You can call him a lot of things. The 20-year-old Gabriel Landeskog is the Colorado Avalanche’s rookie-of the year and the Calder trophy winner. He is the team’s captain, the youngest named captain in NHL history, beating out Sid “The Kid” Crosby. Landeskog is Swedish, but spent time in Canada and honestly acts more American than anything. He’s not of legal drinking age. And get this: he prefers Gabe, not Gabriel.
The Denver Post revealed today that Landeskog prefers to go by the shortened version of his name, Gabe. He apparently does not want to be thought of as an angel or at least compete for name recognition with the angel Gabriel. The Avalanche may need to promote this by changing some of the lyrics to the Paul Simon song. “If you’ll be my body guard, I can be your long lost pal. I can call you Betty, Betty when you call me, you can call me Gabe.
Speaking of which, can you imagine a hockey player named Betty? He would destroy people.
For those around hockey who have foolishly been calling Landeskog Gabriel for the last year, why didn’t you ask him? Hockey players are modest athletes. They’re not going to correct a bunch of reporters who call them by a name they do not prefer. Should Joe Sakic have been “Joey” and Peter Forsberg “Pete” all these years? I wonder if Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux would have preferred to just go by their first initials, W and M.
It might be too late for Landeskog to lose the Gabriel. He is the apparent savior of this franchise and I think people are attached to calling him Gabriel around Colorado. The same thing happened to Ryan O’Reilly. He never wanted to be number 37–he wanted to be number 90. I wonder if O’Reilly would rather still be on the team right now. Since Landeskog is the new heartthrob of the women in Denver, I should ask what plays off better: Gabe or Gabriel?
They’ll remind you, bitterly, that he is in a relationship.