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A Troll Is Trying To Hijack The University Of North Dakota's Search For A New Nickname

When we last checked in with the University of North Dakota in the spring, they had convened a nickname committee to trawl through thousands of nominations to find something suitable to replace the Fighting Sioux. On July 21, the nickname committee met and agreed on five finalists (but not before sitting through a trademark presentation that featured ten slides of games of Minesweeper, I shit you not):

  1. Fighting Hawks
  2. Nodaks
  3. North Stars
  4. Roughriders
  5. Sundogs

And this is how the 11 committee members present voted to whittle down the list from seven to five, and their initial rankings (lower numbers are better):


This is where we get to the fun part. A man by the name of Marlan “Hawk” Haakenson, who just so happens to be the former mayor of Bismarck—the capital of the state and its second largest city—went ahead and registered trademarks in the state on Fighting Hawks, Nodaks and North Stars, and only declined to register Roughriders and Sundogs because of already existing registrations.


Now, Haakenson did attend rival North Dakota State, but he’s not trying to fuck with UND out of a particularly devilish sense of trolling. No, according to the Bismarck Tribune, he’s doing so because he supports UND and the Fighting Sioux nickname:

Haakenson, who attended North Dakota State University but says he’s a supporter of the Fighting Sioux nickname, said he registered the trade names Fighting Hawks, Nodaks and North Stars with the North Dakota secretary of state in order to prevent UND from using them.

“As far as I’m concerned, [UND president Robert] Kelley will never get permission from me,” Haakenson said. “I’ll use every legal means I have to stop him from using the names.”


Aww, damn. Here I thought Haarkenson was simply following in the time-honored tradition of screwing with your college rival, but instead he’s clinging to an outdated nickname that at least one Sioux tribe (the Standing Rock Sioux) deems offensive and that citizens of the great state of North Dakota overwhelmingly voted to retire.

UND doesn’t seem too concerned, however:

UND spokesman Peter Johnson said Haakenson’s trade name registration shouldn’t prevent the nickname selection process from going forward.

“We would not be engaging in any real estate activity (using the trade names) so that shouldn’t be an issue for us,” Johnson said. “It’s not uncommon to have the same name among sports teams. But it’s even more common to have the same names in different endeavors.”


For what it’s worth (nothing), I prefer the Nodaks.

[Bismarck Tribune]

Photo via Getty; h/t Katie


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