A senior hockey team in rural Manitoba that has resisted calls to change its offensive team name in the past announced Tuesday it’s considering making the change, though when and if that will happen is still up in the air.
The team in Morden posted a statement on Facebook saying it decided to rebrand 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.
However, when CBC News asked the president of the Morden Senior Hockey Executive Brent Meleck if rebranding the team is promising will include a name change, he wasn’t certain.
“I’m assuming it will, but nothing is set in stone. We’re looking at all angles,” he said.
Whole city to be involved in new team brand: mayor
Morden mayor Brandon Burley has personally urged the team to change the name he considers derogatory — and said in an interview, the community will start raise money to cover the costs of re-branding.
In the past he offered to foot the cost, but says he wants the whole city involved in the new team brand.
“We’re going to get to work doing that in a way that shows them that it’s more than just me calling for it and being willing to pay for it. It’s the broader community that’s behind this and who will support the team going forward,” he said.
The Morden Senior Hockey Executive’s statement suggests the team is also seeking that broader support.
“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.”
Meleck says the team name and brand that many believe is offensive wasn’t meant to be that way.
“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.
“There’s no timeline yet in terms of in terms of a date when there will be a hard change. That’s still being worked out,” Burley says.
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 statement 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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