Dakota Unveils New Name, Uniforms

When the Dakota Rapids take the ice next season, they’ll be doing so under a different name.  Team owner Roger Scott revealed on Friday that starting in the 2017 season, the Rapids will be known as the Dakota Jackalopes.

“This has always been Dakota’s team,” said Scott.  “We’ve always looked for ways to increase our ties with the local community.  But when I’ve talked to our fans, both in the arena and out on the street, they’ve told me that the name ‘Rapids’ didn’t really resonate with them.  It felt a little too generic.  So I thought: what says Dakota better than a jackalope?”

Although the first jackalopes originated in Wyoming in the 1930s, they quickly spread to South Dakota and have been a mainstay of local folklore ever since.  While the actual creature can be elusive, mounted heads and jackalope-themed merchandise can be found all over the state.  Perhaps the most famous example is the giant jackalope statue located at Wall Drug.

“I expect the new name to be a big hit,” said Scott.  “If you don’t love the jackalope, you have no heart.”

Along with the name, Scott unveiled the team’s new logo – a roundel with a leaping jackalope in the center – as well as new uniforms.  The new unis retain the crimson and cream from their previous color scheme; however, green is no longer present in the team’s uniforms or logo.  The new threads also retain Dakota’s triple-stripe motif.  The leaping jackalope crest is prominent on both home and road uniforms.

New Home Uniforms

“Our old uniforms were too busy and didn’t establish a consistent look,” Scott noted.  “We wanted something clean and fresh, while still being traditional and tied to our old look.”

Star LW “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston, who modeled the new home jersey at the event, is excited about the new name.  “To me, it’s the perfect name,” said Airston.  “Jackalopes are fast but ferocious, just like us.  They look cute from a distance, but you don’t want to mess with them up close.  Plus, you all know how I feel about bunnies, and the jackalope is a close cousin.  I love it!”

G Christien Adamsson, modeling the road jersey, shared Airston’s enthusiasm.  “It’s a name that’s perfectly local,” said the South Dakota native.  “The fans here will go crazy for it.”

The defending SHL champion Michigan Gray Wolves, one of Dakota’s rivals in the West, issued a press release congratulating the Jackalopes on their new name.  “We look forward to doing battle with the Jackalopes next season,” read the release.  “We’re sure there’s no truth to the rumor that Dakota’s odds of winning the Vandy are slimmer than the odds of finding a jackalope in the wild.”

Interview of the Week: Ryan Airston

Dakota RapidsOur interview of the week is with Dakota Rapids LW “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston.

SHL Digest: We are here today with “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston, a player for the Dakota Rapids.

Ryan Airston: Hi, everybody!  It’s cool to be here.

Ryan Airston
“Flyin’ Ryan” Airston

SHLD: We’re happy to have you here! So, one of the most popular questions people have is: how are you so fast?

RA: Well, every day I skate 50 laps around the arena to work on my speed.  Also, I eat a lot of carrots, because bunnies eat carrots, and they’re fast.

SHLD: Many people don’t know about your fluffy bunny ranch and your love for bunnies. Can you tell us a little more about that?

RA: Sure!  I come from a long line of bunny ranchers.  At my ranch back home in Manitoba, we’ve got over 200 bunnies.  They’re so cute!  The fluffier, the better.  Sometimes I just go in there, grab a couple bunnies, and hug them.

SHLD: Wow, that is a lot of bunnies! I am glad you have something that inspires you.  Many players don’t have something so unique!

RA: Thanks.  When I was a kid, a lot of guys made fun of me.  They called me “Bunny Boy.”  But then I started skating past them and scoring goals, and they stopped laughing.

SHLD: So, switching topics: how do you think your team has been doing?

RA: I think we’re off to a strong start!  It’s a tough division – Michigan and Anchorage are really good – but we’ve got the best offense in the league.  We’re going to be hard to beat!

SHLD: It is true, your offensive statistics are quite impressive. Are there any areas in which you think the team could use improvement?

RA: Well, Coach is always telling us that we need to hit more guys.  I don’t know about that, but we play so fast and we can get burned sometimes.  We’ve got to take care of the puck in our own end.

SHLD: Lastly, if you could say anything to the other teams in the SHL, what would you tell them?

RA: I’d say that we may not be the biggest or the toughest guys, but you’d better watch out, because we’re going to blow by you and on to the championship!

SHLD: Good choice! Well, good luck to you and your team; keep going fast! Thank you so much for letting us have an interview.

RA: My pleasure!  It was neat talking to you.