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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Empire’ is new name for Spokane arena football team

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A locomotive might not fit on an arena football field, but it suits Spokane’s franchise just fine.

The organization on Wednesday revealed its new name – Spokane Empire – and logos – among them a speeding locomotive and the letter ‘S’ with a railroad spike down the center – along with a color scheme of coal black, silver smoke and engine orange, the latter the team’s primary color since its inception in 2006.

Empire is a tribute to the railroad industry, prominent in Spokane’s growth and economic development in the late 1880s and early 1900s, and the Inland Empire, a commonly used phrase to describe the region.

“We wanted to find a name that was unique and also possessed geographical or historical ties to our region,” director of operations Ryan Eucker said.

The team, known as the Shock since its inception in 2006, was forced to rebrand when the Arena Football League, Spokane’s home from 2010-2015, retained Shock trademark rights in mid October. Spokane, now a member of the Indoor Football League, asked the public for name suggestions and received more than 400. Three fans who suggested names for the three finalists will receive 2016 season tickets.

“It’s not really a simple process,” Eucker said. “We had this thrown in our lap and really having a tight time frame as far as ordering jerseys and promotional items, you just jump into it. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.”

Eucker showed the logos and designs to some members of the team’s booster club Tuesday.

“I went through the storytelling aspect and I mentioned Empire before I showed the images and a few people scrunched up their faces like, ‘Where is this going?’ ” Eucker said. “Once I put the images out, they were all super excited about it. We’re keeping the orange and we plan to use the ‘S’ logo, that’s right up their alley.”

The locomotive graphic represents a hybrid train model incorporating several different engines used during the late 1880s and early 1900s. The team involved members of the Inland NW Rail Museum for input. The logos were created by Portland-based graphic designer Brian Gundell.

Eucker said the team initially will have limited merchandise available on line with expanded offerings coming in the near future. Team uniforms and helmet designs will be released in a few weeks.

“Getting through the trademark process was tricky,” Eucker said. “Luckily I feel like everything fell into place.”