Connecticut Tigers announce five finalists in name contest

Norwich — Do you like Norwich Narwhals?

Or does Norwich Golden Roses strike your fancy?

Those names are among the five finalists for a new name and logo for the Connecticut Tigers as the Detroit Tigers’ minor league team prepares to start its second decade in the Rose City. The Tigers launched a new name contest in April and received nearly 700 entries from fans throughout the region.

The team announced that voting will run through Oct. 18 at www.cttigers.com and expects to announce the new team name in November.

“We really enjoyed the passion and creativity shown by our fans through their suggestions,” said Connecticut Tigers General Manager Dave Schermerhorn in a news release announcing the finalist names. “We’re excited to unveil five finalists for names that we feel represent our community’s history as well as the fun and excitement of Minor League Baseball.”

Here are the finalists in alphabetical order:

Norwich Golden Roses: The Golden Roses pays tribute to Norwich’s history as “The Rose of New England,” which led to the moniker of The Rose City. Norwich was known as a center of wealth, commerce and influence. Immigrants coming to the area were told the streets were “paved in gold.” In 1959 a small street was actually paved in tar with gold flakes during the city’s 300th anniversary celebration.

Norwich Mill Mules: The Mill Mules celebrates Norwich’s rich textile history. Large mills sprang up along the three rivers that flow into the city in neighborhoods such as Taftville, Occum, Yantic and Greeneville, which all became “mill towns” where hardworking citizens turned raw materials and goods arriving at Norwich Harbor into American products.

Norwich Narwhals: The Narwhals is a tribute to the Unicorn of the Sea, an arctic toothed whale allegedly seen by merchant sailors as they sailed across the Atlantic from Norwich harbor.

Norwich Salty Dogs: The Salty Dogs celebrates the city’s legendary seafaring captains, and the gritty “tough as nails” attitude the community embraces. A salty dog is a nickname for a sailor who has spent much of his or her life aboard a ship at sea. Many of the buildings still standing from this era in the Norwich Harbor area have plaques with the names of these captains who once called them home.

Norwich Sea Unicorns: An alternative to Norwich Narwhals, the Sea Unicorns name is a tribute to the sea creatures and lore that legendary Norwich sea captains would see and experience during their travels. These captains were known for their skill in avoiding imperial taxation during peacetime and later at eluding warships during war but would also bring back to Norwich tall tales of close encounters with mythical creatures along the way.

The Tigers are working with team branding design company, Brandiose, on the new name and logo. Brandiose designed the team's annual promotional New England Lobster Rolls logo and the logo for the 2013 New York-Penn League All-Star game held at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.

“These are five names that will bring together the family fun and entertainment that Dodd Stadium represents,” Schermerhorn said. “We’re excited to see what the fans think. It’s been an exciting process working with Brandiose.”

Schermerhorn said a logo design will be created once the final team name is selected. And merchandise for the new team brand will be available at the announcement event, planned for mid-to-late November, he said.

Mayor Peter Nystrom, who got a sneak peak at the finalist list last week after swearing secrecy until the team annoucement, said his favorite among the choices is Norwich Salty Dogs. Not only does it reference the many deep sea ship captains who lived in Norwich but also a Marine.

"Also, keeping in mind what a mascot would look like and how that would work in marketing," Nystrom said. "Narwhals is kind of a close second for me, a sea creature. With kids, you could have fun with that."

c.bessette@theday.com

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