The Army Is Looking into the Vegas NHL Expansion Team's Use of "Golden Knights"
The drama is not over yet for Las Vegas's new NHL team.
The Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL's newest franchise, has suffered their fair share of name-related setbacks over the past week. The team announced its name and logo in a press conference on November 23, accompanied by a few hilarious technical difficulties. And while ESPN reported that the franchise got permission for its new name from Clarkson College, who are also known as the Golden Knights, it now seems that the Army might have a problem with the moniker.
The U.S. Army Parachute Team, which is based at Fort Bragg, has used the Golden Knights nickname since the 1960s, and Alison Bettencourt, a spokesperson for the Army Marketing and Research Group, told the Fayetteville Observer that after hearing about the NHL expansion team's name last week, "we're reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be."
What might the Army do? "They could dispute the trademark arguing that the similar name, colour scheme, and that both logos use a knights helmet might cause some to believe the two are associated," Chris Creamer at theorized at Sportslogos.net. "If you believe a reasonable person could mistake one golden Knights with another then that'd be enough grounds for a decent legal challenge"—though Creamer thinks this is unlikely to happen.
The Vegas Golden Knights name was chosen by owner Bill Foley, a United States Military Academy graduate. He originally planned to call his team the Black Knights, the name long associated with West Point teams, but changed his mind after speaking to Army officials. He also trademarked "Desert Knights" and "Silver Knights." The name clearly means a great deal to Foley, who in a video on his team's website talks about "the concept of a knight who is honorable, who always defends those who cannot defend themselves." Clearly the guy hasn't watched Game of Thrones.
Still, the Army will do its due diligence.
"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 told the Observer.
If the Army pushes back too strongly on Golden Knights, the name could join other Knights that are best avoided, like Dark Knights, for the association with vigilante justice and the terrible Batman V. Superman film, and Scarlet Knights, for their offensive connection to Rutgers athletics.