The recent past has had some fairly big news when it comes to the names of sports teams in the west. There was, of course, Seattle’s expansion NHL team choosing to dub themselves the Kraken. And while it garnered significantly less attention (and arguably more backlash), the Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL affiliate also made news with its moniker of...uh...the Canucks.
In any case, it got us thinking about some of the other sports teams names we use in this province. Specifically, those used by high school teams.
Now, some might say I have some biases, having grown up here, and I would probably agree. After all, I did go to one of the schools on the list and hated many others. But, with some help from other members of the Vanmag team, we’ve worked to put together a very accurate, tiered list of all 29 (yes, I was also shocked there are this many) high school sports team names in the city.
So, here we go.
The Lazy Tier
31. St. George’s Saints
Man. And yes, I hated St. Georges and everything it stood for with a passion when I was in school. But come on. You really had nothing else?
30. Prince of Wales Walesmen
29. Point Grey Greyhounds
These two West Side schools didn’t lazy it up as much as St. Georges, but they still went for the lowest possible hanging fruit. With PW in particular the argument of “well, what else are they going to do?” is certainly fair. But come on, at least go whalers and give some semblance of gender neutrality.
The You’re Setting These Kids Up For Failure Tier
28. David Thompson Trojans
Not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a fairly popular brand with the same name.
The What’s That Tier
27. Vancouver Technical School Talisman
A Talisman can either be an object, like a ring or stone, that’s said to have magical powers, or it can be a leader of a group. Either way, it’s confusing and male-centric and just not very good.
The Irish Tier
26. St. Patrick’s Celtics
25. Vancouver College Fighting Irish
Really original takes here that certainly haven’t been done by every Irish or Catholic adjacent school in North America.
24. Notre Dame Jugglers
Okay, Notre Dame gets points for originality here, they really went off the board. But with great creativity comes great responsibility. And...it just doesn't really work? Jugglers is sorta lame and doesn't go well with Notre Dame either. Again, props for not going with, like, the Notre Dame Leprechauns, but it wasn't quite enough to get out of the Irish tier.
The King Tier
23. King David Lions
22. King George Dragons
The Random Bird Tier
21. Crofton House Falcons
20. St. John’s Eagles
19. Eric Hamber Griffins
18. Vancouver Christian Phoenix
The latter two are at least a little interesting, as Falcons and Eagles are very run of the mill and don’t seem to have anything to do with Crofton or St. John’s. Eric Hamber gets points for cool colours, and Vancouver Christian (which I had never heard of until now), actually kinda pulls off having Phoenix as a name.
The Random Animal Tier
17. Magee Lions
16. York House Tigers
Like Falcons and Eagles, Lions and Tigers are also everywhere, with both names appearing twice on this list. I was a Magee Lion: I like the name and think it works well, but I’m under no illusions here.
15. Fraser Academy Mustangs
I had barely heard of Fraser Academy before writing this, but Mustangs is a pretty cool name, and one you don’t get very often.
The Decent Alliteration Tier
14. Killarney Cougars
I’m a sucker for alliteration as I really do believe it can make a mediocre name into a solid one. Unless you’re the St. Georges Saints, of course. Killarney certainly doesn’t do badly here, but we needed a K name to really kick this thing into gear.
13. Stratford Hall Sabres
Sabres is fairly rare, so that’s a plus. And Stratford Hall is more or less unheard of, so that helps with the intrigue factor. But Stratford and Sabres are quite different sounds, and it doesn’t work as well as some of the alliteration in the next tier.
The Good Alliteration Tier
12. Sir Charles Tupper Tigers
11. Templeton Titans
Two really solid T names here. Templeton gets the higher ranking because Tigers are everywhere as we previously noted.
10. West Point Grey Academy Wolves
This is usually shortened to West Point Grey Wolves, and that works pretty well. Not just because of the W alliteration, but because you get a bit of colour with grey wolves. And unlike greyhounds we don’t get the brutal repetition.
9. Windermere Warriors
Another 'W' name and a stronger one at that. Warriors is a tiny bit cliché, but it works very well here. Really clean, tidy name.
The I See What You Did There Tier
8. Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs
The man the school was named after was nicknamed the Bulldog, so this is fitting and smart. Of course, there’s the very valid question of whether a school should even be named after this person. (Though really, there are probably a lot of uncomfortable truths in many of these names, given almost all have white settler roots.)
The Out of Nowhere But Very Awesome Tier
7. Ecole Secondaire Jules Verne Albatross
Wow, Ecole Secondaire Jules Verne. You’re just blowing our minds here with this name. This school is up near Oakridge and while we’ve passed it a bunch of times on the 37th Ave bikeway, we’ve never really thought about it. That won’t be the case anymore—Albatross is seared into our minds.
The Colour Tier
6. Lord Byng Grey Ghosts
This one is tricky. Routinely mocked when I was growing up on the West Side—what the F is a Grey Ghost anyway?—the name does have a pretty cool origin story. That and its originality make it hard to hate. But, uh, why do they wear red?
5. Kitsilano Blue Demons
Another original name, this one is fairly iconic thanks to Kitsilano’s relative basketball prowess. Creative, fun and slightly mysterious, it’s just a good name. Of course, the only thing that can top it is...
The God-Level Alliteration Tier
4. Britannia Bruins
Despite the despicable NHL team that uses this name, it’s hard to argue with this one. Very sharp.
3. Little Flower Academy Angels
This is god-level, so we have to have the angels. There were a bunch of ways LFA could have gone here when it comes to alliteration. But Angels just fits really nicely—despite someone I know aptly pointing out that he’s never met an Angel from there.
2. Gladstone Gladiators
I mean, come on. An absolutely perfect name that the good folks at Gladstone thankfully didn’t overthink. In almost any other city, we have to imagine that it would be an easy number 1. But...
1. John Oliver Jokers
Maybe it’s the originality. Maybe it’s the way it rolls off the tongue. Maybe, just maybe, it’s my fondness for the Batman franchise. But man, is that a perfect, original and hilarious (while still potentially intimidating) name or what?
All these teams are out here calling themselves Tigers and Lions and Dragons—JO just wants to know: Why so serious?