After hearing from hundreds of people who submitted feedback, Red Deer College decided to remain the Kings and Queens.
In early January, RDC said in a press release that as part of its transition into Red Deer University, the institution would “take the opportunity to rebrand and rename the Kings and Queens teams.”
A name change was a bombshell for most alumni, Kings volleyball alumnus Blake Henwood said shortly after the announcement.
“There’s some people who are definitely upset and disappointed that there wasn’t a little more information prior to what sounds like a decision that’s already been made,” said Henwood.
He said the sentiment he has heard is acknowledgment of the loss of what many athletes worked so hard to build at RDC as a lasting legacy – a tradition he feels is one of the strongest among Canadian colleges.
“It’s everything. As an alumnus, speaking on behalf of alumni that I’ve spoken to, we all feel we have an obligation to stand up and protect a really unique legacy that we’ve created and been a part of,” he said.
“I feel like these days, especially in a sporting world, creating a culture is hard to do. We have one of the best in Canada, and this is a potentially dangerous situation that can take a culture that was built and manufactured by so many people, and subsequently dissolve and destroy it.”
Some were not bothered by the ideas. Morris Flewwelling, former Red Deer College board chair, said if the institution is going to rename its teams, now is a good time to do it, and it would be in tune with the times.
“Gender neutral might be a way to go, because if you stay with the gender-based names, you’re going to get into never getting it right,” Flewwelling.
In February, RDC announced the sports teams will remain as the Queens and Kings.
“Reflecting on this process, we recognize that we needed to reach out to you sooner for your feedback on what Red Deer University athletics should look like, before deciding that we would change the names,” RDC president Peter Nunoda said.
Nunoda said the decision to keep the names was based on extensive feedback, and not the negative conversation the proposed rebranding sparked online.
“It was never our intention to start this type of negative conversation, and we acknowledge that a number of people were impacted and hurt on a personal, organizational and community level. Inclusiveness is and will continue to be one of our values, and we stand behind that,” he said.