Ranking the proposed names for the Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL team

There are a few different ways this could go for the farm squad.

Credit: Abbotsford Centre

The Abbotsford Centre will play host to AHL hockey in 2021-22

There are a few different ways this could go for the farm squad

The Vancouver Canucks finally committed to moving their farm team closer to home this off-season, leaving the confines of Utica, New York, for the considerably more fertile ground (yeah, that’s a farm joke) of Abbotsford.

Although professional sports have been something of a mixed bag in the Fraser Valley, the Canucks having their own prospects in the burbs—rather than the failed Abbotsford Heat serving as the Calgary Flames’ development club—should be able to draw crowds on a nightly basis.

But who exactly will the fans be supporting? Earlier this week, the currently nameless franchise sent out an online form with 10 team name options to fans that have provided a season ticket deposit for the inaugural season.

Below are our highly subjective thoughts on the submitted names, with the the caveat that both “Abbotsford” and “Fraser Valley” are apparently in play as the club name. In certain cases, it’s fairly obvious which name will be used; in others, not so much. Let’s get to it.

10. Canucks

Really? Let’s maybe show an ounce of creativity here.

9. Avengers

While this is an obvious no, we can’t get the cross-promotional ideas out of our head. Jet Woo as The Hulk on a bobblehead immediately springs to mind. And there’s certainly some sort of Michael DiPietro/Iron Man comparison to be made. But no.

8. Millionaires

It’s not the worst callback to Vancouver’s former franchise, but there’s something a bit lazy about this. Even if it’s probably more true to the region than any other name on the list, given the home prices in the Fraser Valley these days.

7. Sockeyes

This name gets thrown out for every single Pacific Northwest franchise looking for a moniker, to the point that it was considered the heavy favourite to become the Seattle NHL club’s name until Jerry Bruckheimer’s team steered its way to the Kraken.

And yes, it’s obviously a PNW thing and a B.C. one. But is Abbotsford really that synonymous with sockeye salmon?

6. Falcons

The Fraser Valley Falcons does have a good ring to it, and there are many of these birds in B.C. and the Lower Mainland. It’s just a little played out in professional sports, with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons more or less owning the name.

5. Pilots

It’s fine, and it’s a nod to the area’s aviation background, as well as Abbotsford’s current Junior B hockey team. It’s just that the other aviation-related names are a tad catchier (at least for our alliteration-obsessed brain).

4. Golden Eagles

Both the Fraser Valley Golden Eagles and the Abbotsford Golden Eagles sound pretty good. And again, there are lots of these birds in the area. It’s also a fairly unique name in the sports world.

Maybe it’s just us and this is stupid, but it’s hard to get past “Golden” and not think “Knights” in hockey right now. Especially since Vegas’s NHL team is enjoying so much success (and knocked the Canucks out of the playoffs last year).

3. Aviators
2. Aeros
1. Aces

All of these clearly reference Abbotsford’s long history with flying. And none are bad. You have to think that “Abbotsford” would be the preface for each, and they all work pretty well.

Personally, though, we’re going with Aces. It’s not used that much in sports (the Houston Aeros were an AHL team until 2013) or linked with one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s lesser-appreciated film roles. It’s just a slick, catchy name that pays homage to the region. Can’t go wrong there.

As for the logo? The Athletic’s Thomas Drance has the right idea here, but I’d still go with Aces over Aeros.