What’s in a name?

source: ucalgary.ca

source: ucalgary.ca

Article: Lex Ewen – Contributor

Student-athlete Lex Ewen ranks CIS team names

Last week on The B.S. Report, Bill Simmons had Grantland NBA writer Zack Lowe on the podcast to talk about his ranking from worst to best NBA team names.

After laughing at all of his justifications on why the Utah Jazz was such a good name, or why Cleveland chose a name that literally means “lazy”, I decided to rank the Top 10 Worst to Best Canada West Team Names. If you have read the Grantland column, or listened to the podcast you will know that many sports writers/fans feel strongly that team names that do not end in “s” should be condemned to death. You will notice I take a similar stance.

What goes into the ranking of a team name? Sound, intimidation factor, geographic location, and alliteration all play a role in making a solid team name. For example, Zack Lowes worst NBA team name was The Brooklyn Nets. Yeah, maybe it sounds fine when you say it, but think about it.

A professional sports team full of athletic specimens is named after a stationary object. Not only is a net a stationary object, but it’s made of string. Something you tie your shoes with, or knit a sweater. Also, everyone has to keep in mind that I am a University of Regina Cougar athlete, so I will be biased. At first I wasn’t going to include us in this list for conflict of interest reasons, but what’s the fun in that? Ill be honest I promise. No promises that I will take it easy on the puppies from U of S though. Also, all these schools rock. I’m friends with a ton of people that go to these different schools so it is not a knock on the school itself, just its nickname.

10. University of Alberta GOLDEN BEARS/PANDAS

As a product of the 90’s whenever I think of the Pandas I remember those old World Wildlife Federation commercials with the panda as their logo. They made the panda seem so weak and needy because no one is going to donate money if they see a strong healthy panda on the television–but seriously, donate to the World Wildlife Federation, its a good cause. This kind of ruined my view of the panda and all I wanted to do was cuddle it and make sure it was okay. Also, pandas are going extinct there is no way this has a geographical correlation.

9. Trinity Western SPARTANS

The Spartans cracked the top 10 mainly because I’m a huge 300 fan. Every time I say this name I think of Leonidus yelling, “Spartans, what is your profession!?” and their response of 3 synchronized grunts. Real manly stuff. So, congrats TWU, you made it into the top 10 because of the movie 300. Movies are either making or breaking these names so far. Pop culture is the devil I tell you.

8. University of Saskatchewan HUSKIES

Lets just get this out of the way. No matter if I said I was doing this with an unbiased opinion, there is no way my competitiveness will allow me to put the U of S into the top five of anything. The Husky is a polarizing animal yes, but has no historical, geographical, or literal significance. As a dog lover, I can agree that a Husky is a beautiful animal, but being beautiful won’t get you too far in the sports world. The best athlete in the world has the hairline of a 90 year old–cough, Lebron. Also, I have dogs and I have seen them do some pretty weird things. Dogs pee on each other.

7. University of Lethbridge PRONGHORNS

I figured this was a decent name based on their province, even though it’s not the most intimidating. They are fast, have quick lateral movements, have great endurance, and can defend themselves with their horn. Apparently, all but one species of the pronghorn is extinct. They are cool animals nonetheless.

6. University of Brandon BOBCATS

Even though the Charlotte Bobcats is a terrible NBA name, Bobcats actually works in this scenario. First off, Bobcats are pretty wicked animals with killer instincts. However, that’s not the main reason they came in at the 6th spot. Unlike many others on this list Brandon Bobcats actually sounds good. Charlotte Bobcats sounds awkward, but Brandon Bobcats rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

5. University of Regina COUGARS/RAMS

Okay, okay, I’m going to get in trouble for this for either:

A: Not putting my own school first from my teammates or 
B: Putting us too high from athletes from other schools. Regardless, this is based strictly on the name. When you see No. 1 you will definitely know this is about the name and not the school itself. If it were about the school or athletics than U of R is automatically No. 1. A cougar is an animal that is found in the province of Saskatchewan, it is powerful, it is a hunter, and it is extremely intimidating when you come across one. There aren’t too many team mascots on this list that could physically outdo a cougar. There’s no alliteration in the name but it’s a believable name based on our geographical location. Not to mention I truly believe we have the best logo in Canada West.

4. University of Northern British Columbia TIMBERWOLVES

I’ll admit it, as an NBA fan this one really spoke to me. But, being located in Northern British Columbia, Timberwolves is a perfect name. Wolves hunt in packs and are notoriously savage. They are fast and ruthless when it comes to hunting and are stronger as a pack. This has great team sport parallels. Finally, B.C. produces a good name.

3. University of Manitoba BISONS

Hold up, can some computer science nerd do an online simulation of a cougar fighting a bison? I’m honestly not sure who would win that one. Maybe the bison based on size. This name just sounds right to me. Again, based on location this is a super awesome prairie team name and gives the school an awesome logo. Every single Manitoba provincial team that I have come across uses the bison as a symbol to represent themselves. The bison historically is a symbol of power. With Manitoba having such a unique Indigenous history, this team name is so fitting.

2. University of Victoria VIKES

Did the country of Denmark have a patent on the term “Vikings”? Why not go all the way? The Minnesota Vikings exists though? Hmm. Either way I really like the concept of this name. A: A Vike is a historical warrior that is brave, strong, and not afraid of anything. B: This name is also in the alliteration category. C: The geographical location works perfectly. A Vike is a warrior that travelled on a ship to conquer different lands, and Victoria is right on the coast of Canada. With all 3 categories covered, this is a solid, solid name.

1. University of Calgary DINOS

Even as an archrival of ours, I believe this name is great. First off, who is going to stop a Dinosaur? Sorry Cougars, I don’t think you stand a chance against a T-rex. I mean, unless someone’s team name is the “Ice Age” or the “Meteors” I think a Dinosaur can handle itself against pretty much anything. Second, it makes sense for its province. Alberta is renowned for its fossil landscapes and historic collections. Might as well promote something that is special to your province, especially since it is so badass. I understand that there is no alliteration with this team name, but it still sounds great to say and their logo makes up for it.

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