Can the Cleveland Indians use an old Hockey team name?

Josh Brook #8 of the Laval Rocket (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Josh Brook #8 of the Laval Rocket (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball need a new name. Maybe they should look to their City’s hockey history for some inspiration. 

The big news of the sports weekend came from the Cleveland Indians, who announced they will replace their famous team name.

Well, they’re not going to do it just yet. In the team’s official statement they explained the Indians name will still be in use for the 2021 Major League Baseball season. So they’re still the Indians, for now at least.

More from Puck Prose

While the team searches for a new name it might find a few options in the City’s hockey past. Cleveland currently doesn’t have an NHL team. The closest NHL market is Columbus, home to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cleveland does have its own AHL franchise with the Cleveland Monsters, however.

At one time the City did have its own NHL franchise with the Cleveland Barons. The Barons name could be a potential replacement for the Indians. The Barons name is a part of Cleveland sports history, being the name of the AHL franchise that came before the California Golden Seals relocated.

Red was a major part of the Barons color scheme, just like the Indians, although the red was paired with black as opposed to the navy blue used by the Indians.

The Indians might be turned away from using the Barons name due to its infamous place in sports history. The Barons were the last team of the four major sports leagues to officially fold, as in not relocated but just stop operations entirely in 1978. The team merged with the Minnesota North Stars, who continued to exist. Naming a fledging franchise after a failed one might not be the best marketing gimmick after all.

Cleveland had another professional hockey team as well with the Cleveland Crusaders of the World Hockey Association. The Crusaders played from 1972-1976 and were owned by Nick Mileti not once but twice. Mileti also owned the Cleveland Indians at the same time as an interesting connection between the two.

Francisco Lindor
Shortstop Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Crusaders left Cleveland in 1976 when the Cleveland Barons came to town and became the Minnesota Fighting Saints. History would repeat itself with the Barons merging with a Minnesota team two years later.

When it comes to choosing a new team identity, the Barons name might have an edge over the Cleveland Crusaders. The Barons share red as a primary color with the current Indians logo and branding. The Crusaders went with purple and black.

Then comes the questions of who still legally owns the team names. A forum on Out Of The Park Baseball mentions that some WHA trademarks are still active while others are not. According to the USPTO report, the Cleveland Crusaders logo and name are owned by Sports Logos International LLC as of 2020. The Cleveland Barons name and logo was last registered in 2013 and is currently available.

Next. Is third time the charm for Dougie Hamilton?. dark

Maybe the name of an old Ohio hockey team will live on in the sport of baseball. If they do, you’re welcome for the idea Cleveland. Hire me to do your sports marketing.