How’d they get that name? The story behind the Menominee Maroons and Houghton Gremlins

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MENOMINEE / HOUGHTON — Miners  . . . Braves . . . Copper Kings . . .

Usually teams will derive their names from people or events in the history of the area’s culture, but for the Menominee Maroons, it was a little more simple than that.

Larry Ebsch, a former journalist for Menominee’s newpaper the Eagle Herald, shared that newspaper articles from the 19th century simply called the team ‘the Menominee team’.
 
It wasn’t until 1898 that the MHS yearbook quoted the team as the ‘Crimson Heroes’.
 
From then, the name went through many adaptations, such as the Red Team and the Red Men, and finally  to the Maroons, which has stuck with them since 1917.
 
But for teams such as the Houghton Gremlins, their back story is a bit more animated being based off of a fable.
 
Sam Collaer, the student council President explained, “Back in the day, in World War II, the gremlins would live in the forest in England. And when the Royal Airforce got all their planes built, they needed more airstrips so they took the forest away. And so the gremlins would go on to the airplanes and mess with the mechanics. The pilots would blame all the malfunctions on the gremlins becuase they were just terrorizing everything up in the planes.”
 
And the fable goes that, after the war ended, the gremlins came back with the American bombers being that their land was destroyed, and chose Houghton, Michigan as their home after hearing the Houghton band playing the song ‘The Gremlin Ball’. Ever since then, Houghton has proudly adopted the Gremlin as their mascot.
 
“We just try to be like the gremlin, you know, in the fan section, on the field, on the court, just being as crazy as we can, just getting everyone going,” Collaer added.
 
So whether it’s on the field or in the stands, sports fans from all over label themselves proudly with their team name. 
 
 

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