Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pick The Name Contest In Ottawa

As if there wasn’t already some pressure with the holiday season looming.

Now, Ottawa, the owner of the city’s new professional football and soccer franchises is offering you a chance to name the clubs scheduled to begin play at Lansdowne Park’s new stadium in 2014, but the catch is that you must offer suggestions by Dec. 16.

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group launched the English-language website and the French-language counterpart on Wednesday.

Jeff Hunt, president of OSEG Sports Properties, said the relatively tight timeline was necessary because of factors related to design and production of logos and jerseys.

In the case of the CFL expansion franchise, that deadline is February. “There may be a little more time on the soccer side, but not much,” Hunt said.

Besides proposed nicknames, respondents may offer their reasons supporting each suggestion.

The only caveats are specific to football: Rough Riders, the name of the longtime CFL club that died in 1996, is prohibited under terms of the expansion agreement with the league; and club owners just don’t want to revived Renegades, which was used by the 2002-2005 franchise.

“It’s not just a name, but it’s (also) a whole brand and logo and look and feel and image for the team,” Hunt said.

John Pugh, president of the team that will represent Ottawa in the North American Soccer League, said the goal was, “to choose team nicknames that have widespread appeal to all age groups.”

The hiring of team personnel is expected to begin early in the new year.

First up for the soccer club will be a head coach. That individual will be responsible for scouting and signing free-agent players. NASL rules mandate a roster of between 20 and 35 players, with a maximum of 30 designated as active for each game.

As for football, much of Hunt’s daily activity revolves around filling the position of general manager, with hundreds of applications and expressions of interest.

He said he planned to come up with a top-10 list, then to start at No. 1 and work through the candidates until he found the right one.

“Lots of good football people have come forward,” Hunt said. “We are going to get a good football guy, not matter what.

“Obviously my job is to find the best guy from who’s out there.”

Although the new franchise won’t play until 2014, pending expected completion of work on the new Lansdowne stadium, the team to be named later will have the ninth pick in each of the first four rounds of the Canadian college draft next spring.

The expansion draft in which Ottawa will select current players from other CFL clubs will be next December.

Teams are currently limited to 75 players under contract during the off-season, 68 players by the start of training camp (not including that year’s draft choices), an active roster of 42 and a reserve roster of four.

(Ottawa Citizen)

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