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Sask. Rush consider 'Horny' for mascot name

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The search is on for a mascot name for the Saskatchewan Rush and it’s down to two choices, one of which is too controversial according to a marketing expert.

The lacrosse team recently unveiled a new bison logo and took to social media for help naming its new mascot with an online vote leaving "Horny" and "Rowdy" locked in a near-tie, according to the team.

University of Saskatchewan marketing professor David Williams says one of those names could be a liability for the team.

"'Horny' is just self-explanatory and it will work in the short term, but it’s going to be a derogatory image," Williams said.

Williams says the sexual connotation of the name "Horny" is inappropriate for a sports team that encourages families to attend and might send a mascot to schools and other children’s venues.

"As we’ve learned from Regina, it may have worked years ago but it won’t work in this day and age," Williams said, referring to the "Experience Regina" marketing blunder earlier this year.

The two finalist names for the new Rush mascot came out of a larger list submitted by the public which also included the names: Bash, Buff, Franklin, Thunderhoof and Charger.

Sask Entertainment Group, the company that owns the team, recently picked the name of its new baseball team, the Saskatoon Berries, through a similar crowd-sourcing campaign.

Williams said this style of campaign can leave the decision-makers at the whim of submissions which can be unreliable.

“Rush fans are very passionate, and we thought it would be a great way to engage our fans, get them talking and get them to know the new mascot,” said Tyler Wawryk, vice president of business for the Rush.

Wawryk admits having the suggestive name in the running has created a buzz around the mascot they were hoping for.

“Perhaps there was a little bit of risk with that. At the end of the day we do have some control so we felt the final names, while they might be silly, they didn’t cross the line into being offensive,” Wawryk said.

The name "Rowdy" is slightly ahead at the moment, but Wawryk says the names reflect their fan base and product.

"It’s unlike anything else in the province and that’s who we are and we’re not going to shy away from those bigger bolder conversations. If we do something we’re going to jump in with both feet."

The team plans to hold an in-person tie-breaker vote for the new mascot's name on Nov. 18 at the Rush merchandise store at 105-2803 Faithful Avenue.

Sask Entertainment Group also owns the Saskatoon Blades.

Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Saskatoon Entertainment Group also owned the Saskatchewan Rattlers.

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