An Abitibi Eskimo by any other name would be a …?
Fans of Timmins’ new Junior ‘A’ hockey team are dying to learn the answer to that question.
We likely won’t find out for sure until near the end of the month, but we do have a pretty good idea of three names that are likely out of consideration.
When it was announced in February that the Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League franchise was moving from the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls to McIntyre Arena in Timmins for the start of the 2015-16 season, president Scott Marshall indicated the team will likely not be known as the Eskimos, Golden Bears or North Stars.
Eskimos, of course, is the current name being used by the team as it battles the Cochrane Crunch in their NOJHL East Division best-of-seven semifinal series.
Golden Bears was the name used by the team from the 1991-92 season until it departed for Iroquois Falls following the 1998-99 campaign.
And North Stars is the name being used by a number of Timmins Minor Hockey Association squads.
Even with eliminating those three options, the team’s board of directors would seem to have an endless number of possibilities to consider.
Given that Timmins starts with the letter T, there is a school of thought that the name chosen should start with the letter T, as well.
For inspiration, we did a quick check of college and university names on the Internet.
Here — in no particular order — are the Top 10 possibilities that popped up:
Tigers, Timberwolves, Titans, Tomcats, Tornadoes, Toros, Trailblazers, Trappers, Twain, Twins.
Okay, okay, Twain (as in Shania Twain) is not the nickname of a college team, but I could only find nine that would make any sense.
There were, of course, some that just wouldn’t work at all, such as Tarheals (unless oil is discovered in Timmins), Terriers (too confusing with a team by that name in the MJHL), Texans (we are a little too far north for that to work), Thunderbirds (already in use in Sault Ste. Marie), Trolls (would you support a team called the Trolls?) and the Terrible Swedes.
No, I did not make that last one up. That is the team name of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.
You might argue that Trappers should not have made the Top 10 list of names starting with T, either, since it was formerly used by the North Bay NOJHL franchise and is still in use by the Great North Midget League franchise in that city, as well as numerous minor hockey squads.
We have also excluded names such as the Teepees and the Tomahawks, in case they would be offensive to our First Nation friends.
When it comes down to it though, is there really any logic to suggest the name needs to start with a T?
Only two of the NOJHL’s nine current franchises — the Cochrane Crunch and the Blind River Beavers — have team names that start with the same letter as the name of their community.
The Soo Thunderbirds, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Elliot Lake Wildcats, Sudbury Nickel Barons, Powassan Voodoos — and the Eskimos — have not suffered any ill effects from not following that tradition.
Given our community’s rich mining history, how about a name associated with that industry.
Gold Miners would have been nice, but that name has already been taken by the folks down the highway in Kirkland Lake.
Sure, the Canadian Football League used to have a Roughriders in Saskatchewan and Rough Riders in Ottawa but having Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake and Goldminers in Timmins might be a little bit too confusing.
Besides, I really don’t want to have to write a headline about the Goldminers beating the Gold Miners.
There have to be other options, don’t there.
How about the Timmins Shaftmen, the Timmins Headframes, the Timmins Jackleg Drills, the Timmins Veins, or the Timmins Ore.
I know, I know that last one would have people asking or what?
Once upon a time … many, many years ago … the forestry industry flourished in the Timmins area.
How about the Timmins Foresters, the Timmins Loggers, the Timmins Timbermen, the Timmins Lumbermen, the Timmins Axemen, the Timmins Saws, or the Timmins Mills.
The team could even consider something associated with the tourism industry, such as the Timmins Guides, the Timmins Anglers, the Timmins Fishermen, the Timmins Walleye, or the Timmins Hunters.
Animal species native to the Timmins area could also provide a source of inspiration.
How about the Timmins Porcupines, Timmins Black Bears, the Timmins Moose, the Timmins Lynx, the Timmins Wolves, Timmins Wolverines, or the Timmins Foxes.
Or maybe our feathered friends might be able to help the team take flight.
Some options might include the Timmins Owls, the Timmins Blue Jays, the Timmins Whiskey Jacks, the Timmins Hawks, the Timmins Eagles, the Timmins Ducks, the Timmins Geese or the Timmins Sea Gulls.
Given our extreme winters, perhaps it might be appropriate to name the team the Timmins Snowstorm, Timmins Blizzard, Timmins Wind Chill, Timmins Snowmen, Timmins Snowdrift, Timmins Snowbanks, Timmins Snowflakes or Timmins Winters.
Maybe team executives should look to other junior hockey leagues to find their identity.
In the Ontario Hockey League, for example, you would find the Colts, Bulls, Otters, Storm, Frontenacs, Rangers, Knights, Steelheads, Ice Dogs, Battalion, Generals, 67’s, Attack, Petes, Whalers, Spirit, Sting, Greyhounds, Wolves and Spitfires.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League options would include the Titan, Armada, Islanders, Voltigeurs, Moosehead, Remparts, Huskies, Cataractes, Foreurs, Drakkar, Screaming Eagles, Sagueneens, Olympiques, Wildcats, Oceanic, Sea Dogs, Phoenix and Tigres.
Western Hockey League possibilities would include the Wheat Kings, Hitmen, Oil Kings, Ice, Hurricanes, Tigers, Warriors, Raiders, Rebels, Pats, Blades, Broncos, Silvertips, Blazers, Rockets, Winterhawks, Cougars, Thunderbirds, Chiefs, Americans, Giants and Royals.
The Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League includes teams named Tigers, Jr. Sabres, Cougars (two teams), Raiders, Red Wings, Voyageurs, Muskies, Icehawks, Chargers, Hurricanes, Rangers, Blades, Flyers, Panthers, Buzzers, Spirit, Jr. Canadiens, Patriots, Golden Hawks, Dukes and Fury.
And that folks is just the tip of the iceberg … of wait, how about the Timmins Icebergs?
If you visit our website — www.timminspress.com — you will find a poll with our Top 10 possibilities.
You can cast your ballot, or email us a suggestion we might have overlooked at firstname.lastname@example.org.