(Saanich Braves)

The owners of the Saanich Braves, a local Junior B hockey team, have announced they will be changing the club’s name out of respect for Indigenous communities.

In a statement, team owners Edward Geric and Norm Kelly stated that the name does not reflect the valued relationships the team holds with local communities or with their First Nations players.

“The Saanich Junior Braves name is not respectful to our First Nations and does not reflect the valued relationships we hold with local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players. We have decided to rename the team and have started a process to develop a name that upholds our core values,” the statement reads.

“Community, excellence and equality are central to everything we do as a hockey team and we commit to our players, families, fans and the whole community to use the changing of our name as an opportunity to contribute to and amplify positive dialogue about race and equality in Canada,” said Edward Geric and Norm Kelly, team owners.

The Braves are members of the South Division of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), and play their home games at Pearkes Arena.

Norm Kelly is the team’s president and general manager, and Brent Polischuk is currently the team’s coach.

The Saanich Junior Braves name and logo have been used since the team’s inception in 1967, when they first joined the Vancouver Island Junior League.

According to their statement, more information about the Braves’ renaming process will be announced in the coming weeks, and the team welcomes feedback, suggestions and questions via email at SaanichJrBHockey@gmail.com.