It did not take long for St. Louis to learn the name of its XFL franchise.
The St. Louis BattleHawks were the first of eight teams revealed Wednesday morning during a short video that was streamed simultaneously across XFL.com, ESPN.com and FOXSports.com and the league's social channels.
“The XFL is about football and fun, and our team identities are intended to signify just that,'' XFL President and COO Jeffrey Pollack said in a league press release. “Now it's up to our fans and players to help write the story. What happens on the field and in the community in the years ahead will determine the true spirit of each team.”
The St. Louis BattleHawks logo features a sword between a pair of wings.
The video, which was emceed by XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck and featured ESPN host Laura Rutledge and Fox Sports host Colin Cowherd, featured eight short films produced to share the origin story of each team name. Following is the St. Louis BattleHawks story:
ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS: Winged warriors. Preparing for flight. Preparing to fight. They await their orders. Then attack as one. Diving, dodging, swooping, striking. Their mission: create chaos. Their mandate: win at all costs. The St. Louis BattleHawks. Cleared to engage.
The new team, which will begin play at The Dome at America's Center downtown in February, is one of eight in the XFL. The others: New York Guardians, Tampa Bay Vipers, Seattle Dragons, Los Angeles Wildcats, Washington D.C. Defenders, Houston Roughnecks and Dallas Renegades.
The BattleHawks will celebrate their new team name and logo with a fan appreciation party Wednesday from 3-8 p.m. at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in the The Grove. The celebration will feature St. Louis BattleHawks President Kurt Hunzeker, team football operations personnel and more.
Hunzeker, a St. Louis native and University of Missouri graduate, previously worked as the vice president of marketing strategy and research for Minor League Baseball. Before that, he spent half a decade as a senior director of brand marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings, where one of his first projects was working on the relaunch of the brand's football helmets.
“Football has always been in my blood,'' Hunzeker told Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson after being hired in June. “From Day One, St. Louis has always been in my blood. When you are the typical sports-crazy kid from St. Louis, the opportunity to lead one of the professional teams is literally a dream come true.”
Hunzeker continued: "This is truly going to be a St. Louis team. We are going to be 100 percent community-centric and absolutely fan-focused in everything we do. Unlike the other seven XFL teams, we are going to be the only professional football team in town. That's something we don't take lightly. We are going to be everywhere.”
In April, longtime NFL player and assistant coach Jonathan Hayes was introduced as the team's head coach and general manager. The 56-year-old Hayes coached the Cincinnati Bengals' tight ends for the last 16 seasons under Marvin Lewis. A former second-round NFL draft pick, Hayes was a standout at the University of Iowa who played nine seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and three more with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Before joining the NFL as a coach, Hayes spent four seasons as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator under Bob Stoops at the University of Oklahoma. Stoops is head coach of the XFL's Dallas Renegades.
Here's how Twitter users reacted
BattleHawks? Was NinjaSpiders taken?— Scott Petre (@MrPetre2You) August 21, 2019
Which is best?
Tampa Bay Vipers isn’t awesome, but it beats the hell out of “St. Louis BattleHawks”. That sounds like a rejected HeMan toy idea. https://t.co/NVK66rAvZz— Heath Cline (@heathradio) August 21, 2019
5) (cont.) BattleHawks is a bizarre name choice, and I don't see how it fits the city at all. And that logo looks like it was ripped straight from The Legend of Zelda. Yikes.— Braden Johnson (@SportsBraden) August 21, 2019
6) Seattle Dragons - another case of the mascot not matching the city at all. Why? Just, why?
Renegades = 👍🏻— Brooks Roland (@BrooksRoland82) August 21, 2019
Roughnecks = 👎🏻
Wildcats = 👎🏻 too generic
Guardians = Ok, could be better
Defenders = 👍🏻
BattleHawks = 👍🏻
Dragons = 👍🏻
Vipers = 👎🏻 (would’ve gone with either Bandits like the USFL days or something shark-related) https://t.co/SNfY2WXnuz
Battlehawks— Fragile Straight Cis White Male (@ColinLGlover) August 21, 2019
Too close to a rival?
@XFLStLouis Question ... Why would a St l. Louis team go with anything Hawks?? Biggest NHL rival is the Blackhawks..— Ryan Johnson (@SIR6Rhino) August 21, 2019
Some fans of the name
The #STL #XFL team honors our sports, aviation, and namesake history, #IMO. Hawks NBA Franchise, military plane/jet manufacturing, battle sword for King Louis IX (logo). I like it. @xfl2020 @XFLStLouis #BattleHawks pic.twitter.com/6YHi9IqhVJ— DominicThomas (@Dominic_Thomas9) August 21, 2019