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Posted 2016 Feb 15
It is, as we all know, a reasonably common occurrence for minor league teams (particularly those owned by a major league team) to use the same nickname as their parent team. But what do you do when you're in the same city as your parent team? Obviously it doesn't work to have (for example) an AHL team called the Colorado Avalanche which is affiliated with the NHL team called the Colorado Avalanche. I suppose having an AHL team called the Colorado Avalanche which was affiliated with the New York Islanders wouldn't work much better, but you get my point.
This (an NHL team having its AHL affiliate in the same city) has happened a few times in the history of the NHL, but not enough to form any general pattern. Once, the affiliate simply had a name that had nothing to do with the NHL team's name (Montreal Voyageurs). Another time, the affiliate shared with its parent team the fact that its nickname was alliterative with the city name, but otherwise had nothing in common (Philadelphia Phantoms). Twice, the name of an older team in the area was pressed into service (Toronto Marlies* and Manitoba Moose). Once the team had existed in another city and was moved to the same city as the parent team, and it simply kept the old name (Edmonton Roadrunners, previously the Toronto Roadrunners). And once, the team had a name which was a diminutive of the parent team's name (Boston Cubs).
When the San Jose Sharks moved their affiliate to San Jose, their options were limited. The affiliate couldn't keep the name they had had in the previous city, because they had previously been the Worcester Sharks. They couldn't use the name of an earlier team in San Jose, because the Sharks were the first team in San Jose. Going with another alliterative name wasn't an option, because "San Jose Sharks" isn't alliterative (not by sound, at least) in the first place. And they couldn't use a diminutive word for "shark", because there's not a recognizable diminutive for "shark" (marine biologists call baby sharks "pups", but nobody other than marine bioligists hears "pup" and thinks of a baby shark).
But the Sharks came up with something that in my mind is quite clever: they found a creature whose name is effectively synonymous with "sharks". I'm not saying that barracudas are sharks; of course they aren't. But imagine that you're playing "Taboo" and the word you've got to get your partner to say is "shark". You might very well come up with "It's a big, scary fish" as your hint. Now imagine that you're playing "Taboo" and the word you've got to get your partner to say is "barracuda". Again, you might very well come up with "It's a big, scary fish" as your hint.
I wish I could be as upbeat about the logo, but I can't. I don't mind that the barracuda they've drawn looks aggressive to the point of parody, because actual barracuda look aggressive to the point of parody. But we've got the usual sins on display: the anthropomorphization, the unnecessary inclusion of hockey references. And what the hell is that thing in the background supposed to be? The Sydney Opera House? What has opera got to do with barracuda, anyway? I'm fairly certain there's not an opera called "Barracuda" unless you count the web browser Opera†, which doesn't count in this context. Also, I'm reasonably certain that the Sydney Opera House isn't in San Jose because it's not called the San Jose Opera House.
Then again, look at the Sharks' logo. I'm fairly certain the logo designer was told not to make the Barracuda's logo look better than the Sharks' logo, and that was a fairly low bar to stay below. Call it Logo Limbo, if you will. The quality of the logo is only allowed to stay so high, or you're out. Any logo that I would have liked would almost certainly have been eliminated. So to the person who designed this logo, let me say that I do not blame you. I blame the guy who made the lousy Sharks' logo.
And if it turns out that the same person made both, let me simply say...well, um...*cough*...what I meant to say was...um...
I hear Sydney's lovely this time of year...
Final Score: 38 points.
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