NHL Clubs: What's in a Name?

AndrewCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2008

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

—Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2), William Shakespeare.


It's really interesting how you don't really notice something until someone points it out, eh? Like how Torontonians pronounce the word Toronto: "To-ron-no."

So today I wore my Leafs jersey to school again (read my previous article "Leafs Nation in Chile: To Be or Not to Be?" for a better understanding), and one of my peers came up to me and just started staring.



"Your shirt...it say wrong."


"Your shirt say Leafs, but it be Leaves no?"

"Yeah...I guess."

I decided to look into the names of other NHL clubs and see what I found.


Toronto Maple Leafs

Like I stated before, it makes sense for them to be "Leafs" because of the patriotism, but the misspelling of "Leafs" is what drives me crazy. So next time you're at a Leafs game and the guy beside you is yelling "GO LEAFS GO!" you probably want to give him a quick English lesson.


Pittsburgh Penguins

I really don't have a single clue as to why they are called the "Penguins." Even if Pittsburgh is extremely cold, penguins live in the southern part of the globe, therefore making it impossible for penguins to live there. If it's just because "Penguins" begins with the letter "P" like in "Pittsburgh," then couldn't they at least think of a better name?


Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens

I understand the Canadian part, but after searching the word "canuck" in multiple online dictionaries, it turns out that it specifically refers to French Canadians. As we all know, Vancouver is the major city farthest away from Quebec (excluding Victoria, but that's also in BC). So it's kind of odd that its name would mean French Canadian.

I decided to include the Canadiens here because it kind of corresponds with the Canucks. The translation of the word "Canadien" means Canadian, but not specifically French Canadian. How about if the teams switched names? They could be the Vancouver Canadiens and the Montreal Canucks. Well, maybe Vancouver can just be the Vancouver Canadians (no more French).


Philadelphia Flyers

I'd be very happy if someone could explain this one to me. I'm not quite sure why they picked the name "Flyers," but I'm sure it was for a reason. What I'm really trying to figure out is what they mean by "Flyers." Do they mean flying objects, or the flyers we pull down when we need to use the restrooms (well, for men)? Or perhaps they just said, "Hey, we should totally be named the Flyers, that would be so cool."


Boston Bruins

First off, what is a bruin? Is it a thing? Is it a type of power? Well, it turns out a bruin is a bear. So what does a bear have to do with the Boston Bruins? That's the exact question I asked myself today. The Boston Bruins were the Bruins since they were part of the original six, so the reason for this name probably dates back to way back then.

There were a couple of other names like the "Nashville Predators." But come on, "Predators" works for any team. Whether there are the "Toronto Predators" or the "Florida Predators," they don't really require a reason to be named the "Predators."