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Why Are They Called That: The Story Behind Every NHL Team Name

Eastern Conference - Atlantic Division:

  • Boston Bruins: Named for the bear, which represents strength and resilience.

  • Buffalo Sabres: Reflects the naval and military history of Buffalo.

  • Detroit Red Wings: Named for the distinctive winged wheel logo.

  • Florida Panthers: Named for the Florida panther, a symbol of the state's wildlife.

  • Montreal Canadiens: Named for the French-Canadian population in Montreal and their strong connection to the sport.

  • Ottawa Senators: Named to honor the political and governmental history of Ottawa.

  • Tampa Bay Lightning: Reflects the frequent lightning storms in Tampa Bay.

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Originally "Arenas" and then "St. Patricks" before becoming the "Maple Leafs," to symbolize Canada's national symbol, the maple leaf.

Eastern Conference - Metropolitan Division:

  • Carolina Hurricanes: Named to reflect the frequent hurricanes in the region.

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Named for the Union Army's blue coats in the American Civil War.

  • New Jersey Devils: Named for the mythical "Jersey Devil," a creature from local folklore.

  • New York Islanders: Reflects the island location of the team.

  • New York Rangers: Named for the team's location and connection to Madison Square Garden.

  • Philadelphia Flyers: Reflects the speed and agility of the team and the aviation history of Philadelphia.

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Named for the flightless penguin, chosen through a fan contest in the team's early years.

  • Washington Capitals: Named to honor the political and governmental significance of Washington, D.C.

Western Conference - Central Division:

  • Chicago Blackhawks: Named for Chief Black Hawk, a Native American leader.

  • Colorado Avalanche: Reflects the danger of avalanches in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Dallas Stars: Named for the lone star of Texas.

  • Minnesota Wild: Named for the region's natural beauty and the abundance of wildlife.

  • Nashville Predators: Named for the region's connection to country music and the symbol of the sabertooth tiger.

  • St. Louis Blues: Named for the musical genre, the blues.

  • Winnipeg Jets: Originally an homage to the Winnipeg Jets team that moved to Phoenix, Arizona, before returning to Winnipeg in 2011.

Western Conference - Pacific Division:

  • Anaheim Ducks: Originally the "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim," named for the Disney movie franchise.

  • Arizona Coyotes: Named for the coyote, a common animal in the region.

  • Calgary Flames: Named for the Calgary Flames in Alberta's oil and gas industry.

  • Edmonton Oilers: Named for the Edmonton Oilers' connection to the oil and gas industry.

  • Los Angeles Kings: Reflects the prestige and royalty of Los Angeles.

  • San Jose Sharks: Named for the frequent shark sightings along the California coast.

  • Seattle Kraken: Seattle's a city with a deep maritime history and the name embodies a connection with the sea and a curiosity of what lies beneath it.

  • Vancouver Canucks: A Canadian term for a person, often used affectionately, with a nod to the diversity of the city.

Check out the other sport name rationale:

For more details on all the teams (outside of the Kraken) check out

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