Sudbury

Copper Cliff hockey team announces new name and logo

The Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association will be changing its long-time name and logo for the upcoming hockey season. After 85 years, the team will no longer be called the Copper Cliff Redmen and the logo — which resembles the Chicago Blackhawks logo — will also be changed.

The new team name will be the Copper Cliff Reds

The hockey teams in the Sudbury neighbourhood of Copper Cliff have used the name "Copper Cliff Redmen" for decades. Later this year, the team will unveil its new logo. (Erik White/CBC)

The Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association will be changing its long-time name and logo for the upcoming hockey season.

After 85 years, the team will no longer be called the Copper Cliff Redmen and the logo — which resembles the Chicago Blackhawks logo — will also be changed.

"It's difficult to historically change after 85 years being something and now we're moving into a different chapter, we're not going to forget about that chapter because, you know, our rep program was built on that name and we're not going to forget about it," said Leo Verrilli, the director of the hockey association.

He says the association decided to make the change about 18 months ago and began looking into names and logos that were not insensitive toward Indigenous peoples. 

The team will be the Copper Cliff Reds and the new logo will represent the community.

"There have never been formal complaints or anything like that locally, you know when we go away, there have been some outside pressures, you know from teams travelling and things like that, saying you know that's insensitive or whatever and honestly we don't want subject our teams when they're travelling to that undue pressure," said Verrilli.

Earlier this year, the Ontario Human Rights Commission sent letters to 40 municipalities across the province, asking mayors "to engage Indigenous communities about the use of Indigenous-themed logos and team names in their sports arenas."

The new logo for the Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association. The logo represents the community of Copper Cliff, says Leo Verrilli, the director of the hockey association. (Submitted by Leo Verrilli)

Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger says he reached out to local First Nations and to the Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association and was happy to hear the association had already began making the change.

"It's something that they've taken on for themselves to make changes to ensure that they continue on their proud traditions, but at the same time ensure that sports seen as welcoming and inclusive and not offensive to anyone," said Bigger. 

Verrilli says that Indigenous communities and organizations have reached out saying they support the hockey association's move toward a more inclusive name and logo.

"It was the right time and it's the right scenario and we're doing it for the right reasons and that's what we firmly believe and that's what I hope everybody understands," Verrilli said.