IceCap

Determining An Identity for Toronto's Second NHL Team

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You guys can so totes have IceHogs if it means we no longer have to bear the ignominy of putting prospects on assignment with the "Rockford IceHogs." Now to fix the Rockford part!

I always wondered why the Blackhawks never had an affiliation with the Wolves. I know they're owned by two different groups, but you'd think would have signed some mutual non-aggression pact or something.

Far from it. The Wolves aggressively marketed themselves in opposition to the Blackhawks during the Dark Ages. Even without the bad blood, I wouldn't want the Blackhawks affiliated with the Wolves, who still maintain their IHL spirit of aspirations greater than that of a mere farm team. It certainly hasn't helped the Jets to have inherited a developmental roster that saw its prospects demoted or benched for "proven AHL players." What the Blackhawks have now is pretty much what the Flames have had, which is to exist on a largely evaluative basis and to hell with wins, losses, or what the locals think. Works better in Rockford, though.

The only way affiliating with Rosemont would work would be to buy out Don Levin and run the Wolves as the IceHogs, but that runs the risk of alienating the diehard Wolves fans (they're still out there) who have come to expect a competitive team and enjoyable gamenight experience. Status quo is fine.

I don't get the sense there's bad blood anymore, just that the two teams don't need each other. The Hawks have their fans, the Wolves have their base, and that's that.

The Hawks connection really helps the Hogs, however, and the Blackhawks like having a team so close they can run the way they want. So that's a win-win.

In many ways, having Vancouver as the parent club is fine for the Wolves. The Canucks don't seem that interested in developing players, which allows the Wolves to be independent. Being with Vancouver also forces/allows the Wolves also keep their own identity, an identity they've cultivated and one their fans cling to. If you didn't know it you couldn't tell at Wolves games that the Canucks are the parent club, which I'm sure is design. Of course, the reasons for that are obvious, as there is some run-off from the Hawks crowd that would be alienated.

In all, the arrangement works for everybody.

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My apologies if it's been suggested: Toronto Victorians

That wouldn't work in this day and age because "LOL Victoria is a girl's name"

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My favorites are:

Toronto Tigers

Toronto Huskies

Toronto Trappers

Toronto Titans

Just my opinion since I know nothing about the specifics of Toronto but none of those names jump off the board. I know it's hard to be unique but those are all too common in sports already.

Toronto Tigers (MLB, NCAA)

Toronto Huskies (NCAA)

Toronto Trappers (Minor League)

Toronto Titans (NFL)

Toronto Narrows - Originally, the term "Taronto" referred to The Narrows

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Toronto Beavers

Toronto Centaurs

Toronto Griffins

Toronto Guardians

Toronto Huskies

Toronto Loyalists

Toronto Mammoths

Toronto Rogues

Toronto Royals

Toronto Sentinels

Toronto Shamrocks

Toronto Titans

(My running list of suggestions, with the newest in bold letters.)

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Toronto Rush.

Toronto Tom Sawyers.

By-Tor and the Toronto Snow Dogs.

Toronto Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.

YYZ Hockey Club.

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Toronto Red Coats (Would be fun to see them play the Blue Jackets)

Toronto Clovers

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My guess would be that a second Toronto franchise, especially one presumably playing out of Markham, would instead use the name "Ontario" as it's location name as opposed to "Toronto."

If they really want to differentiate themselves from the Leafs and forge their own identity, they'll need to be different in more than just the color scheme.

You could have some fun alliterative names with that too:

Ontario Otters (Lontra canadensis is the binomial name of the species BTW)

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My guess would be that a second Toronto franchise, especially one presumably playing out of Markham, would instead use the name "Ontario" as it's location name as opposed to "Toronto."

If they really want to differentiate themselves from the Leafs and forge their own identity, they'll need to be different in more than just the color scheme.

Using provincial names for teams isn't as prevalent in Canada as using state names is in the US, though it does happen. Still, I haven't heard if a single Ontario-based team at any level in any sport just go with "Ontario" (though I'm sure there's an obscure example that will prove me wrong).

Never the less it would be silly to call a new Toronto team the "Ontario ______s." Ontario already has two other NHL teams. Why should the newcomer get to claim the entire province?

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Using provincial names for teams isn't as prevalent in Canada as using state names is in the US, though it does happen. Still, I haven't heard if a single Ontario-based team at any level in any sport just go with "Ontario" (though I'm sure there's an obscure example that will prove me wrong).

Never the less it would be silly to call a new Toronto team the "Ontario ______s." Ontario already has two other NHL teams. Why should the newcomer get to claim the entire province?

They're merely using the name of the province in which they play, what about using the moniker "Ontario" means they're "claiming" anything? I never understood that argument. By that logic why would they use the name "Toronto" since another team already plays in Toronto?

And you're right, no one else in Ontario uses that branding. It's a unique identity, just what a team in an already established market needs.

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Never the less it would be silly to call a new Toronto team the "Ontario ______s." Ontario already has two other NHL teams. Why should the newcomer get to claim the entire province?

I disagree with your premise. The Los Angeles Angels franchise was was known as the California Angles despite establishing themselves in the state of California after the Dodgers and Giants arrived.

You've said many times that the Leafs have a very big hold on the hockey culture in Toronto. So much so that you doubt that a second team could be viable simply by being the "anti-Leafs." Why shouldn't this franchise take "Ontario" to try and market themselves across a larger geography?

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Never the less it would be silly to call a new Toronto team the "Ontario ______s." Ontario already has two other NHL teams. Why should the newcomer get to claim the entire province?

I disagree with your premise. The Los Angeles Angels franchise was was known as the California Angles despite establishing themselves in the state of California after the Dodgers and Giants arrived.

Just because it happened before doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. I've always found the California Angels moniker silly.

You've said many times that the Leafs have a very big hold on the hockey culture in Toronto. So much so that you doubt that a second team could be viable simply by being the "anti-Leafs." Why shouldn't this franchise take "Ontario" to try and market themselves across a larger geography?

Well the Leafs don't just have a hold on the hockey culture in Toronto. They have a hold on the hockey culture in southern Ontario up through Ottawa. The Senators haven't even de-Leafed Ottawa yet. So I'm rather skeptical that a second team in the GTA can manage to overcome the Leafs.

Using the name "Ontario" just wouldn't work. You say it would help them appeal to a market wider then the GTA, but the Leafs are already entrenched in that market despite using the "Toronto" moniker. You have small pockets of Red Wings fans, and even smaller pockets of Sabres fans here and there, but by and large all of southern Ontario is Leafs country. The "southern Ontario needs a second team" people make it sound like the hockey fans in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, and London are just begging for a team to call their own as they feel underrepresented by the Leafs, but I assure you that's simply not the case. Hamilton's got it supporters, but you're still talking about a vocal minority.

Which is why I would find it a bit patronizing to have this second GTA team use the "Ontario" moniker. I'm a hockey fan from Kitchener, living in London who can't afford Leafs tickets, who's tired of the Leafs missing the playoffs year in and year out. I am their ideal demographic. Yet I am not going to ditch the Leafs to cheer for a second team in the GTA just because they stuck the word "Ontario" onto their name in an attempt to appeal to some vague sense of southern-Ontario-that's-not-Toronto brand of regional pride. Take a look at Ontario on a map. It's a giant irregular blob that encompasses quite a few distinct, separate regions. Claiming a second team in the GTA can be "Ontario's team" is ridiculous.

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Ultimately, it's just a location name. Whether the team plays in Toronto, Hamilton, or somewhere else, they would be playing in the province of Ontario. And since the team is from Ontario, it seems reasonable to me for them to use "Ontario" as part of their name. They may not become "Ontario's team" (like the Senators haven't become "Ottawa's team" that you alluded to), but ultimately it's just a location name.

For the sake of argument, let's say that you are representative of their ideal demographic. If the team chose the Ontario moniker, would that dissuade you from going to their games whereas you would if they chose something like "Hamilton"?

If Ontario is this blob composed of distinct, separate regions, wouldn't the sense of "Ontario-ness" be the one thing that connects them all? If using "Ontario" can help distinguish this second team from Toronto, I see no reason why they shouldn't consider it (in as much as the team name matters for marketing).

------

I think we will just agree to disagree on the viability of the name.

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Markham Mammoths. I dunno, anything Mammoths featuring the color brown would be great imo

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Well the Leafs don't just have a hold on the hockey culture in Toronto. They have a hold on the hockey culture in southern Ontario up through Ottawa. The Senators haven't even de-Leafed Ottawa yet. So I'm rather skeptical that a second team in the GTA can manage to overcome the Leafs.

Using the name "Ontario" just wouldn't work. You say it would help them appeal to a market wider then the GTA, but the Leafs are already entrenched in that market despite using the "Toronto" moniker. You have small pockets of Red Wings fans, and even smaller pockets of Sabres fans here and there, but by and large all of southern Ontario is Leafs country. The "southern Ontario needs a second team" people make it sound like the hockey fans in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, and London are just begging for a team to call their own as they feel underrepresented by the Leafs, but I assure you that's simply not the case. Hamilton's got it supporters, but you're still talking about a vocal minority.

Which is why I would find it a bit patronizing to have this second GTA team use the "Ontario" moniker. I'm a hockey fan from Kitchener, living in London who can't afford Leafs tickets, who's tired of the Leafs missing the playoffs year in and year out. I am their ideal demographic. Yet I am not going to ditch the Leafs to cheer for a second team in the GTA just because they stuck the word "Ontario" onto their name in an attempt to appeal to some vague sense of southern-Ontario-that's-not-Toronto brand of regional pride. Take a look at Ontario on a map. It's a giant irregular blob that encompasses quite a few distinct, separate regions. Claiming a second team in the GTA can be "Ontario's team" is ridiculous.

Not sure I understand what you're getting at? You complain about "Ontario" being somehow too inclusive of an area and overreaching into other team's existing markets, but if anything just going with "Toronto" compounds that problem considering youre now using same name of a smaller geographic area.

State/Provincial/Regional names are nothing new. You have the Florida Panthers in the NHL even though Tampa Bay also has a team. California has had the Angels, Seals, and Warriors use state-wide monikers even though the state houses multiple other teams. Every team in Minnesota has always used the state moniker as opposed to a city, whether they played in Minneapolis, St, Paul or Bloomington. Canada's not exactly new to this trend either looking at the BC Lions, Manitoba Moose, etc.

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For the sake of argument, let's say that you are representative of their ideal demographic. If the team chose the Ontario moniker, would that dissuade you from going to their games whereas you would if they chose something like "Hamilton"?

Location would have more to do with it, actually. Getting to Hamilton would be easier for me then getting to the northern Toronto suburbs, where this proposed second GTA team would end up playing.

As far as naming goes, I'd be just as likely to go to a Toronto Fighting Mongooses game as I would an Ontario Fighting Mongooses game. Substituting "Ontario" for a city name wouldn't effect anything.

If Ontario is this blob composed of distinct, separate regions, wouldn't the sense of "Ontario-ness" be the one thing that connects them all?

The answer to this actually gets to one of the major problems I have with the idea of using "Ontario." I'll get to it while I respond to BrianLion's post.

Well the Leafs don't just have a hold on the hockey culture in Toronto. They have a hold on the hockey culture in southern Ontario up through Ottawa. The Senators haven't even de-Leafed Ottawa yet. So I'm rather skeptical that a second team in the GTA can manage to overcome the Leafs.

Using the name "Ontario" just wouldn't work. You say it would help them appeal to a market wider then the GTA, but the Leafs are already entrenched in that market despite using the "Toronto" moniker. You have small pockets of Red Wings fans, and even smaller pockets of Sabres fans here and there, but by and large all of southern Ontario is Leafs country. The "southern Ontario needs a second team" people make it sound like the hockey fans in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, and London are just begging for a team to call their own as they feel underrepresented by the Leafs, but I assure you that's simply not the case. Hamilton's got it supporters, but you're still talking about a vocal minority.

Which is why I would find it a bit patronizing to have this second GTA team use the "Ontario" moniker. I'm a hockey fan from Kitchener, living in London who can't afford Leafs tickets, who's tired of the Leafs missing the playoffs year in and year out. I am their ideal demographic. Yet I am not going to ditch the Leafs to cheer for a second team in the GTA just because they stuck the word "Ontario" onto their name in an attempt to appeal to some vague sense of southern-Ontario-that's-not-Toronto brand of regional pride. Take a look at Ontario on a map. It's a giant irregular blob that encompasses quite a few distinct, separate regions. Claiming a second team in the GTA can be "Ontario's team" is ridiculous.

Not sure I understand what you're getting at? You complain about "Ontario" being somehow too inclusive of an area and overreaching into other team's existing markets, but if anything just going with "Toronto" compounds that problem considering youre now using same name of a smaller geographic area.

And here's the answer.

I am not from Toronto, I have never lived in Toronto, or even the GTA for that matter. That being said, I have never felt like I've been "ignored" as a fan by the Toronto sports teams because they use the name Toronto. Toronto is the economic and cultural capital of southern Ontario. As a southern Ontarian I have no problem with the region's teams that play there using that city's name. It's insulting to think we're all simpletons who will only respond to a team that's marketed as "Ontario" rather then "Toronto." For the most part we're not so insecure that we'll reject a team if it's named after an important regional city instead of a giant, shapeless blob. The fact that the Leafs are beloved by the vast majority of the region's hockey fanbase is proof enough of that.

If a second team in southern Ontario is going to play in Toronto or the Toronto suburbs they should just go with Toronto. It's honest, in that it'll reflect the metropolitan area where they play, and it won't insult the intelligence of their prospective fanbase with a lame all-inclusive name.

State/Provincial/Regional names are nothing new. You have the Florida Panthers in the NHL even though Tampa Bay also has a team. California has had the Angels, Seals, and Warriors use state-wide monikers even though the state houses multiple other teams. Every team in Minnesota has always used the state moniker as opposed to a city, whether they played in Minneapolis, St, Paul or Bloomington.

I get teams in Minnesota using the state name because of the unique relationship between St. Paul and Minneapolis. I'm even ok with the Florida Panthers and Texas Rangers because the Florida panther and Texas Rangers are actually things.

Everything else, however, sounds terrible, in my opinion.

Canada's not exactly new to this trend either looking at the BC Lions, Manitoba Moose, etc.

Yes, but Canadian cases of province-wide names don't happen as much as state-wide names in the US. If I hear a new team in Dallas go with the name "Texas _______s" it sounds normal. Not ideal, perhaps, but it would sound normal. "Ontario ______s," on the other hand, just sounds weird. It rarely happens. Southern Ontario and northern Ontario are two completely different parts of the country. To suggest we're all united in one uber community is pretty silly.

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For the sake of argument, let's say that you are representative of their ideal demographic. If the team chose the Ontario moniker, would that dissuade you from going to their games whereas you would if they chose something like "Hamilton"?

Location would have more to do with it, actually. Getting to Hamilton would be easier for me then getting to the northern Toronto suburbs, where this proposed second GTA team would end up playing.

As far as naming goes, I'd be just as likely to go to a Toronto Fighting Mongooses game as I would an Ontario Fighting Mongooses game. Substituting "Ontario" for a city name wouldn't effect anything.

If Ontario is this blob composed of distinct, separate regions, wouldn't the sense of "Ontario-ness" be the one thing that connects them all?

The answer to this actually gets to one of the major problems I have with the idea of using "Ontario." I'll get to it while I respond to BrianLion's post.

[-snip-]

And here's the answer.

I am not from Toronto, I have never lived in Toronto, or even the GTA for that matter. That being said, I have never felt like I've been "ignored" as a fan by the Toronto sports teams because they use the name Toronto. Toronto is the economic and cultural capital of southern Ontario. As a southern Ontarian I have no problem with the region's teams that play there using that city's name. It's insulting to think we're all simpletons who will only respond to a team that's marketed as "Ontario" rather then "Toronto." For the most part we're not so insecure that we'll reject a team if it's named after an important regional city instead of a giant, shapeless blob. The fact that the Leafs are beloved by the vast majority of the region's hockey fanbase is proof enough of that.

If a second team in southern Ontario is going to play in Toronto or the Toronto suburbs they should just go with Toronto. It's honest, in that it'll reflect the metropolitan area where they play, and it won't insult the intelligence of their prospective fanbase with a lame all-inclusive name.

I think it's a big jump to say that if a second team chooses "Ontario" as it's regional moniker it's done because otherwise potential fans won't jump on board because it's "still Toronto". From what you've said, Ontarians of all kinds have no insecurities about rooting for a team titled "Toronto" despite not having any connection to the city or the GTA as a whole. Amply evidenced by the sheer quantity of Leafs fans everywhere. But given that, why would Ontarians feel insulted or patronized by a team not playing in Toronto using "Ontario" for their regional moniker? It's no less true than if the team picked "Toronto".

If the regional name has no effect on the potential fanbase, I fail to see why picking "Ontario" is a categorically bad idea (outside of thinking the name Ontario [nicknames] always sounds bad).

Ninja edit: I suppose the crux of your argument is if the team picked "Ontario" it implies that hockey fans who do not identify with the GTA aren't being represented by the Leafs. I think that may be reading between the lines a bit too much, but I think understand the argument.

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I like the name Rogues. It can appeal to the "rogue" fans who don't want to follow the Leafs.

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