North Dakota Nicknames (Not That One)

Nicknames have always intrigued me. I enjoy hearing the stories behind them and looking at the logos that have come to represent them. I also think it's interesting to see which nicknames/logos have withstood the test of time, and which ones have been altered in some sort of "modernization" effort, or in the interest of political correctness.

I've been covering South Dakota sports for over six years now, so I am well versed in the variety of nicknames that the state has to offer. In fact, I'm confident that I can pair just about every school in South Dakota with the appropriate nickname. Go ahead, test me...I dare you.

Since I'm new to the North Dakota sports scene, I spent some time recently looking through the different schools that I may cover here at Midco Sports Network. I was not disappointed with what I found. Here's a few of my favorites.

Central Cass Squirrels

I have been unable to nail down the story behind this one. I even went as far as calling the school. The receptionist said she had been at the school for 15+ years, but had no idea where the nickname came from. Needless to say, I think my question caught her a bit off guard.

The logo is actually pretty cool, though squirrels aren't the most intimidating creatures. I'm all for it, as long as there's a cool story there. Stay tuned for an update.

(Update: I got ahold of a school administrator. He, too, was unsure of the nickname's origin, but promised to do some digging. Well, it turns out the real answer is a bit of mystery, even at Cass Central. "No one had any good information," he admitted. " [People I talked with] think it came from the fact that there are a lot of squirrels living in the trees in town.")

Seems a little weak, but I guess it fits. My hopes for a good background story appear destroyed, but I guess I'll survive. I still think the logo is pretty cool...for a squirrel.

Grafton Spoilers

I haven't been able to confirm this, but it sounds like Grafton's nickname is quite literal. Apparently  they've played the role of the "spoiler" so many times that they just kept it as their nickname. Again, I'm not sure how much truth there is to it, but the thought is awesome. I want it to be true.

Nothing flashy about the logo, but I never get tired of looking that "G" (Packer fans know what I mean).

Minot Magicians

Minot, N.D. is known as the "Magic City," which commemorates the city's dramatic increase in size over a very short period of time in the late 1800s. I was actually somewhat disappointed to learn it had nothing to do with the act of magic. I had also heard a rumor that famed illusionist David Copperfield hailed from Minot, but unless the city has been renamed Metuchen, N.J., that appears to be false.

Overall, the nickname is solid. I think the logo could stand to be updated a little, though I'd hesitate to make a dramatic change. I don't think you'd want it to lose that classic feel, and it would be easy to take it too far.

Napoleon Imperials

The Imperial Guard was a group of elite French soldiers that served under the direct command of Napoleon I. They were basically his bodyguards.

I don't often encourage major logo makeovers, out of respect for tradition. But there is a lot of unrealized potential here. Lose the crown and give me a mean-looking soldier. I realize we are talking about a school with just over 100 students, and that financial support for a "fresh look" is probably limited. Just offering some thoughts.

New Salem-Almont Holsteins

Not much debate on how this nickname came about. Since 1974, New Salem, N.D. has been home to the world's largest holstein cow, Salem Sue. She is 38 feet tall, 50 feet long and weighs approximately 12,000 lbs. (insert "got milk?" joke here)

The logo is basic, but it gets the job done. I'd like to see what an artist could do with it.

Valley City Hi-Liners
Named after the Hi-Line Bridge, which is one of the longest and highest single-track railroad bridges in the country.
I'd be interested to hear how they came up with this design. I'm sure having a bridge for a mascot limited creativity a bit. All things considered, I think this is pretty well done.
If your nickname/logo didn't make the list, don't take it personally. These were the most unique, which was really the only criteria I had coming into this. There are other great names out there, so please feel free to share any that you feel deserve some recognition.
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