By ALAN SNEL
Congratulations Vegas Golden Knights.
You know you’re a big story when you don’t even play during a five-day bye week and yet you still make national news for not only being the Cinderella story of the sports world but also for the fact the U.S. Army has a beef with your team name.
We all know the story of team owner Bill Foley and his 1967 West Point pedigree and his attempt to initially call the Las Vegas NHL team the “Black Knights” as a tribute to his West Point experience. The USMA at West Point sports teams are also called the Black Knights.
But West Point wasn’t too thrilled with the Black Knights idea, even if one of its own was trying to do something good with the moniker.
When your hallowed grounds high above the Hudson River produce the likes of Eisenhower, Patton and MacArthur, a Bill Foley doesn’t get to call his NHL team the Black Knights just because he owns a professional sports franchise.
So, Foley compromised a bit and chose Golden Knights, releasing the name (minus the “Las” in Las Vegas) in late 2016. Vegas Golden Knights it was.
But the U.S. Army, not just the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, ultimately had a problem with the Golden Knights name, too. The Army lawyers went on record with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by requesting the agency not file the NHL team’s application for “Vegas Golden Knights.”
Army’s beef? The U.S. Army Parachute Team is also named Golden Knights.
In all due respect to the parachute team members, I’m not so sure too many Americans actually know their squad was called the Golden Knights.
And with the Golden Knights soaring to the top of the NHL Western Conference standings and instilling good will in the Las Vegas market thirsting for its first big league pro team, the parachuting Golden Knights members would actually score some free publicity points from the hockey stick-wielding Golden Knights fellas.
Through it all, Foley and his legal crew offered up a response that may have included some unwitting humor — or maybe the humor was no accident.
“We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team,” the statement read. “Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game.”
Interesting enough, Foley received pushback on the Golden Knights name from locals who wondered what the connection was between a Golden Knight and a major league hockey team based in the western desert.
But with the team racking up 60 points in the first 41 games (the official half-way mark of the season), the licensed team merchandise sales with the Golden Knights logo have been way above projected budgeted levels and Foley even told LVSportsBiz.com that he was taking the Golden Knights mark global by pushing sales to Europeans and the Chinese.
LVSportsBiz.com, always looking for a peaceful reconciliation to business disputes, has this golden suggestion: The Vegas Golden Knights hockey team should invite the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team to T-Mobile Arena, and have one of the Army team members parachute down from the arena rafters and deliver the puck for the next home game Jan. 23 when the Golden Knights hockey team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The crowd would go crazy, the parachute team members would be treated like royalty at T-Mobile Arena for that puck-delivery technique and the Golden Knights hockey team would win the game because that’s what its players do.
Name problem solved. Now can we return to more serious stuff, like when will Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant start talking playoffs?
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