27 March 2023

What's in a name? Why the proposed A-League men’s team needs to be called Canberra United

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra United

Canberra United W-League: if we make it to the big time, the name should remain. Photo: Supplied.

Putting aside the continued debate over the location of a new stadium, nothing, it would appear, generates more heat than the naming of Canberra sports teams.

There will be speculation over potential players, coaches and so forth, but the community verdict on the name of the proposed A-League men’s team will be forensically scrutinised.

I have no doubt there will be community angst if the proposed new Canberra A-League men’s team is named anything other than Canberra United.

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I believe this for a number of reasons, including the concept of the bids for a Canberra team over the years have focused extensively on being founded on a grassroots base.

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) also intends taking over the licence of the existing Canberra team in the A-League women’s, Canberra United.

There will no doubt be negotiations with the owners of the name and the team at Capital Football, but it would be a travesty if there was a forced name change because a resolution couldn’t be found.

Canberra United fits perfectly with the community ethos of the proposed A-League men’s and women’s club.

It’s impossible to imagine returning to the Cosmos or the Canberra City Arrows. They relate to a bygone era.

The previous Canberra team in the Women’s National Soccer league was known as the Eclipse for reasons that escape me.

Like the Cosmos and the Arrows, the Eclipse name appeared to have little connection to the city.

The same applies to the Comets in cricket and the Cannons in the NBL.

We had the Canberra Cannons, the Canberra Comets and the Canberra Cosmos: they sure loved alliteration in the 1980s. Photo: File.

The Comets, I would assume, relates to rising stars, while I’m not sure why the Cannons were called the Cannons. Mind you, it’s better than the Hunter Pirates and the Singapore Slingers.

Thankfully the ACT Rugby Union dismissed a suggestion to call the Super Rugby team the Senators and instead went with the Brumbies, a reflection of the free-running wild horses in the adjacent high country.

That free-running approach became synonymous with the Brumbies from day one, proving more than a match for a side named after a flower.

Brumbies logo

The Brumbies brand is recognised globally as the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise. Photo: ACT Brumbies.

The origins of the Raiders’ name hasn’t been fully clarified and it might always remain a mystery. I want to think it’s a reflection of the Canberra region’s raid on the NSWRL in the 1980s as opposed to being a name extracted from American sport.

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The Capitals have the name that probably best reflects the city, although a close second comes the Canberra men’s and women’s hockey teams, the Canberra Chill.

The Canberra Brave ice hockey team is possibly looking enviously at the more aptly named field hockey name, although the Brave has certainly been courageous.

Given the bushranger activity in the Canberra region in the 1800s, the Bushrangers seems to resonate as a Canberra team name and was applied in the Australian Baseball League from 1992 to 1995.

ice hockey players

The Canberra Brave: the name isn’t relevant to the ACT (but if you’re playing ice hockey, bravery helps). Photo: AIHL.

As the APL lines up aspects of the proposed A-League men’s team in Canberra, you can be assured debate over the name has already begun.

Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.

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