (Cincinatti) and in the former MAHL in the USA (Sands Points). "

Maybe you want to name your ice hockey team after the biggest big cat in the world?

With us you can design your own ice hockey jersey individually! Thus, thanks to a variety of designs and colors, you can ideally adapt your jersey to your team name. In addition, all of the logos, coats of arms and sponsor titles you have placed are already included in the price.

We hope we were able to take you into the animal world of ice hockey and maybe even inspire you for your own team name!

Images: Featured image: © iStockShaneGross, © iStockEvgeny555, © iStock Grafissimo, © iStock KenCanning, © iStock JohnhPitcher, © iStock SteveOehlenschlager, image 1: © iStock Lunja, image 2: © Michael Krein, image 3: © iStock sdominick, image 4: © iStock Freder