B-52s, Widespread Panic face-off: Athens votes on hockey team name

Fan vote came down to two choices paying homage to Classic City bands.
Three of the original B-52s members performed at the Classic Center Theater in Athens on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, for the final concert of the last tour the band planned to ever do. The group still plans to do one-off concerts with several dates set in Las Vegas. (John Boydston)

Credit: John Boydston

Credit: John Boydston

Three of the original B-52s members performed at the Classic Center Theater in Athens on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, for the final concert of the last tour the band planned to ever do. The group still plans to do one-off concerts with several dates set in Las Vegas. (John Boydston)

The Athens professional hockey team now has a name that’s fit for the college town’s legendary music scene.

The Athens Rock Lobsters. The name comes from a song by the B-52s, the iconic new wave band from the Classic City.

“We are truly honored to have our hometown hockey team named the Rock Lobsters,” the band said in a statement released by the team. “As the song declares, ‘Let’s rock!’”

The runner-up choice — The Panic — was inspired by Widespread Panic, another famous Athens band. More than 8,000 votes were cast in an online vote, with Rock Lobsters coming out on top by 554 votes.

The Rock Lobsters will begin play in the Federal Prospects Hockey League this October. The 11-team league is not affiliated with the National Hockey League. The team will play at the revamped Classic Center complex. Located downtown near the University of Georgia’s campus, the Classic Center began construction on a $151 million arena expansion a year ago.

Construction continues on the Classic Center Arena where officials announced that a Federal Prospect Hockey League  team is coming to Athens Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the Classic Center. (Nell Carroll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nell Carroll

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Credit: Nell Carroll

“Athens is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and the Rock Lobsters will be an extension of that,” said Scott Hull, executive vice president of the team. “We’re not just building a hockey team; we’re building a community. The support from local artists, musicians, and fans has been overwhelming, and we can’t wait to hit the ice in October.”

Branding for the Rock Lobsters, including a logo, jerseys and merchandise with a red-based color scheme, will be revealed later this summer, the team’s statement said. The team has yet to announce a head coach or roster.

A fan plucked a set list off the stage after the end of the B-52s concert at Classic Center Theater in Athens on January 10, 2023. The name of the hockey team is on there. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

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Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com