Players' sticks are shown during a World Hockey Championships game in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, May 12, 2016. A senior hockey team in a small city in southern Manitoba has changed its name following a push against the use of Indigenous names and caricatures as mascots. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ivan Sekretarev

Manitoba senior hockey team changes Indigenous name to Bombers

Manitoba senior hockey team changes Indigenous name to Bombers

MORDEN, Man. — A senior hockey team in a small Manitoba city has changed its name following a push against the use of Indigenous names and caricatures as mascots.

The Morden Bombers are ready to start the season in new jerseys decked out with a giant black, white and red “B” logo, team president Brent Meleck said Tuesday.

“We are going to try and put the best product we can on the ice and make it enjoyable for everybody to come watch.

“Maybe we will get more fans out.”

The team in Morden, 100 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, was previously named the Redskins, a derogatory term used to describe Indigenous people.

The team’s logo was also a stereotypical Indigenous man with four feathers in his hair, a replica of the controversial logo of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks.

A statement from the team’s executive in August said the former name of the team was discussed with members of the organization and the community.

It said the history and pride ingrained in the organization would be carried forward with a new brand.

The move to change the name came soon after Washington’s National Football League team committed to changing the same name in July.

That same month, Edmonton’s Canadian Football League team decided to change its name from the Eskimos. And the Manitoba junior men’s hockey team in Neepawa announced it was dropping its name, the Natives, as well as its Indigenous mascot.

“To us, our logo has always represented community, camaraderie, commitment and perseverance. These are the values we have defended when challenged,” the team’s statement said in August.

It added that not all members of the community found the team’s name inclusive or appropriate and that the team has a better understanding of how the name and logo can be perceived.

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

Morden’s senior hockey team chose the previous name about 25 years ago. A motion to city council to change the name in 2015 failed.

Mayor Brandon Burley wrote a letter to the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League team’s leadership over the summer requesting the name and logo be changed.

“We have a good number of Indigenous folks in our community,” he said at the time. “The time has come and gone when we can continue to offend them with something as simple as a hockey team name.”

The mayor said he would support any associated costs through fundraising efforts and his own personal finances.

Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization said the name change is a step forward in efforts around reconciliation.

“I call on all sectors of society to follow this example, one that helps to end harmful stereotypes that have contributed to systemic racism and discrimination for centuries,” Daniels said in an email.

The Bombers name had been used by a now-defunct hockey team in the area previously. Meleck said that history meant it was quickly supported by players and the community. The logo was designed by local youth hockey players and approved by Hockey Manitoba.

Meleck said he wasn’t concerned about possible confusion with the Canadian Football League Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He said it has been a quick turnover but sponsors have stepped up to ensure the team’s legacy will continue.

“We are going to move forward,” Meleck said.

“As society went and everything went it was time for a change.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.

— By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg

The Canadian Press

hockey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto in April. Alberta’s unemployment rate this past month was 11.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. This is nearly half a point lower than October when the unemployment rate was 10.7 per cent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Job recovery in Alberta remains uneven: ATB Financial

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, employment in Alberta’s hospitality sector remains down the… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels winger Arshdeep Bains had two assists in the first period Monday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action in Lethbridge. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Hurricanes hand Red Deer Rebels ninth straight loss

Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday) The goals… Continue reading

Red Deer City Hall. (File photo)
Red Deerians will see a slight tax increase, but the municipal portion is at zero per cent

The provincial educational requisition went up by about half a per cent

Letters
Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Children at the Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club practice social distancing throughout the day to minimize the spreading of germs and potentially the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula
Opinion: Teach young people these five principles

At all ages, young people may be the subject of mean behaviours… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs need to think about all Albertans

I was surprised to find more than a dozen UCP MLAs were… Continue reading

Sweden skip Niklas Edin makes a shot against Scotland in the Men's World Curling Championship gold medal final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Curling's Humpty's Champions Cup in Calgary has been pushed back a day due to the delayed finish of the men's world championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Most Read