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7 Sports Teams Named After Weather Disasters

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Apr 15, 2015

The southern and western regions of the United States are known for action-filled weather events; hurricanes, earthquakes and lightning storms, just to name a few. Unsurprisingly, several cities in those regions have selected weather disasters as the names for their fierce sports teams.

In honor of the NHL and NBA playoffs, we’ve collected several of our favorite weather-based sports team names. Take a look…

Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)

Tampa Bay Lightning
[Image via Wikipedia ]

Located in the “Lightning Capital of the World,” it’s no surprise that Tampa named their hockey team after one of Florida’s most dangerous weather conditions. That’s why in 1990, a thunderstorm inspired past Tampa Bay Hockey president to name his team the “Lightning.”

Miami Heat (NBA)

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With humidity at 73% and summer temperatures nearing 100°F, it makes sense that Miami named their basketball team after the Florida heat. Team General Manager Zev Bufman said, “When you think of Miami, that’s what you think of.”

Miami Hurricanes (NCAA)

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Miami is considered one of the most vulnerable cities to hurricanes. It seems appropriate that its NCAA football team is aptly named after the weather disaster. The team’s mascot is an ibis, a white bird typically seen in South Florida. Folklore says the ibis is the first bird to leave before a hurricane strikes and the first to return when it’s over.

Tampa Bay Storm 

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Florida is definitely unlucky when it comes to weather disasters. The Tampa Bay Storm arena football team is the fourth Florida team with a weather-related name. Originally from Philadelphia, the team moved to Florida in the 1990s and changed their name from “Gladiators” to “Storm.”

Colorado Avalanche (NHL)


[Image via Wikipedia]

This team’s name caused quite a stir in 1995. Critics claimed that “Colorado Avalanche” was insensitive due to the dangerous nature of avalanches. Eventually, a marketing team member defended the name, saying, “This is the NHL, a rough and tough sport, and Avalanche is something that matches the 'on the edge' feel they want to create.”

The controversy blew over the following year when the Avalanche rolled over the Florida Panthers to win the 1996 Stanley Cup. Many of us Floridians are still recovering 20 years later…

Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)


[Image via Wikipedia]

A relatively new franchise, Oklahoma City took the sports world by storm when they named their professional basketball team. A weather phenomenon that can be frequently heard across Oklahoma, the owners wanted “thunder” to become synonymous with their team’s ideals of “perseverance, selflessness, community and winning.”

In 2012, the NBA Finals pitted the Miami Heat against the Oklahoma City Thunder in an epic clash of teams with weather-based names. The Heat won 4-1 and LeBron James was named MVP.

San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

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In 2000, the San Jose Clash became the San Jose Earthquakes, borrowing the name from a NASL team that was popular in the area in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The new name changed the game when the Earthquakes won their first MLS Cup Championship in 2001. 

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