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Which is tougher opponent for Golden Knights: Edmonton or Army?

Updated January 14, 2018 - 7:45 pm

The way Thomas Jefferson saw things, nothing could stop a man from achieving his goals with the right mental attitude and nothing on earth could help a man with the wrong one.

See. That’s what the Department of the Army is missing about this whole Golden Knights trademark issue.

Its attitude is all askew.

The top team in the NHL’s Western Conference opened its second half of the season Saturday night against the side it hasn’t yet solved, as the Knights dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Edmonton before a season-high 18,351 at T-Mobile Arena.

The game wasn’t played near the Saskatchewan River in Alberta.

It just seemed that way with the sea of orange sweaters.

No team, not Detroit or Chicago or New York or Pittsburgh or Boston or anyone, has had a stronger level of support in Las Vegas than Edmonton.

It’s also true few opponents other than the Oilers — now 2-0 against the Knights — have seemed to challenge Vegas all that much these first four months of the season.

It took a place overlooking the Hudson River that Jefferson helped establish in 1801 to do so.

Army this week formally opposed the U.S. trademark applications of Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Golden Knights, believing it to be confusing with the Golden Knights trademark of its elite parachute team.

Oh, brother.

It’s important to understand Army hasn’t yet attempted to bring this issue to the courts and that those with any sort of established credentials in the world of trademarks don’t seem to believe the Knights would ever have to cease using their logo or color scheme.

Which means all the gear that has been purchased isn’t becoming collector’s items just yet.

Your sweater is safe and current for now.

But as much as Las Vegas has caught Knights fever, as much as anything that even suggests a negative tone toward the local team produces pitchforks and torches from the faithful, this is also true: Trademark laws exist for a reason. Several good and important ones.

They help protect brands and consumers. They encourage competition of specific industries. They allow you to make secure decisions within the marketplace.

And still, the Army in its challenge of the Golden Knights is offering a shortsighted view of things. It should embrace the similarities and work parachute-and-puck with the hockey team to promote the soldiers and a branch of the Army that has been jumping since 1959.

Think about it: When has the Golden Knights parachute team received as much national attention as it has the last 48 hours?

Bill Foley might own the Knights, but he’s also an Army graduate whose passion and commitment and drive and determination are defined most by that majestic and scenic place of West Point in upstate New York.

He loves it with his every fiber, and there is no question he would embrace a link from his team to the parachuters.

Does anyone believe a single person who has purchased tickets to a game or a hat or T-shirt of the Knights did so with the assumption they were supporting a group of parachutists?

This shouldn’t be a fight.

It should be a partnership.

This shouldn’t be contentious.

It should be collaborative.

I have nothing but respect for the Army and those who do now and have served. But this is, as much as anything, about a common sense approach: No one is confusing a hockey team with parachute jumpers, unless a bunch of soldiers suddenly propel themselves onto the ice from the ceiling at T-Mobile.

Then we’d really have a story about the Knights.

No one is connecting the two so close in terms of sporting enterprises that you can’t tell the difference.

Here’s hoping this never reaches the courts. Far too many intelligent folks are involved for this to get really ugly.

After all, we’re talking #ArmyStrong and #VegasStrong.

What better duo to work together?

Maybe the Knights should focus on finding a compromise until at least Feb. 15.

That’s when Edmonton plays its next home game at T-Mobile Arena.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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