As usually is the case when it comes to these things, the focus will be on the nickname, colours and logo when St. John’s new ECHL team unveils its identity this morning at The Rooms.
Bu the most significant revelation will actually be how the hockey team labels itself geographically.
We say “revelation,” although indications for some time have been that the ownership group has settled on Newfoundland Growlers for a name.
A domain name based on that was purchased early last month, the ECHL applied for an American trademark based on “Newfoundland Growlers “a few weeks later and the team itself has just finished up an Instagram campaign that involved eight pictorial hints accompanied by captions whose first letters in the first words were, in order, G-R-O-W-L-E-R- and S.
How the team plays up the front part of its moniker remains to be seen, but it says here that it was the most significant choice in this whole process.
It’s unlikely the use of “Newfoundland” will lead to any major uptick in ticket sales, but it is important in these three areas:
• Differentiating itself from the St. John’s Edge.
The ownership of the National Basketball League of Canada’s Edge have reached a partnership agreement with the new hockey team and although most (many?) people will be well aware the hoopsters are the Edge and the hockey players are the Growlers, this is a way of making doubly sure for the less initiated here and elsewhere. Interestingly, the Edge were considering “Newfoundland” as part of their name before deciding to go with the municipal designation.
• Making the team more identifiable throughout the rest of North America.
Granted, there are more than a few ECHL cities who were once American Hockey League counterparts of the AHL’s St. John’s Maple Leafs and IceCaps, but this is mostly a brand-new league, with 25 of 27 teams in the States and in cities with people who are probably not that familiar with this part of the world. Let’s face it, a lot of times when you are from Newfoundland and Labrador and travelling to the U.S., you need a map to help make others understand where you’re from. But in the “Come From Away” era, there’s at least a better chance they’ll be acquainted with Newfoundland as opposed to St. John’s.
• Selling merchandise.
Sales in St. John’s should be a given, especially if the logo and colour schemes prove appealing and the team is entertaining/successful. However, the Newfoundland prefix certainly should make the new team’s hats, caps, jerseys, etc., more appealing to people outside the provincial capital, whether they live in Mount Pearl, Clarenville or St. Anthony. And this is something that will radiate outside the province. Ex-pats all over Canada and the world will probably be more inclined to buy and proudly wear something that says “Newfoundland.”
There’s a provincial nationalism here that doesn’t exist elsewhere and this is a way of acknowledging it.