Ever the politician, Danny Williams knew he couldn’t please everyone by choosing “IceCaps” as the nickname for the new American Hockey League team in St. John’s, N.L.
However, the premier-turned-club president believes detractors will come to embrace the team’s identity if it’s successful on the ice.
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“Coming from a political background, the criticism here pales by comparison to public office,” Williams said Friday from St. John’s. “It’s good. It’s good in the sense that people are talking about it and people are interested and people have an opinion.
“The secret for us now is the same with any marketing brand – whether it’s Apple or Nike with the swoosh – having a brand and having a logo, it’s about what you wrap around it, it’s about what you make people believe it is and what it stands for.”
After considering other names like WhiteCaps and Regiment, Williams and an advisory board eventually settled on the St. John’s IceCaps.
The team logo features the word “IceCaps” underneath an image of a snow-capped mountain – the snowy part is in the shape of Newfoundland and Labrador – and is consistent with the colours of the parent Winnipeg Jets.
The name has historical ties because the city’s former senior team was known as the “Caps.” It also references two prominent physical features of the province: icebergs and ice-capped peaks.
“All of that kind of comes together for a sport that’s played on ice and it works,” said Williams.
Some fans unhappy with the name noted it’s too similar to “Iced Capp,” a popular drink served at Tim Hortons.
Williams would have preferred to hold a contest to name the team, but there wasn’t enough time with the franchise only arriving in St. John’s shortly after the NHL announced it would be returning to Winnipeg. That forced the Manitoba Moose to relocate to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Jets unveiled their new logo a week ago to mixed reviews. Williams is hoping the IceCaps name receives a similar approval rating from fans.
“If I remember correctly, I think the Winnipeg stats were about 2-to-1 (in favour) of their logo,” said Williams. “It would be nice to be in that territory, but if we’ve got 51 per cent coming in then I’ll be quite happy with that.”