ANAHEIM — Some NHL teams have fierce nicknames, such as the San Jose Sharks. Others, such as the Minnesota North Stars, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, offer a more regional flair.
Others just sound right: the St. Louis Blues, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins.
So what will Orange County's newest team be called?
How about the "Anaheim Mighty Ducks?"
Walt Disney Co. officials said Thursday they have not picked a name for the company's latest acquisition, although Chairman Michael Eisner said the "Mighty Ducks" would be his choice. That name reflects the title of a movie, released recently by the company, about the exploits of a bumbling youth hockey team.
In the movie, Emilio Estevez is a high-powered lawyer, convicted of drunk driving, who is ordered to perform community service by coaching the team. In the process, he turns them into winners, and they change his life.
But at a press conference Thursday in Palm Beach, Fla., announcing the Anaheim team's creation, Eisner said, "Whenever I suggest the title 'Mighty Ducks,' six people tell me no hockey player will play for that team. The trouble is, if we don't win in three or four years, we might be called the 'Unmighty Ducks'--or worse."
Joking aside, Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly said "Anaheim" deserves to be part of the team's name. The city's two other professional teams, the California Angels and Los Angeles Rams, have refused to use their hometown in their name, saying the city is too small and not well-known nationally.
"I'll be disappointed if the team's name doesn't include Anaheim," Daly said. "We're going to have one of the best arenas in the country, and our city's name should be identified with the teams playing there."
But Angel spokesman Tim Mead said he thinks it is just as unlikely that the new team will bear the name.
"Name a city of 280,000 people that has a team named after it?" Mead said. "Green Bay (for the football Packers). Name another. You can't."
Daly replied: "Yeah, but the Green Bay Packers are a pretty famous team."
When other local movers and shakers were asked to suggest a nickname, they all made reference to the Disney connection. William Bedsworth, an Orange County Superior Court judge and self-described "hockey fanatic," suggested "Beasts" from the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast."
Disneyland President Jack Lindquist tossed out "Mice on Ice." On the afternoon radio sports talk shows, the names "Anaheim Amigos"--the name of the city's old American Basketball Assn. team--and the "Goofys" were offered.
John Wolf, Kings assistant to the general manager, said that when the World Hockey Assn.--a rival league that existed from 1972 to 1979--placed a team in Los Angeles, somebody suggested calling them the "Aces."
"As in 'aces over kings' in poker," Wolf said.
That long-defunct team was eventually called the "Sharks."
Correspondents Mimi Ko and Shelby Grad contributed to this story.