From Commercialism to Embarrassment: The Five Worst Arena Names in NHL History

Josh LewisSenior Analyst IJuly 25, 2008

As promised a while back, it's time to rank the NHL's five worst arena names of all-time.

Some of these are borne from obsessive commercialism, while others are simply awkward or embarrassing. You'll see what I mean.

I didn't go after places like the Air Canada Centre or the Bell Centre, because those names actually sound fairly good, even though it's a disgrace that they have taken the place of Maple Leaf Gardens and the Montreal Forum.

5. Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena

Carolina Hurricanes, 1999-2002

Okay, so there's nothing embarrassing about this name and it's actually a refreshing change from the advertising cash cow that has plagued sports arenas. But it's simply too generic. A name like this is good for a local multipurpose rink with an ice surface, bowling alley, etc. But for an arena that hosts a professional sports franchise, it's a wee bit obscure.

It's too bad the rink's ownership gave in to the corporate craze, but RBC Center does sound better.

4. Shawmut Center

Boston Bruins, 1995

If you're anything like me, your first thoughts are, "What the hell is Shawmut? And why does it sound so dirty?" Well, there's an incredibly stupid story behind it.

In 1995, when the new arena was being built to replace the Boston Garden, two banks engaged in a bidding war for the naming rights_Shawmut Bank of Boston and Fleet Bank of Providence. Shawmut won the day, and slowly the Shawmut brand was spread throughout the rink, including on every seat.

At the same time, Shawmut and Fleet had been conducting secret merger talks. But they forgot to notify their marketing departments. When the merger took place, the Shawmut name was dropped. The new Fleet Bank had been bidding against itself! Every single seat in the arena had to be replaced on short notice, and the interior colour scheme had to be adjusted.

3. National Car Rental Center

Florida Panthers, 1998-2002

This is a case of commercialism gone way too far. If I want to rent a car, I have to go to this place in Sunrise, Fla., right? What? Oh, you mean someone plays hockey here? If that's the case, why the hell are you calling it a car rental center?

2. Gaylord Entertainment Center

Nashville Predators, 1999-2007

It's bad enough that they named the place Gaylord, but then to add the word "entertainment" to that? And to keep that incredibly $@%#*&-up sequence of words for over eight years?

I don't even want to penetrate the inner depths of this one.

1. Arena

Phoenix Coyotes, 2006-present

If you're going to include a freaking website in the name of a sports arena, it better be one that's easily recognizable. Does anyone here know what is? It turns out to be a job site. Okay, so I probably could have figured that out without looking it up.

But this name is far too obscure for a pro sports arena, not to mention it sounds awful. And someone obviously didn't get past grade four English, because it's spelled Jobbing! Double the last consonant before the suffix! Is it really that hard to remember?


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