Providence or Rhode Island?
Both Rhode Island Reds and Providence Reds were the names that referred to the team during its 51-year history. To local fans, the club generally was called the R. I. Reds. Around the rest of the American Hockey League cities it was the Providence Reds.
In researching news releases issued from the AHL office throughout the years, the name Providence was mainly used to note the team?s place in the standings, its scoring statistics and schedule. In towns like Hershey stories would read, ?Providence Reds visit the Bears tonight.?
This identification in part probably stemmed from the fact that the corporate ownership of the team was listed as the Providence Hockey Club. Locally, though, the team almost always was called the Rhode Island Reds, the nickname referencing the well-known breed of poultry that is native to Rhode Island and designated as the official state bird.
Therefore, local news articles, radio and television reports would read something like this: ?The Rhode Island Reds defeated the Springfield Indians in Springfield last night, 6-3.?
Now, the logo: Several logo designs adorned uniforms of the Reds dating back to the early years. In fact, one of the first renderings can be seen in a team photo from 1933-34 where a strutting rooster is shown, underscored with the words ?R.I. Reds.?
Other various designs followed, but Providence Journal cartoonist Frank Lanning created the most memorable logo. The ?Raging Rooster? was introduced to the team?s uniform in 1948-49. It must have worked, because the Reds not only finished the regular season atop the AHL?s Eastern Division, but also went on to capture the league?s Calder Cup.
That logo still remains the most graphic symbol of the Reds. Oddly enough, though, the familiar
Raging Rooster is encircled with the words ? Providence Reds.? As some would say, ?Go figure!?
Perhaps, though, the Rhode Island Reds were far ahead of their time in setting the stage for regional fan support. As examples, today we have the New Jersey Devils (hockey), New England Patriots (football), Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball) and Indiana Pacers (basketball).
Again, ?Go figure!?