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April 18, 2019

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Las Vegas’ NHL team making slow but steady progress on finding a name

Murray Craven aims to make announcement in next few weeks

T-Mobile Arena NHL Open House

Christopher DeVargas

T-Mobile Arena holds an open house to future NHL season ticket holders, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016.

T-Mobile Arena NHL Open House

T-Mobile Arena holds an open house to future NHL season ticket holders, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. Launch slideshow »

Fans aren’t the only ones frustrated with the lack of news on the progress of selecting a name for Las Vegas’ expansion NHL franchise.

The team’s fledgling front office has grown just as weary of the whole process. Clearing a name to use — not to mention the logo, colors and uniforms to go with it — has taken more effort than owner Billy Foley’s team expected when they began to pursue a franchise two years ago.

“It’s a lot tougher than I ever thought it would be, I’ll put it that way,” Foley’s top adviser Murray Craven said Monday at T-Mobile Arena. “You don’t just go up there and fire a name, and then you’ve got it done.”

Craven hopes to unveil the name in “the next few weeks,” but that’s not entirely up to the organization. They’re working closely with the NHL to thoroughly vet all serious options, including looking into trademark and copyright issues.

In the days after the NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to award Las Vegas a team, Foley submitted “eight or nine” possibilities that he owned domain names for. That list is pared down, with rumors spreading among fans at the T-Mobile Arena open house earlier this week that only two remained.

Craven wouldn’t confirm as much, only emphasizing that the team hasn’t zeroed in on a single choice.

“There’s more than one,” he said with a smirk.

Attempting to figure out the full contents of the short list is futile, though it’s fair to assume some variation of “Knights” is on the list. Foley has stayed smitten with paying homage to his West Point alma mater.

Recent murmurs indicate the Silver Knights or Neon Knights could be in the running, after fans universally loathed Foley’s original preference for Black Knights.

“Not the Black Knights,” lifelong friends Kevin Everage and Keith Calhoun said in near-unison when asked about their preference for the name at T-Mobile Arena earlier this week.

Many fans continue to support names with gambling tie-ins like the Aces, Dice or High Rollers. But the NHL long ago mandated that those wouldn’t be considered.

“If you’re that concerned about gambling, why’d you bring a team here in the first place?” Everage asked. “I don’t think naming it something somewhat related to gambling is going to influence people to start gambling on their games.”

Foley was never enamored with any of those options anyway, he said in June. He’s also ruled out other fan suggestions like the Rat Pack or any snake-centric ideas.

Foley, above all else, wants a name that “evokes power, authority and team spirit.”

“It will give us an identity,” Craven said. “We’re kind of floating around right now, but once it’s nailed down, then we can really start to be who we are. It will be nice, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Plans are still in place to hold a public party when the team finally decides on a name and logo. The event stands to be more subdued if the community reacts negatively.

No one knows that better than Craven, who assured that the pressure of the decision is weighing on those who are ultimately making it.

“I think everyone realizes the impact of it all,” Craven said. “It’s important to have something people like, something people want to hear. It’s very important that we nail that.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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