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Barry Trotz recalls process of naming Predators

Like Las Vegas, Nashville had big decision to make when it came to identity of expansion franchise

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. - Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz was at a team event Tuesday, so he did not watch the unveiling of the Las Vegas expansion team's name and logo.

But when Trotz got home, he saw on NHL Network that Las Vegas owner Bill Foley and his group decided to call their team the Vegas Golden Knights, with a logo of a knight's helmet featuring a V that represents the city. 

"I think it's what they wanted to get across and they're real proud of it and I think it looks really good so far," Trotz said Wednesday.

Trotz remembers going through the same process with Nashville. General manager David Poile named Trotz as the Nashville expansion franchise's first coach on Aug. 6, 1997, a year before the team's logo and name were selected.

The logo, which was inspired by a fang and a leg bone from a saber-toothed tiger discovered on a Nashville construction site in 1971, was chosen first and unveiled on Sept. 25. The Predators name was announced at a gathering of season ticket holders and fans at Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville on Nov. 13, 1997.

Video: Bill Foley on the choosing of team name and logo

Trotz remembers it being a significant moment for him and the Predators in preparing for their inaugural season in 1998-99.

"It was a big event," Trotz said. "When you get an expansion team, you're excited about the opportunity, but until you have a name, you really don't have an identity. I know when I went scouting before we named the team I used to go into, say, New Jersey and I'd go to the security people and say, 'I'm with the Nashville Predators' and they'd go, 'What league is that?' I'd go, 'It's the NHL. We're going to play next year and we're going to have uniforms and everything. It's going to be really swell.' 

"You sort of need a name and a face, being your logo, your brand, and then people start to know you."

Trotz takes pride in having a small hand in the selection of the Predators name. Although it was put to a fan vote, ownership and management brainstormed for suggestions based on the saber-toothed tiger-themed logo. While searching through a Canadian Hockey League guide, Trotz came across the Granby Predateurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and thought the name would be a good fit.

The fans agreed, voting for it ahead of runner-ups such as Ice Tigers, Fury and Attack.

"The whole process there's so many people that can feel proud about getting that started and seeing how it's grown and seeing how it's taken root," Trotz said. 

"My best advice is do it the Vegas way. They've got a unique market. Do it your own way and put your own stamp on it." 

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