Renaming the Whalers

Now that it has been announced that the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers are heading to Flint for next season (pending OHL Board of Governor approval next month) talk as turned to what will the new team be called?

Those not in the Flint area find themselves to be hilarious with names like the Flint Tropics and Flint Stones. Yes, because the team wants to start off as a joke. There are enough jokes about Flint the team will have to deal with, why go further down that road.

Now, Ken Campbell from The Hockey News did suggest Flint Hurricanes and his reasoning behind it would make any hockey fan giggle:

There have been a lot of proposed names bandied about for Flint’s new Ontario League team that will hit the ice next season. I’m kind of partial to Hurricanes. After all, that’s what the team was named the last time Peter Karmanos played a key role in a city losing its Whalers.

Well played.

Again, someone not from the Flint area and it is a joke.

Being a Flint native and still living in the Flint area myself I took up the discussion on Twitter with two others Adam Biggers (@AdamBiggers81) whom writes for Bleacher Report and hockey lifer Savi Sr. (@SavMoney1point0).

Here are some of the names we came up with:

Flint Phoenix
Flint Toxic Walleye
Flint Assembly
Vehicle City Assembly
Flint Arrows
Flint Hatchet men
Flint Union Jacks
Flint Masons
Flint Transmission
Flint Union
Flint Vikings
Flint Fuel
Flint Fire
Flint Fight
Flint Turbo
Flint Diesel
Flint Firebirds
Flint Bishops
Flint Oilers
Flint Grizzlies
Flint Timber
Flint Bandits
Flint War Machines
Flint Freedom
Flint Twisters
Flint Barons
Flint Ignition
Flint Bucks
Flint Tradesmen
Flint Flyers
Flint Strikers
Flint Railroaders
Flint Horsepower
Flint Revolution

And of course keeping it as the Flint Whalers.

Most of these names have to do with the history of Flint itself. While Detroit to the south is the Motor City Flint is the Vehicle City. General Motors was headquartered in Flint before Detroit; and at one point all Buicks and Chevrolets were built in Flint (during WW2 the factories made tanks). The Sit-Down Strike took place in Flint from 1936-37 leading to the era of labor unions.

Flint started as a settlement along the Saginaw Trail that connected Detroit to Saginaw and just like the bookend cities for the trail fell upon hard times, especially with the recent recession which started in the 1980’s here at factories started to close up and were demolished after NAFTA was signed, hitting the Michigan manufacturing base hard.

Flint’s motto is “Strong, Proud” and while many are knocking the move from Plymouth and many find any reason to crack a joke about Michigan’s hard times those here will keep going. This area was built on strength and pride; and that will keep it pushing towards recovery.