What Should Winnipeg Call Its New Hockey Team?

[Editor’s note: This post was originally published on May 25th. Now that the sale of Thrashers is final, it’s time to revisit what the new Winnipeg team should be called.]


Now that the Atlanta Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg is all but a done deal, the time has come to start thinking of a name for Manitoba’s new NHL franchise.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has said that the team will not resurrect the Jets moniker. And Thrashers, a reference to Georgia’s official state bird (the brown thrasher), would not be geographically appropriate.

What names would be suitable for the only NHL team in midwestern Canada? Here are some possibilities:

Winnipeg Owls
The Thrashers were named for Georgia’s state bird. The provincial bird of Manitoba is the great grey owl. So there you go.

manitoba-mooseManitoba Moose
The Winnipeg Jets took their name from a junior hockey club that played in the Western Canada Hockey League. The new team could make a similar move, adopting the name of Winnipeg’s current American Hockey League squad, the Manitoba Moose. The Moose are reportedly headed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, leaving their name for the taking.

Winnipeg Polar Bears
Polar bears live in Manitoba. Here’s proof. It would be fitting to name an ice hockey team after the largest cold-weather predator on the planet.

Manitoba Mounties
The Thrashers’ move from Atlanta to Winnipeg was a victory not only for Winnipeg and Manitoba, but for all of Canada, a nation that between 1988 and 1996 lost Wayne Gretzky and two NHL franchises to its southern neighbor. I can’t think of a more Canadian name for a hockey team than the Manitoba Mounties.

Winnipeg Forks
In Winnipeg “forks” refers not only to a dining utensil but also to the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The city grew up around The Forks, and this merging of waterways is the centerpiece of downtown Winnipeg. The dining utensil of the same name could inspire some interesting logo and mascot ideas.

Winnipeg Goldeyes
Like the Baltimore oriole, the Winnipeg goldeye is an actual thing that exists. The Winnipeg goldeye is a fish that lives in Lake Winnipeg and was critical to the growth of commercial fishing in Mantioba. Goldeyes is also the name of Winnipeg’s independent league baseball team. The team’s logo is a fish holding a bat with its fins.

That’s my unsolicited advice to the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba and True North Sports & Entertainment, the group that will take ownership of the Thrashers sometime in the next 48 hours. I won’t be bothered if none of these names are chosen, but I do ask that the city and the new owners choose a nickname that is specific or meaningful to Winnipeg or Manitoba.


Josh Tinley is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports. Follow him at twitter.com/joshtinley.

About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.


  1. Oh I know. How about the Winnipeg "Jets"!@(*&%?

  2. The mayor has said that the new team won't be called the Jets.

  3. I grew up watching the Winnipeg Jets so it will be very hard to accept a new name. If I had to choose a new name I would pick the Winnipeg Falcons or the Winnipeg Vikings in honor of the Icelander team from Winnipeg that won the first gold medal in the 1920 Winter Olympics.

  4. Observer911 says:

    Didn't Winnipeg's last NHL Hockey team move to the desert in Arizona? Hum????

  5. They should call the team the WINNIPEG JETS because that is clearly what the fans in Winnipeg want the team to be called. Calling the team the Manitoba Moose would be dumb. Why would any major league hockey team want to name themselves after the Vancouver Canucks' farm team? That would just be stupid.

    The Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association were not a minor league team like the Moose are. When the WHA merged with the NHL the Jets had to give-up a lot of their best players in order to join the league. Wayne Gretzky himself was playing in the WHA when it merged with the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers, and Quebec Nordiques all kept their team names and the teams themselves were absorbed into the NHL. The NHL Winnipeg Jets weren't named after the WHA Winnipeg Jets — they were the WHA Winnipeg Jets.

    The fans can force this issue. Even if the Thrashers get misnamed when they're moved to Winnipeg, the fans can still show-up at the games wearing Winnipeg Jets jersesys and the crowd can start chanting "Go Jets Go" — eventually the powers that be will get a clue and give the team the right name.

  6. Joe O'Neill says:

    The Winnipeg Sawchuks.

  7. Jets or why bother

  8. Rick Roxia says:

    Doesnt matter what they call them. GO JETS GO!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. JetsFan says:

    The name must be the JETS. This is NOT a new beginning, this is UNFINISHED BUSINESS. We are getting back what was taken from us thanks to the efforts of Chipman and Thomson. We are NOT getting a generous second chance from Bettman. The Jets never died, just look around and see all their fans, so why pretend this is a new start? It isn't. This is a resumed legacy, a resurrection. It's the JETS.

    If it MUST be a new name, then resurrect an even OLDER name… the Winnipeg Falcons. Ironically from Atlanta. But if I ever stood behind a NEW name, it would be falcons

    • Cool! It’s good to see somebody does there homework around here. the Falcons go back what in the 1900s?

    • Gordon Pritchard says:

      YOU ARE ABSOLUTLEY RIGHT ON THE MONEY BUD! Its unfinished business and its our history.
      It's gotta be the Jets…. and worst case scenario, I'm with you – THE FALCONS – again – Historical significance!

  10. What about the Winnipeg Nanuks

  11. Why not the Winnipeg Wolves

  12. I like the Winnipeg Schminnipegs…

  13. Stanley says:

    ….maybe the Winnipeg Poohs would work?

  14. …I got it! "The Manitoba Human Righteous Dudes".

  15. I agree with the person who said Winnipeg Nanuks… except it is spelled Nanook or Nanuq.

  16. I'm betting True North will stick with Manitoba Moose they've spent alot of money on the name and marketing the name..to some fans it may not be too well known, but the Manitoba Moose have a loyal following and they we're a good team. Why not name the new Winnipeg team after one that has an excellent reputation and has a name in Hockey already! Im sure its either gonna be Winnipeg Jets or Manitoba Moose two names that would only make the most sense and have a lot of awareness!

    • What they've got in the Manitoba Moose is a brand name that's associated with being an NHL farm team. As a Canucks fan, I'd laugh my butt off every time the Moose came to Vancouver since the Manitoba Moose has been for years the place where we've sent struggling players to develop their skills.

      True North doesn't have to throw away its investment in the Moose brand, they can keep the Moose Logo and call the team the St. John's Moose. They have mooses in Newfoundland. In fact that would save them the cost of having to develop a new brand in St. John's. And they can call the Thrashers the Winnipeg Jets and yet again they wouldn't have to spend money developing a new brand. Calling the team the Winnipeg Jets makes the most economic sense, and it's what the fans want.

  17. timmy binkley says:

    i'm guessing phoenix owns the rights to the jets name since they are the original winnipeg jets. i'm sure the new team in winnipeg will need to choose a new name. just like how minnesota could not use the north stars name due to dallas owning the rights to it.

    • The NHL owns Phoenix. I don't think the NHL would put up any fuss about Winnipeg using the old Jets name.

  18. the winnepeg weeners !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!hahahaha

  19. Falcons!

    • Wild fan 1 says:

      I Think the winnipeg Falcons is good, what about going with the Province and use manitoba jets or Manitoba Falcons, I also think Falcons is better

  20. So you get a new team. Who cares. Hey Winnipeg. You're still Winnipeg!

  21. NolaJeanne says:

    I suggest the Manitoba Ice Holes!! In honor of our beloved ice fishing, cold car seats in winter, or frigid women!

    Other worthy suggestions, Winnipeg Dikes, or the Manitoba Sand baggers,

  22. JETS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. No matter what they call it I’m buying a jets jersey and chanting go jets go… But if a new name it must be, then what better then the Winnipeg PanHandlers :)

  24. Craig204 says:

    I have no problems with the Winnipeg Jets!!! Revamp the logo maybe one of Raptor/F-35’s Jets!!! If not the JETS, and we start fresh i love the idea of Polor Bears. I mean yea why not “URSA MARITIMUS” means Sea Bear! “Manitoba Sea Bears” or “Manitoba Ice Bears”or “Manitoba Arctic Bears” “Manitoba Bears” “Manitoba Polor Bears” We could incorporate ways down the road to help Save our Polor Bears because they are Endangered Species!!! Imagine Whiteout again with Monster size Polor Bear WOOFING, ROARING, SNARLING, IN EXTREME WHITEOUT IN WPG.

  25. Winnipeg Jerks ^)

  26. Derrick Fraser says:

    Winnipeg needs a go get em! attitude! A Name like The Winnipeg Wolverines Would inspire our team.And it has a great ring to it. Go Wolverines!

  27. Boston John says:

    Hay Yo………the perfect name for this team is the………..wait for it………..Winnipeg Lakers……..there is a real big lake up there right…………picture this the Celtics vs the Lakers & the Bruins vs the Lakers in the same building for a little day night double dip……….the LA Lakers were named from the lakes north of the Twin Cities……..just like the new Winnipeg Lakers could be……….what ever name gets picked it is good to see hockey back in a city that cares & the cup back where it belong BEANTOWN BABY!!!!!!!!!!!! PEACE

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