Native Village 
Youth and Education News

September 1, 2012

What’s in a Name? The Top 10 Greatest Nicknames for American Indian Athletes
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It’s quite probable that some athletes experience the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat when it comes to being nicknamed. These names often stick long after his playing days are over. Here are a  few of our favorites.

Shane “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Victorino
The Phillies MLB All-Star center fielder was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. The Native Hawaiian is a speedy threat on the basepaths and in the field.

Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson
Thompson, the Cincinnati Bengals' 1st round draft pick in 1979, earned his nickname while playing at Washington State University. He is from Tutuwila, Samoa.

Clarence “Taffy” Abel
Abel, a Chippewa from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, was a two-time Stanley Cup-winner. With a legendary sweet-tooth, the hockey hall-of-famer earned his nickname for the taffy candy he ate.

Gino “The Maniwaki Mauler” Odjick
Sometimes called the Algonquin Mauler, but always as "Sir," Odjick is a former NHL player from Maniwaki, Quebec. The 6' 3", 225-pound First Nations skater was one of hockey’s toughest players. He could throw down, for sure, and even protected Pavel “The Russian Rocket”while playing for Vancouver.

Jordin “Tootoo Train” Tootoo
The first Inuit to play in the NHL, the feisty Tootoo hits opponents like a freight train. Now he'll be doing that for the Detroit Red Wings who signed him away from the Nashville Predators on July 1.

Reggie “The Riverton Rifle” Leach
The Métis Rifle from Riverton, Manitoba could do it all in the NHL: score goals and drop the gloves. In 1974-75, he teamed with hard guys Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber to score 45 goals and earn the respect of Philadelphia fans.  While helping the  Flyers repeat as Stanley Cup winners, Leach scored eight goals in 17 postseason games.

Justin “Joba” Chamberlain
The Winnebago pitcher for the New York Yankees told ESPN how he got the nickname Joba: “I’ve known myself asJoba since I was born. My niece was unable to pronounce Justin, so she’d call me that. Nobody knew my real name until I graduated from high school, when my dad put it in the yearbook. Now there’s nothing that could make me switch back. It’ll never happen. No, sir.”

 Eddie “Baby” Allen
Allen, a member of the Skokomish Indian Tribe, fought as a bantamweight in the 1930s out of Washington state  In his earliest bouts, he brawled as “Little Skookum” (“Little tough one”), which later became “Baby.”   Allen wasn’t so dominating in the ring, though. He ended ending his pro career with a 3-5-4 record.

Wacey Rabbit
The young Rabbit from the Kainai Tribal Nation is a minor league  hockey player.  Originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, he plays for the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Skate, Rabbit, Skate!

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