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The Bemidji Yellow Snow. . . or how about the Fighting Pike?; Possible IFL team names that didn't make the cut

BEMIDJI -- More than 1,200 entries came in to the name-the-team contest for Bemidji's new Indoor Football League franchise.

That's a record for an IFL name contest, said Chris Kokalis, president and co-owner of the new Bemidji Axemen.

"Axemen" had the most entries, a total of about 20, but that wasn't the sole reason the name was chosen. "It was a tough decision," he said.

So, what names didn't make the cut? Before unveiling the Axemen name and colors, Kokalis listed off some nicknames that didn't pass the sniff test, some for obvious reasons.

In no particular order, here's some of the best:

• Bemidji Beast

• Bemidji Buzzsaw

• Minnesota Sasquatches

• Bemidji Comets

• Bemidji Blue Ox Warriors

• Bemidji Voyageurs

• Bemidji Riverdogs

• Minnesota Minions

• Bemidji Fighting Pike

• Bemidji Fighting Dragons

• Bemidji Blue Oxen

• Bemidji Norsemen

• Bemidji Lakers

• Bemidji Warlocks

• Bemidji Choppers

• Bemidji Blue Beasts

• Bemidji Lightning

• Bemidji Blizzards

• and, of course, last but not least, the Bemidji Yellow Snow, which elicited the most laughs from the audience at Thursday's press conference.

Kokalis said Blizzard was ruled out right away because the Green Bay Blizzard already play in the IFL. Team officials also were leary of any names associated directly with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox after the recent dust-up involving the use of the legendary Bemidji icons with a state-operated insurance exchange.

The "Norsemen" was considered, but ultimately not chosen because of the Minnesota Vikings connection.

"I liked the Norsemen, but we didn't really want to invade the Vikings territory and seem like a copycat of the Vikings," Kokalis said. "I think that the Axemen really turned out how we wanted it to."

Matt Cory

Matt Cory is the Editor of the Pioneer. Cory grew up in East Grand Forks and is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. He worked as a reporter, copy editor and editor at the Grand Forks Herald from 1993 to 2013, when he joined the Pioneer as Editor.

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