Leeds settles on name for new ice hockey team ahead of 2019-20 National League season

BUILDING BLOCKS: Leeds Chiefs' player-coach Sam Zajac, pictured in action for Whitley last season. Picture courtesy of Colin Lawson.
BUILDING BLOCKS: Leeds Chiefs' player-coach Sam Zajac, pictured in action for Whitley last season. Picture courtesy of Colin Lawson.

LEEDS CHIEFS will be the name of the city’s new ice hockey team when it begins competing in the inaugural National League season in September.

Planet Ice, owners of the new Elland Road rink which is slated for a summer opening, will now set about developing the team jerseys, colours and logos as the clock ticks down on the first-ever season for the sport to be housed in the city.

An artist's impression of what the new Leeds ice rink will look like.

An artist's impression of what the new Leeds ice rink will look like.

Sam Zajac, appointed as the club’s player-coach last week, said it was pleasing the new team had an identity which people could now get behind.

“It’s good to put a name to the franchise and it is another building block for us as a team,” said 29-year-old Zajac.

“It’s another piece in place as we put together all the different components needed for the new season. The ‘Chiefs’ is an identity we can all get behind.”

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Planet Ice asked for the public’s input in helping decide the name, conducting separate polls on their own Twitter feed as well as the YEP website.

‘Cotton Kings’ and ‘Mighty Mammoths’ were the other two options offered, while hockey fans were not slow at coming up with their own suggestions.

And, after voting closed last Friday, the ‘Chiefs’ has now been chosen as the name to move forward with.

“We’re pleased to have finally found a name that strikes a favourable chord with many people in Leeds,” said Planet Ice chief operating officer, Heath Rhodes. “We would like to thank everyone that voted both on social networking and from the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Now we have settled on the name, we will continue the process of coming up with new logos, designs and colours for the team jerseys.”

Zajac is in the midst of putting together his roster for 2019-20 and hopes to make a number of announcements in the coming weeks.

“We’re looking to play an entertaining style of hockey, especially at home, and some of the players we’ve been speaking to so far are definitely excited about having a good product out there on the ice,” said the former Braehead Clan and Whitley Warriors defenceman.

“Off the ice is just as important though and there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to make sure that it’s not just about the game, but about providing a great overall experience for fans who come to see us.”