Since Jan. 19, big changes have been happening in the Western Canada college tracking hockey landscape with the news that five Alberta Junior Hockey League teams have agreed to terms with the British Columbia Hockey League to join it for the 2024-25 season.
One of those teams is the Blackfald Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are located 13.5 kilometres north of Red Deer in central Alberta. In the BCHL, Alberni Valley’s team is already called the Bulldogs, which makes this a very interesting situation when it comes to next season.
The question now becomes whether Alberni Valley will change the name it has had for over 20 years or will the upstart Blackfalds have a new identity after making the move to the BCHL.
Well, in my opinion, Alberni Valley isn’t changing its Bulldogs name anytime soon, so I’m going to see what other options there are for Blackfalds.
The Blackfalds AJHL team is the result of the Calgary Mustangs falling into financial trouble in 2019 and finding a feasible situation for the club. Owners Doug and Jodie Quinn bought the Mustangs after they took a leave of absence to figure out their financial situation. The Quinns moved the team to Blackfalds and named them the Bulldogs. They could return to the Mustangs name as a kind of a tribute to the team’s history.
While doing research for this article, I was trying to find the history of Blackfalds to see if there was anything significant in the city’s history that could work. I found that the Blackfalds name comes from a Scottish hamlet. The Highlanders’ name comes from the city’s historical roots in Scotland and is a great nickname for a hockey team.
This one worked for another team in the Ontario Hockey League when the Belleville Bulls became the Hamilton Bulldogs – except this is just the other way around. Blackfalds could drop the “Dogs” part of the name and just be the Bulls. Alberta is a huge cattle ranching province with many ranches in and around Blackfalds including one owned by former National Hockey League player and coach Darryl Sutter two hours away in Viking, Alberta.
One of the many animals that call Blackfalds home is the red-tailed hawk. The area has numerous animal sanctuaries surrounding it that are home to the hawks, and what a great logo I imagine this could potentially be.
This name ties into the Bulls name mentioned above with the cattle ranching history of Alberta. The name Wranglers pays homage to the ranchers who have made Alberta home for generations. With the Brooks Bandits joining them, it also kind of plays off their name as ranchers — or Wranglers — would fend off “Bandits” from stealing their cattle.
The Screech Owls
This one is slightly far-fetched but would be fun if it happened. The eastern screech owl calls parts of Alberta home and the team name could also pay tribute to the children’s book series The Screech Owls by Roy MacGregor, which is about a hockey team that also solves crimes. If they go with the reference to the book series, it could potentially attract more kids and families to the games.
I’m sure that Doug and Jodie Quinn have an idea of what the team will be called before next season, including sticking with the Bulldogs. If they do decide to go with a new moniker, I’m sure it will be fantastic and I can’t wait to see what the logo and jerseys look like.