The group bringing CFL football back to the capital in 2014 has yet to pick a team name, but it appears “Ottawa Rush” is a leading candidate.
Earlier this month, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which is embarking on a half-billion-dollar partnership with the City of Ottawa to redevelop Lansdowne Park and start expansion franchises in the CFL and North American Soccer League, launched a contest asking fans to help “name our teams.”
The Citizen has learned an OSEG subsidiary company created to operate the CFL team has already applied to trade mark a handful of variations of the Rush name, including Rush Football Team, Ottawa Rush Football Team and Rush.
The company is also in the process of trying to secure the trademarks FC Ottawa and Ottawa FC — potential names for the NASL team — though efforts to grab those started back in 2009. It’s unclear whether or not they’re being considered for the soccer franchise.
Applications for the Ottawa Rush monikers were filed with the federal Canadian Intellectual Property Office Nov. 29, about a week before the team name contest started.
Sports franchises commonly snap up potential trademarks and Internet domain names before squatters can get to them and flip them for a big markup, and some of the marks and sites are never used. The Ottawa Senators, for example, created a logo during a recent redesign that never made it onto a jersey.
The football company hasn’t moved to register any other possibilities with the intellectual property office yet, however.
According to an Internet database search, the domain name www.ottawarush.com is currently registered to the Ottawa 67’s hockey club.
In an interview Thursday night, 67’s owner and OSEG partner Jeff Hunt confirmed Ottawa Rush is a strong candidate.
“I can say that that’s a name that’s been suggested,” he said from Las Vegas, where he was attending CFL presidents’ meetings. “I think it’s a good name and one worthy of consideration.”
So far, there have been more than 3,000 potential names submitted to the website nameourteams.com.
Hunt said OSEG is in the process of whittling the names down to the strongest dozen or so possibilities before representatives from the branding company it has hired arrive in Ottawa for meetings early next week.
“Obviously, it’s our intention to select a name that we think is most representative of what we’re trying to achieve and go forth, and really the branding company can’t start to do their real magic until we have the name,” Hunt said.
“That’s going to be one of the first orders of business. Let’s choose a name and let’s start building a brand around it.”
The second order of business for Hunt and Co. will be making a final call on who serves as general manager of the re-born football franchise.
“We’re going through a process and, just like the names, there was many great applicants that have come forward, and some people that we’ve approached and we’re starting to narrow down our focus,” he explained.
“We expect the timing of the naming of our brand and the unveiling of a new general manager to be January, perhaps early February.”