Those watching Manitoba Junior Hockey League action this coming season will have a new-look Neepawa squad to watch out for. This week, the Neepawa Junior A Hockey Club announced its new name, logo and colours effective immediately.
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) June 7, 2021
Now known as the Neepawa Titans, the rebranded MJHL franchise will wear black, gold and grey, while continuing to play out of the Yellowhead Centre, to which is expected to see various levels of redecoration.
After beginning the search for a new name and logo back in late-July of 2020, the team has officially announced its changes just over 10 months later. The logo and sweater design came from Virden’s Brooks Freeman and is described below:
Reveal day! Very excited to finally show off the logos and jerseys for the @MJHLTitans I’m very excited to be a part of the new era for this great @mjhlhockey team.@sportslogosnet @UniWatch @BarDown @JuniorNightMB pic.twitter.com/d35pCMl4BR
— Brooks Freeman Design (@BrooksFreeman3) June 7, 2021
“The board of directors made the decision last night to discontinue the use of the word ‘Natives’ in the team’s name,” head coach and general manager Ken Pearson told Game On Magazine last summer. “In order to keep up with it, or to ‘keep up with the times’ per se, for us to then continue along, everyone agrees that we’ve been behind this team for so long, we’d just hope that you continue supporting our team.”
This decision comes on the heels of various other sporting teams across the professional realm announcing further investigation into potentially racist monikers. Last week, the Edmonton CFL Franchise announced it would be known as the ‘Elks’ going forward. Last year, the Washington Football Team announced its formal name change. The Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs have yet to make formal announcement, while the Chicago Blackhawks announced that they will be standing behind their team’s name.
Neepawa Titans merchandise is also now available for purchase.
We are excited to have merchandise available for our fans today! Inventory on some items is low as we relaunch so don’t delay and be one of the first to get your Titans gear! Please call/text 431-351-2274 for more information. #embracethechange🗡🛡 @BannerandPress @NeepawaGolf pic.twitter.com/06ZaJrecmD
— Neepawa Titans (@MJHLTitans) June 8, 2021
The ‘Neepawa Natives’ name was originally coined in 1963, taking over the ‘Intermediates’ namesake, with a fresh look, highlighting the community and roots to the Cree heritage found in the local geography. With length of word and alliteration also serving as factors, the name stood through the 60s and 70s, before the new MJHL franchise took on the name upon team formation.
Neepawa finished the 2019-20 regular season with a disappointing 13-43-4 record for 30 points in 60 games, failing to make the postseason for the third-straight year. Pearson, originally of Neepawa, was brought on board in March of 2019, having earlier played for the franchise from 1991-94.
When asked what to tell those long-time supporters of the Neepawa junior A hockey club’s upcoming name change, Pearson said rather simply, “Embrace the change. That’s really all you need to do. Everything changes. The world on a daily basis has been changing. You either embrace it or you are left behind. Embrace the change.”