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US Army might have an issue with the NHL's newest franchise

A member of the Army's Golden Knights demonstration team descends with the American flag, during a jump at Fort Bragg, N.C. on Nov. 22, 2016.

ADEN CAZAREZ/U.S. ARMY

By MARISSA PAYNE | The Washington Post | Published: November 29, 2016

The NHL's newest expansion franchise the Vegas Golden Knights are already facing some stiff competition, but not on the ice. Their first challenge, it appears, is descending on them from above in the form of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, which has been called the Golden Knights since the 1960s. The Army isn't quite sure it approves of the hockey team borrowing its name.

"We're reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be," Army spokeswoman Alison Bettencourt told the Fayetteville Observer this week.

Bettencourt said the Army only found out about the name of the new Las Vegas-based franchise on Wednesday, a day after Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley announced it in a high-profile ceremony at the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

Foley, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was well aware of the name of the parachute team. In fact, he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that he wanted to incorporate that Golden Knights parachute team into the ceremony, but "it got kind of complicated."

Foley already ran into trouble with the Army when he wanted to name the team the Black Knights, the nickname of West Point's sports teams, but the academy has trademarked the name.

That isn't the case with the Golden Knights. Although the Army has used that nickname for decades to refer to the top-level parachute team, Foley may have the legal rights to it. In August, he applied to trademark that name (along with the Silver Knights and Desert Knights, just in case). The case is being reviewed.

"We understand that one of the Las Vegas team owners (Bill Foley) has Army connections, and will likely understand our interest in this announcement is meant to protect the proud history of the Army's Golden Knights and their vital role in telling the Army story and connecting America with their Army," Bettencourt said.

In addition to the parachute team, the Golden Knights nickname is also used by Clarksburg College. According to Yahoo Sports, Foley got permission from the school to use the moniker for the NHL franchise before he announced it last week.

The Vegas Golden Knights are scheduled to play their first NHL season next year.

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