As I was recently explaining, for the gazillionth time why Komets is spelled with a K -- it was because one of the original owners, Ernie Berg, wanted to honor his wife, Kathryn -- I got to thinking about all six of the team nicknames in the International Hockey League.
I don't mean particular offense to anyone, but on the whole, they're pretty lame.
We've got the Kalamazoo Wings, which is pretty bland and, in a state with the Detroit Red Wings, not very original. There's the Flint Generals, which isn't a disagreeable name but is kind of bland.
The Port Huron Icehawks is copycat -- remember the Adirondack IceHawks? -- and frankly anytime you have to put "ice" in the name, I get kind of nauseas. It's hockey. Ice is implied. That's why names like the Rockford IceHogs and Austin Ice Bats always turned me off. Why couldn't it have just been the Austin Bats?
Moving on, the Muskegon Fury's name is bad in a number of respects . It's been done before -- Fort Wayne Fury basketball team, Ottawa Fury soccer -- and I don't care who started it because it's a singular name and that's almost always bad. It gets your fans speaking incorrectly, saying things like, "They played great tonight," when it should really be, "It played great tonight." And how Fury begets a cyclone logo is a stretch.
The Komets' name has a lot of history behind it, with the team going back to 1952, so it kind of gets a pass on being common in origin. But it's so darn confusing to people who don't know; they either think it's misspelled or just plain strange.
Which leaves me with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder. On a number of levels, it's bad. Many don't know if the nickname is Thunder and the origin is Bloomington Prairie or if, correctly, the team hails from Bloomington, Ill., and is named the Prairie Thunder. And it's singular. But it does have a decent origin, referring to the long railroad history in the area.
So, pressed to rank the nicknames:
1) Komets: Weird but historic. No. 1 here by default.
2) Generals: Says toughness and excitement. Simple but good.
3) Prairie Thunder: Confusing but unique.
4) Wings: Bland but OK.
5) Icehawks: Is this an actual species? Google said no.
6) Fury: Muskegon should have stuck with Mohawks.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette