Red Deer College president Peter Nunoda says he is impressed by how passionate people are about the college’s sports teams.
Vocal critics quickly surfaced this week when RDC announced it was looking at renaming its athletic programs and will be seeking community input.
Instead of Kings and Queens, one team name may be used starting in the 2021-22 athletic season for its men’s, women’s and mixed teams.
He said the fact that people are interested in what’s happening with the teams’ names is a good thing.
“I think those that think that I have made a decision, or we have collectively made a decision around a new team name, that’s not accurate at all,” Nunoda said.
“Certainly, what we want to do is ensure people understand there is a process here that we’re following, and that there have been no decisions made in that regard at this point.”
The college is holding two rebranding focus group sessions on Feb. 11. People are encouraged to attend the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. session, or the 5 to 7 p.m. session.
“In our minds, it’s an open question and we’re hoping there is similar openness among those who choose to participate in this. What we’re hoping to find is a mutually agreeable solution to the question.”
Nunoda said RDC is committed to deep consultation on the question of renaming the teams, and that it in no way disrespects the tradition and legacy of the Kings and Queens.
“We will continue to cherish it and to celebrate it.”
He said the transition to becoming a university provides a chance to rebrand and rename.
“We believe that this is the right time and an opportunity to do something exciting. I think it’s turning the page to a new generation, and a new institution.”
He said cost is not a factor.
“Even if we maintain the old team name, we always have to update team uniforms anyways. Truly, it’s not an additional cost. In fact, a single name is more cost effective in conjunction with all the branding that we’re going to do.”
RDC has suggested looking at a gender-neutral team name that can be used for all of its teams.
Nunoda said that’s the way society is evolving.
“I just think from an overall perspective, from a business perspective, a single name for all of our teams, whether they are male, female or mixed, makes lots of sense.”