Vancouver Island junior hockey team will change name to respect First Nations

Vancouver Island junior hockey team will change name to respect First Nations

SAANICH, B.C. — A Junior B hockey team on Vancouver Island is changing its name in a show of respect to First Nations.

The owners of the Saanich Junior Braves say a process has been started to develop a name that upholds the team’s core values.

A statement from owners Edward Geric and Norm Kelly says the name “does not reflect the valued relationships” the team holds with area First Nations or its Indigenous players.

More information about the process to select a new name will be announced in the coming weeks.

Several U.S. teams are reviewing name changes but haven’t announced plans to proceed, while the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League accelerated a name change review this week after at least one sponsor said it plans to cut ties with the team unless it changes its name.

The Saanich Junior Braves name and logo have been in use since 1967 when the team first joined the Vancouver Island Junior League.

Geric and Kelly say they support the revision.

“Community, excellence and equality are central to everything we do as a hockey team,” they say in the statement.

“We commit to our players, families, fans and the whole community to use the changing of our name as an opportunity to contribute to and amplify positive dialogue about race and equality in Canada.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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