From the original 6, New York Rangers, to the trailer park dynasty, Sunnyvale Samsquanches, there’s always a story behind a team name & crest.
A team’s name and logo are central to a hockey squad’s identity. Some teams want to project a scary image, while others want to disarm their opponents with humour.
This week I and my fellow jersey junkies at Keener Jerseys show you just how creative you can be with your custom team jerseys by highlighting our favourite rec league hockey sweaters. We’ll take a look at how teams come up with their names, and how that can inspire some seriously unique team logos.
Why New York & Nashville Did what they did
Naming a team is a creative process that often defies all logic. Sometimes the inspiration for a team name is obvious, like the Washington Capitals (HINT: they play in their nation’s capital), while other times a team’s name and logo can result from a series of loose connections and verbal acrobatics.
Take the New York Rangers, for example. That team was formed in 1926 by George Lewis “Tex” Rickard after he saw how successful the New York Americans were at the box office in their inaugural NHL season. The New York media dubbed the new club “Tex’s Rangers” — a play on the law enforcement agency that operates in the state of Texas, the Texas Rangers. And the name stuck.
Gnash, Nashville’s mascot, having some fun on a quad during a game.
Then there’s the Nashville Predators.
Nashville is known as the country music capital of the world, so you’d expect that their team name and logo would reflect that. Instead, the franchise chose for its logo a sabre-toothed tiger.
In 1971, while excavating to lay the foundation for an office building in downtown Nashville, construction workers stumbled upon a number of human and animal bones, including the fang of a sabre-toothed tiger. It remains one of the only sabre-toothed tiger discoveries in North America and has become a part of the Music City’s identity. As a result, the sabre-toothed tiger was adopted as the Nashville team’s logo in 1999, with the Predator’s name to go with it.
Top 10 beer league team names
While NHL team names often have interesting backstories, the same is true for a beer league team. One of the best things about being a hockey jersey designer is bringing our customer’s visions to life. We’ve had a lot of weird, fun, and creative team names and logos pass through our establishment over the years.
Here’s our list of the top 10 beer league team names and their logos.
Bubbles, Ricky, and Julian from the Trailer Park Boys suiting up for a game with Forsberg.
1. Nashville No-Dekes
Turns out the Predators aren’t the only hockey team with an interesting name in Nashville. Our pals, the Nashville No-Dekes came to us with this fantastic spin on the old Quebec Nordiques. Their punny team name adheres to the long beer league tradition of poking a little fun at your own lack of hockey skills (even though it’s sometimes not even true). Nothing like a little self-deprecating humor to make your opponent drop their guard so you can sneak a win in boys.
2. Bench Warmers
Instead of puns, some beer league teams like to use sports-isms for their team jerseys. The Bench Warmers is a great team name because it sets the team up as an underdog, but the term itself is usually used by knowledgeable athletes.
The logo also sends mixed messages. The lightning bolt suggests speed, while the bench suggests lethargy. Are they good, or are they bad? You can’t tell by the name or the logo, and that mystery probably serves the Bench Warmers well when they face off against a new opponent.
A front and back design of the “Bench Warmers” jerseys.
A front and back design of the “Sunnyvale” jerseys.
3. Sunnyvale Samsquanches
Mythical beasts are always a great choice for a team name and logo. The Grand Rapids Griffins and Cleveland Monsters spring to mind as good examples, but this beer league team took it one step further by naming their team after Samsquanch, the mythical Big Foot-like creature that terrorizes the residents of Sunnyvale Trailer Park in the Canadian cult-classic TV show, Trailer Park Boys.
It was really cool to give life to the mythical creature that struck so much fear in grown men like Bubbles and Ricky. We have no doubt there were a few opposing players looking for a trade on deadline day when they saw these sweet custom jerseys.
4. Dad Bods
The term “dad bod” was coined back in 2015 in reference to a man with a solid build that includes some fat, betraying a laid-back lifestyle featuring a steady diet of burgers, beer and a little more beer. For many, including this team, that’s what beer league hockey is all about.
I love this logo because it turns the familiar mudflap lady image on its head by using the outline of a portly papa complete with a ballcap and beard. Cheers to the masterpiece!
A front and back design of the “Dad Bods” jerseys.
A front and back design of the “Olden Knights” jerseys.
5. Olden Knights
In my experience, some of the most intense beer league players are the ones with a little gray in their beards. The Olden Knights own their battle scars with this twist on the Vegas Golden Knights. In fact, the team’s crest is completely unique, but we still see where their inspiration came from thanks to the colour scheme and, of course, their punny name.
6. Lucic & Chong
Rec league hockey culture has been somewhat synonymous with beer — hence the term “beer league” — but, counter-culture elements have increasingly found their way onto the ice as well. This team has combined their love of the cannabis-craving comedy duo Cheech & Chong with their admiration for long-time NHL power forward Milan Lucic. We can only imagine that a team with such specific points of unity must have an unbreakable sense of camaraderie.
A front and back design of the “Blades of Steel” jerseys.
7. Blades of Steel
Nostalgia is another big theme when it comes to custom hockey jerseys. Hockey fans who grew up in the 1990s will love the 8-bit graphics with the original Blades of Steel logo from the hockey video game of the same name.
The Blades of Steel video game was famous for its in-game fights where only the loser would be penalized for fighting. So, take warning — this team might be filled with tough guys who don’t observe the rules particularly closely.
8. Big Gulps Huh?
If you get it, you get it. If you don’t… well, we’ll help you.
This is a deep-cut quote from the classic Jim Carrey movie, Dumb and Dumber. There’s no hockey pun to speak of, and aside from the crossed sticks, it has little if anything to do with the fastest game on ice. We’re not entirely sure why the boys chose this team name. They’re obviously big fans of the movie (Anchorman and The Simpsons have also inspired many logo designs). Aside from that, Big Gulps Huh? might be something of a team mantra to keep everybody calm and centred, similar to “it is what it is”.
A front and back design of the “Big Gulp Huh?” jerseys.
A front and back design of the “Soup There It Is” jerseys.
9. Soup There It Is
If Andy Warhol and the 90s rap group, Tag Team, played beer league hockey, they might play for Soup There It Is. The team name is an obvious nod to the 1993 hit song Whoomp! (There It Is), while the logo itself is reminiscent of Warhol’s 1962 Campbell’s Soup Can series of paintings.
Now, this is the kind of team name and logo that can only come from some serious lateral thinking. One question remains, however: Is it art?
If you’ve ever met a guy with a mullet, you know he’s probably going to be a handful. And that’s exactly what Mulletude communicates with their logo. This guy has a black eye and a missing tooth and he’s still giving his opponents a devilish smile as if to say “I love pain!”. It’s a mission statement and a fashion statement all in one. Cheers to another masterpiece!
What's the unique story behind your team name?
Every beer league team has a name, and each one has a story. Whether your team is named after a local landmark, an inside joke, or a legendary play from seasons past, there’s a tale to be told. It’s the kind of story that gets funnier and more exaggerated with each telling, becoming a cherished part of your hockey legacy.
So, what’s the scoop on your team’s moniker? Maybe it’s a tribute to that unforgettable road trip where you took one too many detours. Perhaps it’s a nod to that incredible comeback victory that left the opposing team dumbfounded. Or it could be a simple yet endearing reference to your favorite post-game hangout.
Share your team’s name and the story that gave it life. Whether it’s a story of triumph, hilarity, or sheer randomness, we want to celebrate the spirit of hockey and the bonds it forges.