Morden hockey team announces change to formerly derogatory team name

By | August 4, 2020

A senior hockey team in rural Manitoba that has resisted calls to change its offensive team name in the past announced Tuesday it will make the change.

The team in Morden posted the decision on Facebook following “positive, constructive conversations with community members.”

Calls resurfaced in July for the Morden senior hockey team to drop its name, which is considered a slur toward Indigenous peoples.

Morden mayor Brandon Burley personally urged the team to change the name he considers derogatory — and vowed to personally cover the cost of rebranding the team with anyone else who’s interested.

That’s part of what prompted the decision to transition.

“We wish to represent every citizen of Morden and made the decision to make changes moving forward,” the senior hockey executive’s statement said.

“Not all members of our community find our nickname inclusive or appropriate.”

Brent Meleck, president of the senior hockey executive, confirmed the decision in a phone call with CBC News.

He wouldn’t say whether Burley will pay for the rebranding, nor when the change will take place.

CBC News has reached out to Burley for comment, but he didn’t immediately respond.

“We’ve never ever disrespected, nor had any intention of hurting anyone’s feelings or being anything other than a positive vibe in our room. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to portray,” Meleck said.

“It is what it is now. It’s a tough decision and we’re going to keep going with our process and we’ll go from there.”

According to the statement on Facebook, more information about the transition will be made as it becomes available.

Past efforts to get the southern Manitoba city team to change failed.

In 2015, city councillor Heather Francis put forward a motion asking council to formally request a name change for the hockey team, but the motion was defeated 5-2.

The Morden Senior Hockey Executive says it’s working to incorporate the change as “efficiently as possible,” but the primary focus is ensuring it’s done properly and completely.

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