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UND nickname list: Analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly

Looking for a nickname, UND accepted suggestions from the public, and came up with a long list of nickname possibilities (more than 1,000), as well as a long list of suggestions that won't be considered.

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Looking for a nickname, UND accepted suggestions from the public, and came up with  a long list of nickname possibilities  (more than 1,000), as well as a long list of suggestions that won’t be considered.

Many of the suggestions are great, but a few joke names (intended to raise the hackles of NDSU fans, poke fun at UND fans or perhaps somehow undermine the school) did get through, as far as I can tell.

I’m going to pull out a few suggested names here that are interesting, either for positive or negative reasons and write about them.

Let me be clear here:  I am not taking a position here on choosing a name. I’m not taking specific position on anything. Views expressed here are mine, not those of the Grand Forks Herald. I’m probably not even going to read the whole list. And you’re free to disagree with me in the comments, as long as you’re polite and civil, not vulgar and don’t make personal attacks.

Abdominal Snowmen: Assuming this person meant “abominable” instead of “abdominal,” this is a cool suggestion. Unfortunately, it’s not gender-neutral, so it probably wouldn’t work that well. If the person actually meant “abdominal snowmen,” maybe the idea was to intimidate the opponent with our amazing chiseled abs. That doesn’t work for me. I think I last saw my abs in 1988.


Aeronauts/Aeros: This suggestion pays tribute to UND’s aerospace program, which is nationally known. Some of the notes do connect “Aeros” with “arrows” and hearken back to the old nickname, but that’s a pretty big stretch.  Aviators is a related possibility that seemed quite popular.

Auroras: Cool idea, but really hard to draw and even more difficult to makelights1_0 a mascot suit for. It puts me a bit in mind of the Quasars, the team name of Southwest Star Concept School before it went back to being Heron Lake-Okabena. The school had a mural of stars showing the name, and it was fairly unique – but a little odd, too.

Badlanders: Hearkens to the terrain in the west. At the same time, the Badlands National Park is in South Dakota, and this might confuse people.

Berserkers: A callback to North Dakota’s Norse heritage, as berserkers were known for frenzied fighting in Scandinavia. Modern people may not know of the berserkers’ supernatural traits – despite not wearing armor they couldn’t be hurt by edged weapons or fire, and they went into a kind of battle-trance before fights. Some could supposedly transform into animals, so this would also be a bit like calling ourselves the Werewolves.

Blizzard: While very “northy,” and certainly something one associates with North Dakota, this might be a little abstract and tricky to draw as well. Would our mascot be a snowball? A field of white? Three sparkly snowflakes with lots of glitter? A lot of people suggested this, though!

Bombers: Meant as a shoutout to UND’s aviation program, I’d really hesitate to recommend this. Void of context, “bombers” are generally known for attacking soft targets and killing civilians with explosives. Lately the primary association with the word “bombers” is probably terrorism. Probably best to pick something else.

Dragons: Everyone loves dragons. Some are good, some are evil, some warlike and dragonsome wise. They also seem to be enjoying a recent popularity surge thanks in part to “Game of Thrones.” You can make them cute, you can make them fearsome, and dragon suits are probably easy to purchase. Not seeing a downside here, but I’m extremely partial to dragons and have two on my desk at work, so I will freely admit some bias here.

Drillers: I see the Oil Patch connection, but evoking dentists probably isn’t a great idea, even if they are feared by many. And there are other negative connotations here as well.


Ermines: It might be best not to be named after a creature best known for being made into coats for wealthy people. But that’s just my opinion.

Eternal Flame: Meant to tie in with UND’s current logo. Those who aren’t religious may not know that this is the common name of the candle on many churches’ altars that never gets put out. And everyone can probably see there might be an issue with “flamers.”

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