Selkirk College is asking the public if it should change the name of its sports teams.
It’s inviting people to take part in an online discussion about the Selkirk Saints name, colours and logo.
“We thought, hey, what do people think of the name Saints?” says the college’s vice-president of students and advancement/registrar John Kincaid. “What about the colours, the logo, do they resonate? That’s the crux of it, and we are looking to get people’s opinion. If it resonates, fantastic, and if it doesn’t, I guess it begs the next question, what should it be?”
By opening up the debate, the administration is treading on pretty traditional ground. No one really knows the name’s origin, or why it was picked in the first place.
The Saints name goes back to when the college first opened in 1966. The charter class of 458 students — men and women — could participate in Saints-labelled teams and clubs that included hockey, basketball, soccer, skiing, boxing, fencing and archery.
Currently, Selkirk College has just one varsity team. The Selkirk College Saints men’s hockey team represents the region.
The college is asking the public to participate in an online discussion on the issue at thoughtexchange.com.
And so far, the results are pretty overwhelming in favour of leaving things as they are.
“The Saints’ name, team colours and logo is iconic in the West Kootenay region and the tradition needs to be kept,” said one submitter. (Names are kept private on the online discussion board.)
“I love the name ‘Selkirk Saints,’” added another. “It’s a 50-year tradition, why change it just for the sake of change?”
Another person said it would “be extremely offensive to alumni to throw away their history. Contributions from the past build the future.”
But some were willing to think outside the box.
“Alternative names: embrace the locals,” suggested one participant. “Selkirk Sentinels, Selkirk Cougars, Selkirk Avalanche, Selkirk Grizzlies, Selkirk Hippies.”
Tongue-in-cheek or not, the college is inviting the public to comment until March 1. After that, the information will be distilled into a report, says Kincaid.
“If it sounds like we need to change the name, we’ll see where we go,” he says. “Maybe if the colours and logo don’t resonate, we’ll go down that road.
“But if everything is fantastic, and people think ‘you know what, don’t change anything,’ we’ll let everybody know that.”
The college will also ask faculty, staff, and students for their thoughts on the issue via internal email.
If you’d like to participate, visit selkirk.ca/saints-identity.
Kincaid says whether change comes or not, it’s a good review for the college as it prepares a new strategic plan.
“Unless you ask, you don’t know,” he says. “And with us being as community-oriented as we are, we just want to ask the question and make sure we are on the right track.”