After eight years as the Comets, the Vancouver Canucks' AHL affiliate will have a new name next season.
The Canucks are moving their AHL team to Abbotsford for the 2021-22 season, where they'll play in the Pacific Division. The close proximity to Vancouver will make it easier for the Canucks to call up players from the AHL and also for Canucks leadership to get out to games and see their prospects in person.
There's just one problem: they don't have a name.
The Canucks won't be taking the Comets name and logo to Abbotsford. Instead, they'll be choosing a new name and logo, designing a new brand from the ground up. Thanks to an email sent to Abbotsford season ticket holders, we now have a list of names that the Canucks are considering.
Here are the ten options sent to season ticket holders, with the request that they rank their top three names.
- Golden Eagles
According to CHEK TV's Rick Dhaliwal, it's also up in the air whether the team will be named Abbotsford or Fraser Valley.
Several of the options draw on the history of aviation in Abbotsford, which has famously hosted an annual air show since 1962. "Aces" refers to a flying ace, "Aeros" has an obvious aviation connection and harkens back to the Houston Aeros of the WHA and AHL, and "Aviators" and "Pilots" are even more on the nose. The Pilots are already a Junior B team in Abbotsford.
The Avenger was a famous bomber used in World War II, so there's an aviation connection there as well.
Other names don't have the same connection. They could just make the branding the same as the parent team, naming them the Abbotsford Canucks or Fraser Valley Canucks. The benefit there would be doing something different or unique with the logo that they couldn't (or wouldn't) do in Vancouver. Many people have asked for a Canucks jersey with Johnny Canuck as the main logo — this would be an opportunity to make that happen.
Likewise, using the "Millionaires" name would allow the Canucks to use the Vancouver Millionaires logo and branding that they own, which has already proven popular among Canucks fans.
The "Golden Eagles" name is a little more cynical. The Aquilini family, owners of the Canucks, also owns the Golden Eagle Group. This land holding includes golf courses, a nursery, and extensive amounts of real estate. They also own and operate Golden Eagle Farms, including the Golden Eagle blueberry farm in Pitt Meadows that came under fire in recent years for poor working conditions for immigrant workers.
For fans that already see the Canucks' orca as a "corporate" logo — the Canucks were owned by Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment at the time it was introduced — "Golden Eagles" would be an even more corporate choice.
There are two other animal names up for contention, however: "Sockeyes" and "Falcons."
Abbotsford does host a salmon hatchery, so the "Sockeyes" name could make sense, though the hatchery raises coho salmon, not sockeye salmon. Still, sockeye salmon are quintessentially B.C.
Finally, there's "Falcons," which has traditionally been associated with football in Abbotsford. If they went with Fraser Valley Falcons, however, there would be some nifty alliteration and avoid being confused for the Abbotsford Falcons football team.
Falcons have been in the news in Abbotsford in recent months, as local conservationists campaigned to save a peregrine falcon nest from work at an Abbotsford gravel quarry.