Team pounces on SteelHounds name
Officials predict the team's home site will be known as the Dog Pound or Hound Pound.
LIBERTY -- When Herb Washington first heard the name SteelHounds suggested for his minor-league ice hockey team that will play in the Youngstown Convocation Center, he knew it had potential.
"I said, 'Not bad,'" the former Oakland Athletics baseball player said. "Let's leave that one [on the possibilities list]. SteelHounds -- that tells me something strong."
On Wednesday, the same day the National Hockey League finally closed the door on the 2004-05 season, Washington unveiled the name and logos for his expansion franchise that will begin play in November for the Central Hockey League.
Referring to the main logo, which features a snarling bloodhound with the team name grasped in its mouth, Washington said, "SteelHounds tells me it's a mascot for something, and I'm liking what I see."
Michael Fetsko of Boardman, a financial planner for Wachovia Securities, submitted the name in the franchise's name-the-team contest and will receive season tickets and an authentic jersey.
"[We] have the dog motif here between the [Cleveland] Browns and the [Mahoning Valley] Scrappers, so I figured what else could we call a dog?" said Fetsko, a former season-ticket holder for the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I read an article about the English hunts in terms of the hounds going after the fox, and it was bad news for the [fox]."
Grant Buckborough, SteelHounds general manager, said the franchise received more than 2,600 entries in the contest. Team officials studied the pros and cons of each, with an eye toward marketing.
"Herb and I narrowed the list to 25 names, then to five," Buckborough said. "This name stood out above all the rest. We thought of marketing spinoffs with the mascot and merchandisewise. You almost know the arena is going to be known as the Dog Pound or maybe the Hound Pound."
Washington and Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey wore prototype home and away jerseys during the unveiling. The team's colors are Navy blue, steel gray and rust.
Reason for the name
McKelvey said the SteelHounds name refers "to our past and to our future, and the strength and tenacity of this community."
One reason SteelHounds was selected is it needs no explanation, Washington said.
"A lot of names eliminated themselves. Blast was a name we considered, but it would have taken a lot of articulation to explain it," Washington said.
Also considered were names of birds and fish indigenous to the Mahoning Valley.
"But it kept coming back to where we were going to have to explain it," Washington said. "SteelHounds -- that says hockey.
"We wanted a positive spin," Washington said. "For example, the Hitmen in some cities would be an OK name, but not in Youngstown, given our history."
Convocation Center progress
As for the convocation center taking shape in downtown Youngstown, McKelvey said that he intends to announce today the awarding of approximately $15 million in arena contracts, mostly to local contractors.
Fulfillment of those contracts would mean approximately 85 percent of the convocation center would be completed.
"We're on time line, and we're on budget," McKelvey said.
Attending the unveiling was CHL president Brad Treliving, who said the league became involved when the list was narrowed to 50.
"SteelHounds was the one that just kept coming back," Treliving said. "Initially, when we all heard it, it just sounded right. I think it's just a real strong, clean name and mark."
Noting a similarity to the Scrappers' logo, Treliving said, "Quite honestly, [the Scrappers logo] wasn't anything that we looked at. Right at the end of the process in our office, it was brought up about that the Scrappers use a dog. They are not dissimilar, but I don't look at that as a negative."