Saskatchewan

Swift Current, Sask., baseball team reveals new name for 'Indians'

Sask. team rebranding follows similar decision in Alberta

swift current

Members of the Swift Current baseball team at a community event in 2016. (Twitter)

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A baseball club in Swift Current, Sask., has revealed a new team brand after dropping its former name of "Indians" last year.

The team is now known as the Swift Current '57s. The new name is a nod to the 57 seasons the team used the name "Indians" in Canada, dating back to the 1940s.

Swift Current 57's

The new logo for the re-branded Swift Current Indians who now become the 57's. (Supplied by Swift Current 57's)

"This name intends to honour the past while still providing ample opportunity to re-brand and market more creatively into the future," the team said in a press release. 

The team announced last September it would be replacing the name to "promote the team in a more current and sensitive manner."

"The organization has put considerable thought into the decision and we believe it's the right thing to do at this time," Harv Martinez, a long-time member of the club, said in a statement at the time.

Rebranding the team took longer than planned, with the new name originally expected to be announced by last November.

The new name and logo were revealed at Swift Current's city hall Tuesday evening.

Similar name changes for other Canadian teams

The Saskatchewan name change follows similar decisions by other Canadian teams, including a men's baseball team in Innisfail, Alta. That team changed its name to the "Trappers" and dropped its logo of a baseball wearing a headdress.

Innisfail Indians hat

The Innisfail baseball team dropped its logo of a baseball wearing a headdress. (Twitter)

The team's general manager Steven Bouteiller told CBC Radio's Blue Sky it had been under pressure to change the name through social media.

He said the team had started to realize that the name could cause offence after an incident while travelling to a game in Saskatchewan.

Players from the team decided to join in a ball hockey tournament in Lloydminster, on the Saskatchewan and Alberta border, but came across a problem when they were asked for their team name.

"They couldn't say Indians, they called themselves the 'Runners' at the time, even though they were travelling as the Innisfail Indians, and we were showing pride in our town and our community and everything," said Bouteiller.

"But down deep somewhere there we did realize that maybe it wasn't right."

He said there was some negative reaction from his community when discussions started over the new name.

"And as time went on and we announced the actual name change this year, we've had nothing but positive feedback and it's been really encouraging," said Bouteiller.  

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