Saanich hockey team name 'not respectful,' will be changed, say owners
VICTORIA -- The owners of a junior hockey team near Victoria are planning to change the team's name and logo after more than 50 years as the Saanich Junior Braves.
In a statement Wednesday, owners Edward Geric and Norm Kelly said the name "is not respectful to our First Nations and does not reflect the valued relationships we hold with local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players."
While a new name has yet to be determined, the decision to change the name is firm, the owners said.
The decision comes amid a reckoning for sports organizations at all levels of competition that have used racialized names and mascots, including the NFL's Washington Redskins, the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos, and the MLB's Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves.
"We have decided to rename the team and have started a process to develop a name that upholds our core values," the Saanich Junior Braves owners said.
"Community, excellence and equality are central to everything we do as a hockey team and 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."
The team's logo and mascot have been used since 1967, when the team first joined the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
Geric and Kelly said more information about the renaming process will be announced in the coming weeks. The owners said they welcome community feedback and questions via email here.