Konop files objections to suggested team names


The top names being considered for Lucas County's minor league hockey and arena football franchises appear to have fallen out of the pecking order.

County Commissioner Ben Konop yesterday said "Woodpeckers" and "Peckerheads" would not be suitable names for the teams.

"I have received an overwhelming response to the community forum I started on my blog," he said. "We received at least 100 calls and letters, and hundreds of people stopping me on the street and anywhere I go."

Though the commissioner's objection to the names may carry some weight, the decision is not within his power.

The Toledo Mud Hens, which created a not-for-profit organization called Toledo Arena Sports Inc. to own the teams that play in the county's new downtown arena, have sought the rights for "Walleye" and "Woodpeckers" team names through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Ultimately, it is our decision, although we welcome the suggestions," said Jason Griffin, spokesman for the Mud Hens.

"Before [Mr. Konop] even started the blog, we had a committee here come up with over 300 names and possible nicknames, and nothing has been officially decided," Mr. Griffin said.

Filings with the patent and trademark office also showed that the Mud Hens are staking claims on "Peckers" and "Peckerheads" for an arena football franchise, which numerous county and arena football officials have confirmed could be coming to Toledo in 2010.

Mr. Konop said he'd strongly suggest against those names because they are "not family-friendly," even though they have merchandising value.

"We want a team to rally behind and that is certainly not Woodpeckers," he said.

"We are building the arena for which the teams would play in there is a certain degree of autonomy we want to give the Mud Hens, but on this issue I would strongly urge them to avoid going down the path of the Woodpecker," Mr. Konop said.

He said he received many alternative suggestions that use a variation of "Frog" or "Frogtown" as team names.

Toledo Arena Sports, in a statement released earlier this month, said: "Sports fans throughout the community have been sending Toledo Arena Sports suggestions for team names for nearly a year now. We are pleased that the interest level has been high and look forward to reviewing all of the suggestions presented, many of which are terrific."

A list of more than 300 names for consideration, "all names that are indigenous to the area," has been developed, the statement said.

Joe Napoli, general manager of the Hens, could not be reached for comment last night.

He previously has told The Blade that Toledo Arena Sports intended to register other names with the patent and trademark office.

Those interested in submitting names online can do so by going to http://apps.co.lucas.oh.us/lcblog.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.