It’s been two years since I last released my top 10 picks for best high school nicknames in Connecticut for the GameTimeCT magazine. There have been some changes since. Some schools have moved away from Native American nicknames. Some of the new choices are unique, some are RedHawks and one was the RedHawks, but has since switched back.
This list is open to all nicknames for high schools across the state.
You should know that I am a fan of a unique nickname and those that have a specific connection to the school or town.
Below the list is some bonus fun information about nicknames in the state.
So, without further ado I present to you the list of the top 10 nicknames in the state decided on by me, and only me. OK, ok you can add your favorites to the comments below.
Wait, before the top 10 here are some that just missed the cut.
(In no order): Sharks (Sacred Heart Academy), Ravens (Innovation), Noises (Hale Ray), Gladiators (Classical Magnet, Goodwin Tech), Clippers (Putnam), Phoenix (HMTCA).
No. 10 Guardians (Glastonbury)
Call it recency bias. Over the summer, Glastonbury decided to move away and phase out the Tomahawks nickname. The school district allowed a new nickname to be picked by the students and faculty. Earlier this month it was announced the school’s athletic teams would be known as the Guardians. Excellent choice says me (who’s favorite movie happens to be The Guardians of the Galaxy). Guardians means defenders and protectors and what better to defend the school than its athletics programs. It also gives a new meaning at Glastonbury to “Protect this House.”
The school is currently taking submissions from their students for a new logo, but I mean I think we all know it should be Groot.
9. Whalers (New London)
As I am sure many of you know, whaling is a very big part of the history of New London. According to the Norwich Bulletin whaling goes back as far as the 1700s in New London. According to the same article at one-point New London was the third-biggest whaling post in the United States. That all ended in 1908, but the name lives on at the high school where New London athletes represent the history of their town with the name Whalers across their chest.
No. 8 Wolverines (Abbott Tech, Griswold, Oxford)
Back in 2018 when I was a young lad (28), I was watching the Griswold softball team punch their ticket to the state championship game. I was hanging in the press box, speaking with fellow reporters from across the state when I turned to Lori Riley of the Hartford Courant and said how cute wolverines are, and how they are just more fierce raccoons. Boy, was I incorrect? After Lori corrected me and gave me a quick wildlife lesson, I have come to respect and mostly fear wolverines.
No. 7 Beavers (Cheney Tech, Weaver)
The Weaver Beavers, I mean is there a better school and nickname that rolls off the tongue? Beavers build dams to protect themselves from their enemies and are a lot tougher than their size indicates. Which works well for both Weaver and Cheney Tech.
No. 6 Centaurs (Woodstock Academy)
Half human, half horse. Sign me up. Created in Greek mythology, the Centaurs have super strength. Centaurs in Harry Potter (Hufflepuff, what up) can magically heal and shoot arrows really well. Centaurs are so cool that a certain former MLB MVP was rumored to have a photo of himself as a centaur.
No. 5 Nighthawk (Newtown)
Hawks are scary, they’re fierce. Imagine a hawk chasing you at night. At least that is what I gather from the Newtown nickname. Newtown used to be the Indians until 1996 when then principal Bill Manfredonia decided to change it. Also, whenever I am in Newtown for a game or a story, I stop by a local bar – Cover Two Sports Café – to pick up their signature sandwich, the “Nighthawk Burger” which is a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger in between. *Chefs kiss.
No. 4 Kangaroos (Terryville)
One of the smaller public schools in the state has one of the best and most unique nicknames. It is so beloved that in 2014 it was up for the Best Mascot in the country in a contest held by USA Today. Kangaroos are tough and should not be messed with. The history of the Kangaroo and Terryville dates back to the 1940’s when a cheerleader brought a stuffed animal kangaroo to practices and games. Now that’s a great story.
No. 3 Raptors (RHAM)
Raptor Music is ready to go! pic.twitter.com/69Q0sGG8dD
— RHAM Music (@RHAM_Music) September 2, 2020
Call it recency bias part two, I don’t care, as evident by this top five selection. Earlier this year RHAM decided to drop its previous mascot – Sachems. In May, the school district announced the school’s nickname would be Raptors, which received 70 percent of the vote by students, according to the Journal Inquirer. Where my Jurassic Park fans at? Yes, the T-Rex was big and bad in the movie, but true fans know that the raptors were the scariest and most dangerous.
No. 2 Bellringers (East Hampton)
Ring, ring, ring. There is a reason why East Hampton is known as Belltown USA. East Hampton has a long history of bell making – dating back to the 1800s. Name a type of bell and it has been made in East Hampton. At one point there was 30 different bell companies in the town and most notably the Bevin Brothers remain to this day. The Bevin Brothers produced the first bicycle bells and even made souvenir bells for the presidential campaigns of Calvin Coolidge and Thomas Dewey. There isn’t a more perfect nickname in the state… or is there?
No. 1 Hatters (Danbury)
While East Hampton was producing bells for most of the country, the city of Danbury was becoming one of the biggest hat manufacturers in the country. Nicknamed the ‘Hat City,’ the factories produced five million hats a year in the 1880s, according to the New England Historical Society. Though the decline of the hat industry caused the factories to close their doors, the last in 1965, the name Hatters lives on through the high school sports teams. While both Bellringers and Hatters are great names with great history, the tiebreaker is the school colors and the logos and right now there is no better logo and color combination than Danbury’s blue and orange.
Now that the top 10 has been complete, here are some fun (I think) facts regarding nicknames in the state.
Most used nicknames in the state
(Career Magnet, Cromwell, E.O. Smith, East Windsor, Kaynor Tech, Masuk, Plainfield, Platt, Platt Tech, Pomperaug)
(Civic Leadership, East Catholic, Enfield, Grasso Tech, Kennedy, Tolland, Trumbull, Wethersfield, Wolcott)
(Canton, Hall, Norwich Tech, Valley Regional, Wamogo, Wilton, Windsor, Wright Tech)
(Avon, Fairfield Ludlowe, Fitch, Joel Barlow, Prince Tech, St. Paul, Xavier)
(Bethel, NFA, Old Lyme, Seymour, Suffield, Wilby, Wolcott Tech)
(Bolton, Bulkeley, Bunnell, Crosby, Lyman Memorial, Stafford))
(Amity, Lewis Mills, Maloney, Shepaug, Somers, Waterbury Academy)
(Bullard Havens, Daniel Hand, Mercy, Ridgefield, SMSA, Tourtellotte)
Most used colors in the state
Blue (Devils, Dragons, Knights, Wave)
Coginchaug, Plainville, West Haven, Middletown. Southington, Darien
Red (Devils, Hawks, Raiders)
Stratford, Manchester, Derby, Torrington
Golden (Bears, Eagles, Hurricanes)
Thomaston, Ellis Tech, New Britain
Green (Dragons, Knights, Wave)
Hamden, Notre Dame-West Haven, New Milford
Most used animals in the state
Panthers (Career Magnet, Cromwell, E.O. Smith, East Windsor, Kaynor Tech, Masuk, Plainfield, Platt, Platt Tech, Pomperaug)
Eagles (Civic Leadership, East Catholic, Ellis Tech (Golden), Enfield, Grasso Tech, Kennedy, Tolland, Trumbull, Wethersfield, Wolcott)
Falcons (Avon, Fairfield Ludlowe, Fitch, Joel Barlow, Prince Tech, St. Paul, Xavier)
Wildcats (Bethel, NFA, Old Lyme, Seymour, Suffield, Wilby, Wolcott Tech)
Tigers (Bullard Havens, Daniel Hand, Mercy, Ridgefield, SMSA, Tourtellotte, Windham Tech (Mighty))
Bulldogs (Bolton, Bulkeley, Bunnell, Crosby, Lyman Memorial, Stafford)
Rams (Bristol Central, Cheshire, New Canaan, Old Saybrook, Rockville)
Bears (Granby, Norwalk, Stonington, Thomaston (Golden))
Hawks (Manchester (Red), University, Vinal Tech, Woodland)
Lions (Bassick, Foran, Northwest Catholic, Wheeler)