As you can see above, the Lake Erie Monsters were a direct play on a lake monster legend. It made sense since there are stories of monsters in lakes across the world, so the Lake Erie franchise played directly off their local monster stories in naming the team and designing the logo. Being the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, they appealed to a larger community than just Cleveland in that they represented a larger chunk of Ohio with the "Lake Erie" name.
After the success that Cleveland had as a city on the sports scene last season, though, the Lake Erie Monsters decided to make changes after seeing two major championships come to town. And just so you know, I'm not a fan.
No, this change has all the marks of ownership narcissism as Dan Gilbert has branded the two teams he owns as "Cleveland" and changed them to the same colour scheme. As an owner, I suppose he can do whatever he likes with his teams when it comes to calling them what he wants and having them wear whatever he likes, but the name "Monsters" now means nothing when it comes to the logo they wear.
The name of the Lake Erie Monsters came from the legend of Bessie, a reported monster who lives in Lake Erie. According to legend, the first sightings of Bessie came in 1793, and there have been reports of sightings of the snake-like creature throughout the last few hundred years. The first sighting happened in Sandusky, Ohio in 1793, some 65 miles to the west of Cleveland. Another early sighting happened in Toledo, Ohio, nearly 120 miles to the west of Cleveland. There are reports of sightings up and down the Lake Erie coast, making the legend of Bessie a part of the Lake Erie coast communities. In other words, the AHL team's name was more about the entire coastal communities of Ohio than just the city of Cleveland.
Dan Gilbert has done incredible things for the city of Cleveland, and his lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the Cleveland Cavaliers and their successes. But to make the Lake Erie Monsters into the Cleveland Monsters and recolour them in the Cavaliers' colours is ridiculous. The Monsters no longer will look anything like their affiliate in the Blue Jackets. Instead, they're walking billboards for the main tenant at QuickenLoans Arena in the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Had the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors this past season, I'm not sure that change in name and team colours would have happened. The team claims that these changes have been in the works for a few years, but it seems a little too coincidental for the changes to occur after the season that the Cavaliers win the NBA Championship. In any case, the Cleveland Monsters will take to the ice in the jerseys seen above as the reigning AHL champions in 2016-17.
It's just too bad they had to cut out all of the other Lake Erie coastal communities that were brought together by the Monsters name.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!