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Cleveland Monsters -6

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Posted 2024 January 12

It probably won't surprise you to learn that there are legends in Ohio about the Lake Erie Monster, much like Scotland's Loch Ness Monster. If it does surprise you, I'm not sure why. There are legends about lake monsters all over the place — Lake Champlain on the New York/Vermont border, Labynkyr Lake in Russia, Lake Tota in Colombia, Lake Van in Turkey, et cetera, and so forth, und so weiter. There are also river monsters, swamp monsters, bay monsters...basically, it's almost more noteworthy when a body of water doesn't have a monster associated with it. How much of this has to do with sailors typically being superstitious and how much has to do with sailors typically drinking shit-tons of rum, I can't say. But no one should be surprised that there are legends about a Lake Erie Monster.

It's not even the only one of the Great Lakes to have one: the only one that doesn't have one is Lake Superior, and the only reason Lake Superior doesn't have one is because it has two. Were I a little more prone to believing in such things I'd wonder if one of them wasn't to blame for the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But no one else has made that claim, and since I'm fairly certain these legends are in fact just legends, I'm not going to try to suggest that.

Anyway, thanks to the legend about this monster — its nickname is Bessie, in case you're wondering — when it came time to name Cleveland's new AHL team in 2007, the team went with the Lake Erie Monsters. (For anyone familiar with AHL history who's wondering why they didn't just go with that old standby, the Cleveland Barons, it's because another team called the Barons had just left for Massachusetts.) For their logo, they went with a somewhat mysterious drawing where you can only see Bessie's eyes and the top of its head. It was left to the viewer's imagination what the rest of the monster looked like; in legend Bessie is generally described as a very large snake, but if you wanted to picture this creature as having the body of a a plesiosaur, an octopus, or even a human, there was nothing to dissuade you. There was also no sense of scale, leaving it to the viewer's imagination whether Bessie was about the size of a small whale, a large whale, a plesiosaur, or the whole freaking lake. I thought it was a great logo for leaving so much to the imagination. Monsters are supposed to be scary, and this way you can imagine it to be whatever scares you. Scared of snakes? Well, then, it looks like a snake. Perhaps your fears lean more toward spiders? Fine, now it's a gigantic, lake-dwelling spider. Granted, it doesn't work for every fear — my biggest fear is heights and I don't see how this monster turns into heights — but it's pretty versatile.

In 2016, the team changed its name to the Cleveland Monsters, but aside from replacing Lake Erie with Cleveland, they kept the logo. Now they've changed the logo, but the essentials have remained the same. Once again, you can only see Bessie's eyes and the top of its head. Once again, the head is black and the eyes yellow. Once again, there's no sense of scale or hint or what the rest of the creature looks like. And once again, the result is brilliant. The result is a mysterious-looking creature with nothing silly or goofy about it. Like it's predecessor, it's one of the best logos in all of minor league hockey.

Final Score: -6 points.
Penalties: Name-Logo, 2 pts.
Bonuses: Cool Logo, -5 pts; Local, -3 pts.

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