Vegas Golden Knights: Why Is the U.S. Army in a Flap Over Newest NHL Team’s Logo, Colors?

The Vegas Golden Knights’ already-remarkable season just took a really weird turn.

The Golden Knights should, by the standards of almost every NHL expansion franchise before them, be fighting against the cellar floor of the Pacific Division. Instead, a team composed of bits and pieces no one else really wanted has the second-most points in the league.

The NHL’s newest franchise may have met its toughest opponent yet though in, uh, the United States Army.

In what seems, honestly, like a fairly touchy if not massively oversensitive move by an organization that likes to characterize itself as rough and tough, the Army filed a challenge with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Wednesday.

Its contention? That the name "Golden Knights" belongs to its parachute hockey team. The Army also claims it has, "common law rights in color scheme black+gold/yellow+white," according to a statement published by ESPN, which conflict with the Vegas Golden Knights’ uniforms. The Army first filed its complaint in September 2017.

ESPN points out that the Golden Knights have never tried to hide their martial inspiration. Their owner, Bill Foley, is a West Point Military Academy graduate. “Bill Foley is a West Point guy, sort of using those colors,” general manager George McPhee told The Washington Post in June 2017.  "You know his history at West Point. You know about the classmates he had lost serving this country. So, those colors mean a lot to us."

Foley apparently originally wanted to call his team the Black Knights in honor of the Army, before concern from the NHL that that name could clash with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Golden Knights had a pretty funny response to the Army’s complaint. “We are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game,” they said, quoted by ESPN.

It’s all pretty weird, both because you’d have thought the Golden Knights could have sorted this out before it became a problem and, well, that the Army might have used some common sense.

The Golden Knights, as they’re known for now, need to respond by February 19 or the team could lose the trademark, according to Deadspin. The Army, it seems, is more of a credible hockey opponent than most of the Western Conference.