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New AHL team to be known as St. John's IceCaps Add to ...

Ever the politician, Danny Williams knew he couldn't please everyone by choosing "IceCaps" as the name for the new American Hockey League team in St. John's, N.L.



However, the premier-turned-club president believes detractors will come to embrace the team's identity if it's successful on the ice.



"Coming from a political background, the criticism here pales by comparison to public office," Williams said Friday from St. John's. "It's good (that some people don't like the name). It's good in the sense that people are talking about it and people are interested and people have an opinion.



"The secret for us now is the same with any marketing brand - whether it's Apple or Nike with the swoosh - having a brand and having a logo, it's about what you wrap around it, it's about what you make people believe it is and what it stands for."



A number of fans unhappy with the new moniker were quick to note its similarity to "Iced Capp," a popular drink served at Tim Hortons.



Williams and the team's advisory board settled on the IceCaps name after considering a number of options, including WhiteCaps and Regiment.



The team logo features the word "IceCaps" underneath an image of a snow-capped mountain - the snowy part takes the shape of Newfoundland and Labrador - and is consistent with the colours of the parent Winnipeg Jets.



The name has historical ties because the city's former senior team was known as the "Caps." It also highlights two prominent physical features found in the province: icebergs and ice-capped peaks.



"I wanted to have a provincial aspect to it because obviously this is a team that's going to play in 29 other jurisdictions all throughout North America," said Williams. "What a great chance to advertise and promote the province. There's nothing more iconic I don't think to this province than ice."



Williams would have preferred to hold a fan contest to name the team, but there wasn't enough time. St. John's only got its AHL franchise after the NHL decided to return to Winnipeg, forcing the Manitoba Moose to migrate east last month.



It marked the AHL's second foray into Newfoundland and Labrador - the St. John's Maple Leafs departed in 2005 after 14 seasons - and it appears to have been a good move. Williams says corporate support in the city has been strong and that "85 per cent" of the tickets at the 6,200-seat Mile One Centre will be sold before the season begins on Oct. 14.



As a result, the IceCaps received plenty of kudos at the recent AHL meetings in Hilton Head, S.C.



"We were the toast of the league," said Williams. "We've got the most season ticket sales, our corporate sponsorships I think will probably be the highest in the league. We will be a model franchise and we haven't stepped on the ice yet."



Fans of the IceCaps will have to wait before getting a look at the team's sweaters. Since they'll be similar to what the Jets wear, Williams says Winnipeg will unveil its first.



The unveiling of the Jets logo initially played to some mixed reviews a week ago, but polls ended up showing a large percentage of people liked it. Williams hopes something similar happens with the IceCaps name in St. John's.



"If I remember correctly, I think the Winnipeg stats were about 2-to-1 (in favour) of their logo," he said. "It would be nice to be in that territory, but if we've got 51 per cent coming in then I'll be quite happy with that."





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