Vegas owner Bill Foley strayed away from naming the team Black Knights because of difficulties getting the go-ahead to have the team borrow its name from U.S. Army’s NCAA squads. However, it turns out Foley hasn’t entirely avoided any potential naming conflict with the U.S. Army by going with Golden Knights.
The Fayetteville Observer’s Steve DeVane reported Monday that after hearing the name of the newest NHL franchise, the U.S. Army has decided to take a closer look. Reason being is that the U.S. Army Parachute Team, one of the most decorated in the world, also goes by Golden Knights and has since the 1960s.
Asked about the name, Army spokesperson Alison Bettencourt said they are “reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be.”
"We understand that one of the Las Vegas team owners has Army connections, and will likely understand our interest in this announcement is meant to protect the proud history of the Army's Golden Knights and their vital role in telling the Army story and connecting America with their Army," Bettencourt said.
It was those same “Army connections” that made Foley so enamoured with the Knights-centric name to begin with, though.
The Black Knights name was so appealing to Foley because he is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which, as mentioned, uses the Black Knights moniker for its teams. Foley’s love for ‘Black Knights’ was no secret at all, either, and his interest in the name was understood almost from the moment the franchise was awarded.
Foley is well aware of the Golden Knights connection, too, as DeVane pointed out Foley had previously commented to the Las Vegas Journal-Review that he wanted the parachute team to drop in for the naming ceremony but “it got kind of complicated.”
In a release following the naming of the team, Foley said the moniker was one that embodied Las Vegas and the team’s mission, and a meaningful connection was drawn between Nevada’s gold production and the use of ‘Golden’ in the team name.
ESPN’s Scott Burnside also reported that the team and league got permission from Clarkson College, which also has its athletics programs go by Golden Knights, to use the name for the expansion team.
It’s unknown what exactly this will mean for the team name going forward or whether the Army will proceed further with trying to get Foley and Co. to change the name of the league’s 31st franchise. If it gets that far, though, Foley might be happy that he want ahead and trademarked Desert Knights and Silver Knights when he did.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Get 10 issues of The Hockey News magazine for just $15.99!