"Why the name Pittsburgh Penguins?"
(I would like to thank Bob Grove for allowing me to use the following excerpt from his book, "Pittsburgh Penguins: The Official History of the First 30 Years". Book plug: "Pittsburgh Penguins: The Official History of the First 30 Years" is available through Taylor Publishing in Dallas. Call 1-800-935-7799 to get your copy.)
There was a lot of work to be done, of course, and one of the first tasks
was naming the team. (Part-owner Peter) Block was adamant that it would not be
called the Hornets. "There was some (support) for it, but I basically said I
wouldn't allow it," he said. "The Hornets were a minor-league team. I knew we
were going to get some bad players (in the expansion draft), and I didn't want
to be called just another minor-league team."
The obligatory newspaper contest was launched in the Post-Gazette, but
(part-owner Jack) McGregor's wife, the former Carol Dangerfield of Edgewood,
had already found one she liked.
"When Jack got the franchise, he was so thrilled," she remembered. "Then he
said, 'Oh my gosh, we've got to name it.' I said, 'I love to think of things
like that.' I was thinking of something with a P. And I said to Jack, 'What do
they call the Civic Arena?' And he said, 'The Big Igloo.' So I thought, ice. .
. Pittsburgh. . . Penguins.
"We talked about other names, but we kept coming back to the Penguins. Our
friends really liked it. We pictured the uniforms being black and white."
McGregor believes word of ownership's choice leaked out, which explained
why more than 700 of the 26,000 contests entries bore the name Penguins.
Ownership's choice was announced on Feb. 10, 1967, and five days later the name
of Emily Roberts of Belle Vernon was drawn as the contest winner, making her
the first Penguins' season ticket holder.
Notes from Bob Grove:
There was some serious opposition to the name, even by members of
the management. GM Jack Riley didn't like it at all. Riley, by the way, was the
guy who gave the Penguins' first uniforms their colors: Columbia Blue, Navy
Blue and white. They copied the colors of the famed St. Michael's Majors
junior team in Toronto.