What's in a name?

With the discussions regarding the naming of the Ottawa team, I though it would be interesting to know how the current teams were named.

I did a bit of research and found that the B.C. Lions were name for the twin peaks that overlook the City of Vancouver and not the large cats.

Calgary seems like an obvious reference to the rather big party that they host every year.

Edmonton got their name from the Esquimaux Rugby Club which existed as far back as 1892.

Perhaps some of you may know the history of other team names.

Well, I think it was the Argonaut Rowing Club in the beginning. The Tiger-Cats were a merger of the Tigers and Cats :lol:

The Alouettes name someone thought up as a lark. Supposedly, the skylark was a popular game bird for the early habitants.

Weren't the bombers named after a WWII team? As for the 'riders, I believe they were named after the Frisco Roughriders :wink:

The Tiger Cats were a merger of the Tigers & Wildcats. I believe the name Blue Bombers came from someone in the press who likened their play to then heavyweight champion Joe Louis aka "the Brown Bomber"

The Ottawa team changed their name to the Rough Riders in 1898 after Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Rider cavalry unit that fought in the Spanish-American War. The team also took on the colours of that unit, red and black. In 1924, the team decided to change their name to the Ottawa Senators, whereupon the Regina Rugby Club, who also wore red and black at the time, changed their name to the Regina Roughriders (spelling it wrong, but that's a different story). A few years later, Ottawa went back to its traditional name, which didn't lead to any confusion until the two leagues merged years later. Who can forget listening to those Rough Riders / Roughriders games on the radio?

And Saskatchewan's green and white uniforms? They were the only ones on sale when their old red and black ones needed to be replaced.

When the Hamilton Foot Ball Club was formed in 1869, it chose the colours of orange and black. By 1872 (the year the Argonaut Rowing Club formed a team and started competing in the same league as Hamilton) they were being called Tigers and the nickname stuck. When World War II broke out forcing many of the teams to suspend operation, the local military team was formed. They originally wanted to use Tigers name and colours, however they were refused permission, so they kept the feline theme by calling themselves the Wildcats (also Flying Wildcats for a couple of years) and had red and white as their colours. Unlike the rest of the other military teams, the Wildcats chose to stay in operation after the war, but it proved to be problematic having two teams operating in Hamilton (in seperate leagues mind you), so it forced a merger in 1950 resulting in the colours and names also being merged creating the modern black, gold, and white Hamilton Tiger-Cats we know today.

That's the concensus version of things but I tried to look into it once and was never able to support it. Quite the opposite. I found Ottawa Citizen newspapers articles dating back to 1922 which made reference to the Senators. I also found some up to 1928 which referred to the team as both the Senators and Rough Riders. Here's one from 1925 which makes reference to the Rough Riders.

[url=http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qJAhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8ZcFAAAAIBAJ&dq=ottawa%20rough%20riders&pg=4834%2C6229168]http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qJ ... %2C6229168[/url]

It may be that Senators was a nickname (like Boatmen for the Argos). Maybe it was only registered with the league for those two years so that's why "officially" the 1925 and 1926 teams. I have no idea.

The Ottawa story starts in 1897, when the Ottawa City Football Club (or Ottawas) was suspended from QRFU (Quebec) play for rough play. One player, Hal Walters, was given a lifetime suspension for attacking a referee.

In 1898, the Ottawas turned to the ORFU (Ontario) as a place to play. Game 2 of the ORFU season saw the Hamilton Tigers in Ottawa to play the Ottawas. The game appeared to go off without a hitch but on the train ride back to Hamilton, the Hamilton press spun a story about rough play. The Hamilton papers claimed that the QRFU knew what they were doing when they tossed the Ottawas from its league. The Ottawa City Football Club was called a number of derogatory names over the next few days; one of those names was "Rough Riders".

Ottawa businessman Fred Carling ran with the name "Rough Riders" and he had buttons made up bearing the name "Ottawa Rough Riders". Week 4 of the season saw the return match in Hamilton. An extra car had to be added to the train so that all of the Ottawa fans could accompany the team. Nearly every one of the fans wore one of the Carling buttons.


Here is the Carling button.

It was in this game that Ottawa unveiled its new uniforms which were red and black (the same colours as the Rough Riders in Roosevelt's army). Prior to this game, the Ottawas wore black and white jerseys.

The Rough Riders name stuck with the Ottawa football team until 1906. In 1907, Ottawa joined the new IRFU (Big Four) with a team that was made up of the Rough Riders and St.Patrick's College. This combined team played as the Ottawa City Football Club or "Ottawas". The team continued to play as the Ottawa City Football Club every year except 1913. In 1913, the city team and university team combined and played as the Ottawa City University Football Club.

The name Senators appears a couple of times in the Ottawa Citizen prior to World War I. After the war, the name Senators appears more often until it gains wide use by all newspapers in the mid 1920s. It is uncertain whether "Senators" was ever made official as both "Senators" and "Ottawas" were used until 1930.

In the Ottawa Citizen, the only references to "Rough Riders" were in regards to the team colours. A few papers outside of Ottawa used the "Rough Riders" name to describe the team as well.

It was on October 1, 1931 that the name "Rough Riders" officially returned to Ottawa. Prior to the exhibition game against the Montreal Nationals (CNR team), the Ottawa team unveiled their new black and white jerseys and announced the return to the former moniker. The team would return to red and black uniforms for the 1932 season.

There you go. It makes you wonder why so little of this finds its way into the "official" story.

I had heard the use of the name Rough Riders as basically an insult as a theory and it made sense to me because the only time I came across the name for a number of years was in papers from other town. It suddenly starts popping up again far more regularly.

You are correct. Here's the story from the Bombers' website:

While the Winnipeg's were playing a 1936 exhibition game against the University of North Dakota, young Winnipeg Tribune sports writer Vince Leah remarked, "These are the Blue Bombers of Western football" - coining the phrase from Grantland Rice's moniker for then heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis a.k.a. The Brown Bomber. From that day, the Winnipeg Football Club has been known as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

I heard the Winnipeg nickname came after a fortune teller had a vision of the team bringing in a guy named Mack and what a bomb he would turn out to be.

here is some good info. most of which I heard before

i am somewhat lead to believe ottawa used senetors as an offical name for at least one season, as its listed as such as a grey cup champion in 1925 and 1926