It’s not just because my nickname in high school was ‘Buck’ that I say the name of the Cranbrook BCHL hockey team is a good one.
Though I have been dining out on that coincidence on Facebook. ‘What,’ my old friends say, ‘they’ve named a team after you?’ ‘Yes!’ I say.
The Cranbrook Bucks — I didn’t even have to think about it. I liked it right away — although it would have been my second choice, had I been thinking about it.
The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks also uses that sobriquet, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The motto “Fear The Deer” is already taken, but the name lends itself to taglines without number — “Home Is Where The Hart Is” comes to mind. Or “Stag Tough!”
A team name should be short, crisp, and evocative of that team’s home area. One syllable, perhaps two. That being said, now that the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are ancient history, I will now say I always felt that the nickname “Ice” was completely lacking in personality. Really, is there anything more nondescript than ice? We may as well have called the team “The Kootenay Sticks.” Or “The Kootenay Puck.” Like I said, that’s ancient history.
So Bucks is a fine name, with lots of good semantics. A noble, animalian signifier of our area, and indeed of our town. The term ‘Young Bucks’ conjures up a squad of hungry lads out to wreak havoc in the BCHL playoffs. “The Buck Stops Here” at Western Financial Place is a fun motto.
Symbolically, the stag, as well as being a tough, noble, strong animal, is the personification of a host of virtues in the myths and legends of many cultures. So dig it!
Of course, my first choice for the team name was The Ravens, because the raven is the creature I want to see as Cranbrook’s totem animal, for reasons too lengthy to get into here. When Mount Baker Secondary School set out to change its nickname from The Trojans, I advocated for The Ravens. But the school ignored my idea and instead chose The Wild, which I didn’t start to like until they erected the giant iron bear statue on 14th Avenue, which has become a great symbolic animal for Cranbrook.
A group was working to launch a College baseball team a few years ago — the Eds. Certainly the elephant has become an animal symbol of Cranbrook, but ultimately the story of Cranbrook Ed is a tragic one. Working that aspect of Cranbrook’s mythology into a team name, however important that story is to our sense of self, would cheapen that story.
My third choice of team name is Roughriders, because I miss the days when the Canadian Football League — only eight teams strong — had two teams sharing the same name (though one was spelled Rough Riders).
So kudos to the BCHL and the local ownership group who brought the Bucks to town. Looking forward to that first Buck drop — I mean Puck drop — one year from now.