The National Hockey League expands into Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2017-2018 season and with their newest franchise the Vegas Golden Knights. The new team name, celebrated by most, brought a voice of displeasure from the ranks of the U.S. Army.
Concern arose over the name because the Army’s expert parachute team has held the name Golden Knights since 1960. The Pentagon worries that the new hockey team name might cause conflicts in the future.
Reports said that Pentagon officials did not appreciate finding out about the new hockey team name at the same time as the general public. “We’re reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be,” Army spokeswoman Alison Bettencourt told the Fayetteville Observer on Monday.
Army officials also added that they are in the process of discussing this issue with the new Vegas team and the NHL. “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,” the Army spokesperson said.
That owner, financial services billionaire Bill Foley, noted that he and the new team administration had contacted the Army to invite the Golden Knights to help kick off their first game with a parachute drop, but once the Army came to understand the naming situation “it got kind of complicated,” Foley said.
Foley explained to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he and his partners, along with the NHL, didn’t think contacting the Army over the naming choice was necessary. “We didn’t check with the Army on the name Golden Knights because once we copyrighted and trademarked it, our lawyers and the NHL’s lawyers didn’t feel we needed to,” Foley said. “I have great respect for the Golden Knights parachute team.”
Still, the team has decided, at least for now, to hold fast on the new name. Foley and the rest of the team have no intention of bowing to pressure from the Army. Foley also added that a precedent exists for such a conflicting name, “But we’re no different than the Texas Rangers, who are a baseball team and are also a law enforcement agency,” he noted.
The Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, perform over 100 shows per year and according to the “Champion of the Skies” website, the Knights have performed over 16,000 shows in all 50 states and spanning 48 countries.
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