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I came up with a cool new name for Sudbury's hockey team hear me out

I recently moved back up to Sudbury where I attend school. While waiting out a week for class to start and the clock to turn to an acceptable hour I took a walk downtown. One of the more prominent buildings is the Sudbury Community Arena, a brick barn straight out of post world war II architecture. An outlier from the rest of the area not only for its exterior but also its seemingly unplanned prominence. Wedged between restaurants and parking lots to the South, East, and North and train tracks on the southwest it doesn’t seem to hold much significance even as the northern Canadian cities’ main entertainment centre. Only noticeable due to its size and roof.

That roof isn’t anything special just aging green metal, its who the roof is home to that stands out. Tens or Hundreds of seagulls sitting up there all day. This is a common site for anyone driving into downtown across the famed Bridge of Nations the 4000m2 green roof barley visible as birds pit stop along their migration route. Most residents find it an eyesore, a blight on the community. A couple years ago the city attached two “kite-hawks” to the roof in an attempt keep the birds off. The fake birds were dangled in the wind on a large fishing pole that was bolted to the roof with two brackets one of which was screwed into a 2x4 to keep the pole straight up against the receding trim of the roof. And yet 3 years later I can walk about downtown and still see them nesting up there.

The article also interviewed a member of the local bird watching society who argued “birds on roof good”. Pointing out that the arena is a hot spot for birdwatcher trying to spot rare gulls migrating from the arctic. I’m no ornithologist, yes I did just copy and paste that word from the article, but it’s kind of cool that birds from the arctic are chilling on your roof.

Naturally, me who doesn’t live here year-round finds the birds charming. But I’m not writing over 1000 words just to give my opinion on an article from 2017. I’m here to make a broader point about opportunity, sports teams, and community bonding.

The Sudbury Wolves are the main tenant of the arena and have been so since moving to the city in 1972. “Wolves” is based off of the name of a historic junior hockey club in Sudbury, who represented Canada at the World Ice Hockey Championships in 1938 and 1949. Even with the context the name sucks. Wolves don’t even stand out in Sudbury, there’s such genetic variation that coywolves exist here. Plus, Wolves exist elsewhere in North America.

Panthers, Lions, Bears, Dolphins, Sharks, Wolves, Tigers, Penguins, Hawks

For decades teams have gone hard on the whole ‘our name has to strike fear into their opponents’. I get this for a parent who’s only the coach of their kids’ peewee house league team because they carpool the most kids trying to rally the team to a 3rd period comeback on a Sunday afternoon. But professional sports teams, really?

To be fair not all aspects of team name are bad the wolf on a zip line when Sudbury scores is pretty cool, but instead imagine this: a flock of seagulls zooming, casting a large shadow over the ice, eyes beaming down on opponents. Not just a fun fan gimmick but a legitimate fear tactic.

Now you might be thinking “aren’t seagulls just another animal like what you were complaining about above”. Well yes technically, seagulls are just another lame generic animal that isn’t unique to Sudbury. I’ll give you the opposite advice of every teacher I’m not going for quality I’m going for quantity. Most animal names are plural implying multiple of these exist and yet in all the logos and promotional material there is only ever one animal. Not that threatening. A swarm on the other hand, terrifying. Not just a large group of any animal an animal that rests on your roof. The opposing team will drive into town and gawk as they see the birds perched on the roof, get off the bus and walk into the arena as gatherings of birds fly over head like crows around an evil castle except, they can also shit on you and ruin your day. How many teams with their intimidating animals have their namesakes loom over their opponents?

I’ve already improved an already stellar goal celebration that some, not me, might consider tacky. Now what about the mascot, top 10’s have been done for years about kids being scared by frightening mascots and Howler, the current one, is a fluffy wolf with sharp teeth. Nothing against ol’ Howler but imagine 5-6 different gulls all with different personalities. The jersey fixing the past mistakes of so many animal-based teams using multiple seagulls on the logo, beaks open like they’re about the fly off the crest and attack the enemy. That way cooler than a wolf with bloody teeth.

Oh, the birds are pooping on the roof and clogging the drainage. Hire a fancy science person to come up with a bird friendly design. Oh, we’re already paying a lot of money to repair the roof because it leaks, and we might build a new rink anyway. Okay fine but the seagulls are probably going to nest on the roof of the new place also because it’s a large flat area that balances distance to food and away from predators along their migration pattern.

My plead to you is lean into the flock, it’s at little late but, technically according to google a group of seagulls is called a colony but that feels weird so I’m sticking with flock. You may think this entire thing is a joke from an outsider out of touch with the local culture brought in as a marketing consultant to boost ticket sales but really has a double agenda. Actually only taking the job as a prank and is going to air the home debut on CBC and at puck drop, dump bird poop like slime onto the fans as the big city audience in Toronto get as hardy chuckle at the expense of small town blue collar workers up north.

I assure, while it may have started as a joke a week ago when I conceived this idea, that naming a team after a ‘nuisance animal’ is a good thing and any fear of novelty is not necessary. It’s evolved into much more than that I see an opportunity to embrace a shitty situation and rally. I want everyone in Sudbury when they see those birds not to feel shame but pride, I want you to see a symbol that can bring a community together and gather at the caw of the Seagulls.


Okay thanks for coming to my ted talk.


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