'The right thing to do': Manitoba minor hockey association Mitchell Mohawks changing name and logo

A Manitoba minor hockey association using an Indigenous group as its name and an image of an Indigenous man in a traditional headdress as its logo will change both by the start of next season.

Association will have new name, logo by September 2019, president says

A sweater shows the Mitchell Mohawks logo. (Silver Eye Sports Apparel)

A Manitoba minor hockey association using an Indigenous group as its name and an image of an Indigenous man in a traditional headdress as its logo will change both by the start of next season.

The Mitchell Mohawks will have a new name and logo by September 2019, said Mitchell Minor Hockey Association president Chris Picklyk.

"It's not easy, but we feel it's the right thing to do at this time, for sure," Picklyk said Friday on the phone from Mitchell, about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.

The association has an average of 120 to 140 kids on the ice every year, Picklyk said. Members of the association, including parents of players, will be given a chance to submit ideas for a new name before voting out of a final list of the three to five top contenders.

The association, which does not include the town's junior hockey team, has talked about the move in the past, he said, but never moved forward. This year, it had support from multiple local businesses to help fund the change.

"There's a lot of tradition, and we've been the Mohawks for a long time. But there's also, in this day and age, there's certain connotations with the name that aren't accepted in all parts of society," Picklyk said.

"We want to be in a situation where we are not forced to make a change by any group or anybody, and be ahead of that curve and kind of make a change on our own terms."

Cost could be in ballpark of $20K, by early estimation

The association has created a subcommittee to guide the rebranding process. The group is still in the process of figuring out the cost of the change, but Picklyk estimated it will be in the ballpark of $20,000. The lion's share of that will go toward replacing jerseys, he said.

"We don't want to put the burden on people who have kids playing minor hockey right now, Picklyk said. "We're in a position where a lot of it will be covered from outside sources."

So far, Picklyk said the association has gotten a small amount of pushback from the community.

"I've received a few emails," he said. "I'm not naive enough to think there aren't other people who maybe aren't 100 per cent on board, but they haven't brought it to the attention of anyone officially."

He said he hopes any pessimism will be addressed by education throughout the process.

"What we're doing is really cool. It doesn't happen every day," he said.

"Yes, we're kind of putting aside a piece of our history. But we're also starting a bright new future, and that's cool. That's really neat for the kids that are in the association next year to don something brand new and be a part of something new."