Possible Seattle NHL Team Names: Evergreens? Kraken?

Seattle doesn’t even have a National Hockey League team yet – they were invited to apply for an expansion franchise on December 7 – but that hasn’t stopped speculation on what the league’s 32nd team might be named.

As I did before the Vegas Golden Knights’ name was announced, I’ve been keeping an eye on domain registrations.  Most of the names that have come up over the last several weeks have been purchased by people who are known domain speculators, meaning they don’t tell us much about the direction any future ownership group might be heading.  Yesterday, however, an interesting batch of domains were registered.

By my count, 38 domains representing 13 different possible names were registered under the name of Christina Song.  Ms. Song, according to her LinkedIn profile, is General Counsel at Oak View Group, who won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s Key Arena on December 4.  The domains were registered via an email address for a lawyer at Gibson Dunn.  That firm assisted Oak View Group in the Key Arena bid process.

Does this mean that one of the 13 names is certain to take the ice for the NHL’s 2020-21 season?  No.  The franchise hasn’t even been applied for yet.  The ownership group hasn’t even been formed (though names that might be involved have been tossed around).  There is the distinct possibility that this is nothing.

That said, someone so close to the process applying for so many related domains is worth noting.  As such, here are the 13 possibilities:

Seattle Cougars
Seattle Eagles
Seattle Emeralds
Seattle Evergreens
Seattle Firebirds
Seattle Kraken
Seattle Rainiers
Seattle Renegades
Seattle Sea Lions
Seattle Seals
Seattle Sockeyes
Seattle Totems
Seattle Whales

It’s an interesting list with a lot of nicknames we’ve seen before.

The Seattle Totems were a WHL and CHL team that expected to jump to the NHL in 1976 but failed due to ownership issues.  The Seattle Rainiers, meanwhile, were a minor league baseball team that ceased operations to make room for the Seattle Mariners.

Seals was previously used for the NHL’s failed Oakland franchise, while Eagles was the name the original Ottawa Senators went by when they relocated to St. Louis for their final season.  Cougars was the original name of the Detroit Red Wings franchise, chosen in honor of the Victoria Cougars, from whom much of their roster was purchased.

Additionally, Firebirds is currently used by the OHL’s Flint team.  Last year we saw the Vegas organization claim that the OHL’s London Knights blocked them from being the “Las Vegas Knights” (a name that they later conceded was never really an option), so the recent history of a potential NHL team using an OHL name is messy.

All of that said, registering this block of domains would cost about $400, so it’s not exactly breaking the bank for a group that’s investing $600 million renovating an arena.  They could do this just to keep their options open.  It is curious, though.


Update, 4:15 PM: There’s been an interesting twist in this story, as sometime after I checked the Whois records – which show domain ownership, among other things – for the 38 domains, they were all switched to proxy registrations, removing the true registrant from the record.

For the record, both of my rounds of Whois checks (this morning around 8:30 AM  and this afternoon) were through the ICANN website.  All of the domains show as having been registered yesterday for two years.

The following is the full list of 38 domains:

seattle-cougars.com
seattlecougarshockey.com
seattleeagles.com
seattle-eagles.com
seattleeagleshockey.com
emeraldshockey.com
seattle-emeralds.com
seattleemeraldshockey.com
evergreenshockey.com
seattleevergreens.com
seattle-evergreens.com
seattleevergreenshockey.com
firebirdshockey.com
seattlefirebirds.com
seattle-firebirds.com
seattlefirebirdshockey.com
seattle-kraken.com
seattlekrakenhockey.com
rainiershockey.com
seattle-rainiers.com
seattlerainiershockey.com
seattlerenegades.com
seattle-renegades.com
seattlerenegadeshockey.com
sealionshockey.com
seattle-sealions.com
seattle-sea-lions.com
seattlesealionshockey.com
seattleseals.com
seattle-seals.com
seattlesealshockey.com
seattle-sockeyes.com
seattlesockeyeshockey.com
seattle-totems.com
whaleshockey.com
seattlewhales.com
seattle-whales.com
seattlewhaleshockey.com


Update, 1/20/2018 9:10 AM: Has a new contender emerged?  It’s an extremely tenuous connection so take it with a grain of salt, but on Friday domains related to the name “Seattle Sasquatch” were registered.

The domains were registered privately through GoDaddy, as all of Thursday’s domains now are.  They were registered for two years, like the original batch of domains.  They also fit the naming convention of the original batch, seattlesasquatchhockey.com and seattle-sasquatch.com.

This could very easily be a domain speculator following the format we published yesterday, so it’s probably nothing.  It’s just similar enough to the original set, though, that I thought it was worth a mention.

In all likelihood, any future domain registrations from this organization will be private, so we won’t be able to definitively tell anything from them.  We’ll keep looking, though.

Las Vegas Name Thoughts

I’ve been letting Las Vegas owner Bill Foley’s interview with NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika roll around in my head for the last 24 hours or so but my initial thought is still the one I think is most valid.

Either Foley is diabolically sneaky or he just thinks he’s smarter than he actually is.  Right now I lean towards the latter.

He also admitted he had included fakes as a misdirection ploy.

“I have,” he said with a laugh over the phone. “I think it’s irritating a few people.”

Was there anyone who didn’t think some of these names were intended as misdirection?  I mean, they trademarked three names and registered domains for more.  They can’t be using all of them.

I don’t think anyone is reporting on this and saying “this is the name.”  So far it’s simply been a matter of finding more pieces of the puzzle and trying to put it together.

What I question at this point is how much we can believe what Foley himself says.  On one hand, he’s trying to keep the name secret.  On the other hand, he wouldn’t outright lie to the media that is going to be covering his team in the near future, would he?

For now, here are the pieces of the puzzle as we know them.

Nighthawks, Red Hawks, Desert Hawks, Sand Knights
Black Knight IP Holdings owns domains for these.  Various denials have been made about whether or not they’ll be used.

Golden Knights
Black Knight has the trademark for this but no domains.

Silver Knights, Desert Knights
Black Knight has the trademark for these and the domains are held privately.  Foley confirmed that he registered Desert Knights and Murray Craven said that the group registered Silver Knights.  That said, I’ve since confirmed independently that the privately-registered Silver Knights domains are not held by Black Knight.

While this would seem to mean that Desert Knights is the only name that Foley both owns the trademark and the domains for, there could be another name (or multiple names) out there we haven’t found yet.  Or more filings could be coming.  Or some other information could be revealed.

Those of us interested in such things will keep digging into it.  Maybe we’ll find misdirection, maybe we’ll find truth.  We’ll see.

Another New Las Vegas Name Emerges: Sand Knights

I missed one.

As I was engaging in “educated speculation” on the possibility of Las Vegas Desert Knights being the new NHL team name last week, I acknowledged that I could have missed a domain registration related to the team, and it turns out that I did.

On Saturday, a handful of domains containing the name Las Vegas Sand Knights were registered privately through a variety of registrars.  The name sounds ridiculous enough that I initially didn’t think much of it, but just to be sure I poked around a little bit.

It turns out that sandknights.com was registered publicly to Black Knight IP Holding Company, LLC – one of Las Vegas team owner Bill Foley’s companies – on August 23.

This definitely muddles things, as the domain was registered on the same day that trademarks were filed for Desert Knights, Silver Knights, and Golden Knights.

The big question is why Black Knight would trademark three names at the same time as registering the domain for a name they did not trademark.  Additionally, why would they register the Desert Knights domains privately and then turn around and register sandknights.com publicly?

On top of that, no domains other than sandknights.com related to that name are registered publicly to Black Knight.  Related private registrations include lasvegassandknights.com, lvsandknights.com, and vegassandknights.com.

Foley has already stated that the backup plan is Las Vegas Nighthawks.  We’re at a point in the process where we should be seeing fewer names as options, not more.

It could be that this is just misdirection on behalf of the Las Vegas organization.  It could be that everything up until this has been misdirection.  I don’t know.

So Las Vegas Sand Knights emerges as a possibility but it might raise more questions than answers.

Trademarks Filed for Las Vegas Desert Knights, Silver Knights, Golden Knights

Just hours after the owner of the NHL’s coming expansion team in Las Vegas, Bill Foley, confirmed to Amber Dixon of NBC Las Vegas that his organization was the one who had registered domains related to the name “Las Vegas Desert Knights” – a name that I first speculated on earlier this week – three trademarks filed by his organization were published to the United States Patent and Trademark Office Database.

On August 23, Black Knight Sports and Entertainment – Foley’s company – registered Las Vegas Desert Knights, Las Vegas Silver Knights, and Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Variants where “Las Vegas” is replaced by “Vegas” were also registered.

It’s worth noting that Foley’s organization does not seem to own any domains related to the Golden Knights name.

The Las Vegas organization had previously stated that they owned domains and trademarks related to Las Vegas Silver Knights.  The Silver Knights domains were registered privately in April – possibly by Black Knight Sports and Entertainment – but we now know that they did not own the trademarks at that time.

On August 11, Foley said that – in addition to three Hawk-related names – two more names had yet to be filed.  Desert Knights is the only name with domain registered since that date.


Update (8:25 AM): It might be worth noting that, while lasvegasdesertknights.com and lasvegasnighthawks.com (for example) do not have DNS properly configured to deliver an actual site, lasvegassilverknights.com currently redirects to a “For Sale” page.

I never thought the timeline on the Silver Knights domains made sense, as those were privately registered in April, then the Hawks-related domains were publicly registered in July.  Why go private, then back to public, then private again (for the Desert Knights domains)?

I think that Foley doesn’t actually own the Silver Knights domain (remember, he said he owned the trademark earlier this month when it clearly wasn’t filed until this week).  That would make Desert Knights the only name that he owns both the trademark and the domain for.

Let me be clear, that part is just my speculation based on lasvegassilverknights.com acting differently from the other Foley-owned domains.

New Las Vegas Team: Desert Knights?

Since stumbling onto one of the possible names for Las Vegas’ new NHL team – the Las Vegas Nighthawks – I’ve been looking out for other interesting domain registrations that could be tied to the team.

At the time, team owner Bill Foley confirmed that Nighthawks – as well as Red Hawks and Desert Hawks – had been registered by the team and that more registrations were coming. He’s since clarified that Nighthawks is the backup name and that another identity has been chosen, one that also includes the word “knight” or “night.”

Last Thursday, a trio of domains were registered that piqued my interest, containing a new name that hadn’t been mentioned before.

Las Vegas Desert Knights.

Unlike the registrations for the Nighthawks, Red Hawks, and Desert Hawks domain names; lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com, and desertknightshockey.com were private registrations. That means that there’s nothing directly tying them to the Las Vegas organization. The team did not respond to a request for comment.

Why do I think this might be the name, then?

The domains are registered through Moniker Privacy Services. While the fact that anyone can use that service means I don’t know for certain that they belong to Foley, Moniker just happens to be the registrar through whom NHL.com is registered. Hardly conclusive but an intereresting coincidence.

More importantly, Foley said that further registrations were coming and this set of domain names is the only one I’ve seen that hits the intersection of hockey, Las Vegas, contains the word (k)night, and is not obviously a domain speculator.

We know the team name has been decided on. It would be bad business for them to not register related domains, as leaks become more likely with more people in the know. They’d be setting themselves up to have the domains snatched out from under them.

It’s possible that this is a domain speculator and either the actual name hasn’t been registered yet or I’ve missed it. I just think it’s more likely that Las Vegas Desert Knights is the new team name. Call this educated speculation.

S/T to Jenny Jensen for noticing that NHL.com also uses Moniker.


Update (8/26, 9:40 PM): Per Amber Dixon of NBC Las Vegas, Bill Foley has confirmed that he purchased the Desert Knights domains.

It’s important to note that while he confirmed the purchase of the domains, he did not confirm that Desert Knights will be the team name.  That said, it’s getting to be very late in the game for registering contingency domains.

On Las Vegas’ NHL Team Name: Nighthawks?

I was chatting this morning with SportsLogos.Net founder Chris Creamer, spit-balling ideas about the name of the NHL’s Las Vegas expansion franchise, when I stumbled onto something interesting.

On Tuesday, team owner Bill Foley was on Sportsbook Radio and SI (among others) picked it up.

But the name is going to have … Knights somewhere in some fashion, some way. Or, there’s one particular animal, a bird, that we have available to us that we might use.

I ignored it when it first came across my Twitter feed.  Frankly, I didn’t care that much.  This morning, though, I started thinking about it and ran down Wikipedia’s list of birds native to Nevada.

Some of names just don’t make any sense for a hockey team to use.  The Las Vegas Trumpeter Swans?  Las Vegas Wood Storks?  No thanks.

Las Vegas Goldeneyes?  Maybe in the 1990s (looking at you, Toronto Raptors).  Las Vegas Canvasbacks?  Hrm.

Las Vegas Nighthawks?

That’s a little too perfect.  A bird native to the state.  The nickname of the F-117, which was tested at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.  A word for a person up late at night, something Las Vegas is known for.

So I checked to see if the domain lasvegasnighthawks.com was available, thinking that I might squat on it if it was, just in case.  It turned out that it wasn’t available.  In fact, it was registered to Black Knight IP Holding Company, LLC, one of the many realms of Foley’s empire.

Domains aren’t any kind of be-all, end-all – anyone can register one for whatever reason – but it does seem to show that Foley’s organization was thinking about Nighthawks.  Creamer’s further research found a small handful of other names that the team might have been considering.  It seems as though no trademarks have been filed, so they can always switch direction.

That said…  Foley said a bird that also includes (k)night in its name?  Nighthawks seems to be a perfect fit.


Update, 10:45 PM: I was on KLAS in Las Vegas tonight to talk about this.  They confirmed that Nighthawks, Red Hawks, and Desert Hawks have all been trademarked and that two other names are pending.


Update, 8/12/2016 – 3:45 PM: I’ve already discussed this on Twitter but, for the sake of completeness, I figured I’d circle back to this post.

For whatever reason, it would appear the names we found are now off the table.