The St. John's IceCaps has been confirmed as the name of the American Hockey League's newest franchise.
The announcement was made at Mile One Centre in St. John's, where the IceCaps — the farm team of the relaunched Winnipeg Jets — will play its home games.
The name has been one of the worst-kept secrets in St. John's, as word leaked last month that former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams had picked it in his effort to return professional hockey to his home city.
Williams, who had registered the company St. John's Ice Caps Inc. in June, said the new name and logo "captures the history and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador." The city's former senior team was known as the "Caps."
The logo features stylized versions of Labrador and Newfoundland forming the left and right sides, respectively, of an iceberg.
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 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," he added.
The name is also an echo of the old St. John's Caps, a team that played in the provincial men's senior hockey league.
The team is owned by Winnipeg-based True North Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the Jets. The AHL franchise had formerly played as the Manitoba Moose.
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 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 (5,100) at the 6,200-seat Mile One Centre will be sold before the season begins on Oct. 14.
By mid-July, 4,700 season passes had been scooped up.