TUCSON — The Coyotes on Saturday unveiled their new American Hockey League affiliate’s name and logo at an Open House inside the Tucson Convention Center.
The team’s name, chosen via a ‘Name the Team’ contest, is the Tucson Roadrunners. Nearly 5,000 fans submitted close to 60 names in the contest, but Roadrunners won in landslide fashion.
“We were just so overwhelmed with the support we saw and the names that were submitted,” Coyotes President and CEO Antony LeBlanc said. “We knew that was the right name.”
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
The team will begin play in October as a member of the AHL’s Pacific Division wearing uniforms that will be revealed later this summer. The home rink will be the Tucson Convention Center, which seats about 6,700 fans for ice hockey.
Approximately 2,500 spectators attended the Open House.
“The turnout was incredible,” Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said. “Quite frankly, it exceeded my expectations.”
He added, “There has been excitement (about the AHL team). It’s a community that wants good things to happen and it’s a sports community. So you have this level of sports activity it just makes people feel better about it and it creates a good buzz… This is a professional, first-class organization. It really boosts the image of Tucson.”
The name Roadrunners is not a new one for an Arizona-based hockey team.
In 1967, the Phoenix Roadrunners of the Western Hockey League (WHL) became Arizona’s first professional sports team. When the WHL disbanded in 1974, the Roadrunners became a part of the World Hockey Association (WHA), and subsequently the Pacific Hockey League (PHL) until 1979. Ten years later, in 1989, the Roadrunners were back as part of the International Hockey League (IHL) and remained in the Valley until 1997. The Roadrunners returned to Phoenix in 2005 as a member of the ECHL until 2009.
“The history of the Roadrunners is the history of hockey in Arizona,” LeBlanc said. “I think it’s important as we grow the sport that we consistently look to the great history, the storied history that this sport has in the state, as well as here in Tucson.”
Per the official press release:
“The Tucson Roadrunners’ primary logo features design elements that convey a new brand personality for the AHL team while maintaining a connection with the highly regarded Arizona Coyotes logo. The Roadrunners logo features a fierce bird that is ready for game action, wearing a hockey uniform, skates and carrying a hockey stick. The hockey sweater on the roadrunner includes the flag of Arizona (in Coyotes colors) which is also used by the Coyotes as a shoulder patch on the team’s jerseys. The roadrunner’s head, tail, gloves and striping on his jersey, pants and socks are all copper in reference to Arizona’s nickname “Copper State,” which celebrates the fabulous mineral wealth in Tucson and Arizona. While today the Tucson Mountains are largely protected within the confines of the Saguaro National Park and the Tucson Mountain Park, they once were mined extensively for copper, gold, silver, lead and other metallic elements. The Coyotes colors of Brick Red, Desert Sand and black embody the logo, along with copper, and reflect the symmetry between the Coyotes and the Roadrunners teams.”