On Saturday night the Rush are holding Nickname Night, and in place of the usual last names across the back of their jerseys, players will sport their nicknames.
Anybody who has spent time around hockey players knows that the most common style of nickname in the game is to add an ‘ie/y’ or an ‘s’ to a portion or the entirety of the player’s last name. And some of the nicknames that will be worn on the backs of the Rush sweaters on Saturday will be exactly that. But a few members of the Rapid City squad got a little bit more creative. So, in advance of Nickname Night, let’s look at those nicknames and hear the stories behind them from the players themselves.
#5 QUINN WICHERS – Jackson
“Jackson is my alter ego.”
#8 KENTON HELGESEN – Senior
“Instead of calling both me and my brother Helgy we shortened it up with senior and junior. Our mutual friends call us both Helgy or Helgs but being the first time playing together starting last year it was easier for the boys to call us senior and junior.”
# 19 CALDER BROOKS – Chowda
“A guy by the name of Zane Jones in juniors in Calgary came up with it. Him and [Kenton Helgesen], I played with him there too. He’s a funny guy so I don’t really know how it came to be. It’s a weird one I guess.”
#23 BRETT GRAVELLE – Gravy Train
“Gravy Train came from, first the boys started calling me Gravy. Then someone said Crazy Train and someone turned it into Gravy Train. It’s still usually just Gravy but that’s what I went with.”
#25 RYAN ZUHLSDORF – Z-Unit
“I’m a big fan of [the hip hop group] G-Unit, the music created by them. So I changed it out with Z-Unit.”
#28 LOGAN NELSON – Willy
“It’s an old Xbox name. Willy…Willie Nelson. My buddies back home sometimes call me Willy so that’s kind of where it came from.”
#44 TYSON HELGESEN – Junior
“Ever since I got here, guys started calling me Junior and calling my brother Senior.”
# 82 CARTER ROBERTSON – Robo Cop
“My nickname has changed over the years. I’ve had Robby and when I was at [Toronto Maple Leafs] camp [in 2019] I think was the first time I got called Robo. And one of the guys made it Robo Cop. I haven’t really told anyone that’s what it is but it just kind of happens all the time now.”
The name bars that sport these nicknames will be auctioned off by the team at a later date. Nickname Night is on Saturday, February 11 at 7:05 p.m. as the Rush take on the Utah Grizzlies. It’s presented by KOTA Territory and Black Hills Fox TV and tickets are available online, at the Rush office, or over the phone at (605) 716-7825.