What Became of Cleveland’s South Bay Bessies?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 10th, 2011

Reprinted from January 27, 2007:

Lake Erie Monsters

There are lots of teams with cryptid names, and they are being joined by a new one: The Lake Erie Monsters, a minor league hockey team. Here’s the straight media spin on the new hockey team’s name:

Gilbert Unafraid of Monsters, Region’s Latest Hockey Team: Cavs Owner Confident of Minor-League Success

By George M. Thomas, The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio

Jan. 26–CLEVELAND — Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will turn a Northeast Ohio myth into reality when the Lake Erie Monsters, the area’s new American Hockey League franchise, debuts at Quicken Loans Arena in October.

Flanked by officials from the AHL and the Colorado Avalanche — the National Hockey League team that will feed the team players — and complete with a man-made chill and mist, Gilbert revealed the team’s logo and colors Thursday.

Lake Erie Monsters

The logo features a monster’s head with menacing eyes skimming just above the water’s surface. People have reported seeing such a Loch Ness-type creature in the lake’s waters over the years. It’s the type of symbol perfect for selling jerseys, T-shirts and replica pucks.George M. Thomas

Humm, cough, cough, hey, owner Dan Gilbert and investigative reporter George Thomas, you overlooked a small but significant detail: the name of the local lake monster is “Bessie.” I guess the person who picked out that “Lake Erie Monsters” moniker didn’t realize that the real local name for the lake cryptids of Lake Erie is South Bay Bessie. Can you imagine how this team’s new rivals are going to react when they find this out? Will catcalls and handheld signs of “Hey, it’s the South Bay Bessies” be heard and seen soon on the Quicken Loans Arena ice rink, as well as on the new team’s road trips?

But then Cleveland won’t be the first location that has fiddled around, fiddled around, fiddled around with names of cryptids. Minor league hockey also has it’s Lowell Lock Monsters in Massachusetts. I’ve always wondered about the wisdom in teaching kids that Louie the Mascot (an obvious bipedal Lake Monster) is a “Lock” Monster, versus the correct spelling, “Loch Monster.” I guess someone along the way thought it was cute to have a play on words with the old history of “locks” in Lowell. Today, Lowell, sadly is a ghost of its former self, as it was once a giant mill town. In the 1850s, Lowell was the second largest city in New England, with nearly six miles of canals – the largest power canal system in the world – running her factories. The memory of the locks there, I guess, live on in the name, Lowell Lock Monsters.

Of course, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils team makes good use of their mascot, the “NJ Devil.” Ooops, the local cryptid is called the “Jersey Devil.”

Meanwhile, out West, you have the British Columbian “Duffers League” in hockey that has a championship team called the Sasquatch, who have jerseys with a Sasquatch footprint across the front. Middle-aged guys playing like Bigfoot in hockey outfits. Okay, that sounds like fun.

Minor league baseball use to have the Champs, but they recently changed their name to the Vermont Lake Monsters. They did keep Champ, nevertheless, as their mascot.

The NHL’s Colorado team (that happen to be the parent team of the “Bessies,” oops, I mean “Lake Erie Monsters”) formerly had as their mascot “Howler.” It’s a sad story of cryptid misbehavior. “Howler the Yeti” was the mascot of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, but he was fired by the team after he assaulted a fan. They still retain (what they call) a “Yeti footprint” on their sleeves and on their Zephyr Colorado Avalanche Shootout Fitted Hats. Unfortunately, this alternate logo for the team shows a four-toed, not a five-toed, track. Still, it, no doubt, results in a lot of sales to cryptozoology fans. (Yes, I have one of their caps.)

Thank goodness, let’s hope we will never find a team named the Ozark Howlers. After all, the Howler of the Ozarks is a hoax.

Meanwhile, the home of the Cleveland Browns perhaps does proclaim pride in their own hometown “South Bay Bessies.”

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

3 Responses to “What Became of Cleveland’s South Bay Bessies?”

  1. joppa responds:

    OK, but would you want to be a macho hocky player on a team called the “Bessies”?

    Of course it could make your guys tougher – sort of like a “Boy Named Sue” as sung by Johnny Cash. At least they aren’t called the Grays.

  2. David-Australia responds:

    Luckily it isn’t a Scottish team called the “Jessies” – go look it up…..

  3. semillama responds:

    Don’t forget the Hodag, mascot of Rhinelander, Wisconsin!

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