The Army is reviewing the name of the newest addition to the National Hockey League.
The Vegas Golden Knights unveiled its name on Nov. 22 during a ceremony in Las Vegas, and the Army wants to ensure there's no confusion between the sports team and the United States Army Parachute Team, which is known as the Golden Knights.
Alison Bettencourt, a spokeswoman for the Army Marketing and Research Group, said the service is evaluating its rights and the NHL team's use of the name.
"There is no Army connection with this team," said Bettencourt, adding that the Army wants to ensure that the Golden Knights parachute team is known for who and what they've been since the 1960s, when they started using the moniker. The parachute team is one of only three Defense Department-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, and its soldiers perform at more than 100 events a year.
Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights and a 1967 West Point grad, told Army Times he was partial to using the Black Knights, the name given to the United States Military Academy’s sports teams. However, Foley said he received push back from the Academy.
"The goal was to have 'knights' in the name," he said.
Not only is "knights" a play on words for Vegas "nights," Foley said, it represents the epitome of the warrior class.
"A knight is an honorable individual who protects the unprotected," he said.
Other options were the Silver Knights, since Nevada is referred to as the Silver State, or the Desert Knights.
"Silver didn't resonate with me or mean anything to me," said Foley, who followed in his father's footsteps and served in the Air Force after graduating from West Point in 1967.
Although silver is a precious metal, he said, it's a secondary metal to gold.
"We wanted to have the tie in with Nevada and with Vegas," he said. "The golden hues at night and the gold on the strip."
The Army Golden Knights haven't trademarked the name, but Foley said he filed an application to trademark the Vegas Golden Knights. The application is still under review.
The Army Golden Knights parachute team has gone by its name since the 1960s.
Photo Credit: Army
When you're in the same industry, there's potential for confusion, he said. Foley and his company received outside counsel, who said there shouldn't be any confusion between the hockey and parachute teams.
"I would never do anything that would denigrate or detract from what the Army does," he said.
"The only reason we didn't reach out to anyone before we announced the name was because we were trying to keep it a secret," Foley said.
Bettencourt said the Army looks forward to communicating with Foley and his team going forward.
The Vegas Golden Knights will debut in the 2017-18 NHL season.
Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at email@example.com.
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