(Saanich Parks, Recreation & Community Services / Twitter)

After 53 years known as the Braves, Saanich’s Junior B Hockey team has chosen their new name; The Saanich Predators.

The team announced they would be dropping their former name in early July out of respect for First Nations.

Ownership said they believed the former name was not respectful to First Nations peoples and does not reflect the relationships the team holds with “local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players.”

Since then, with significant input from the public, the team has been hard at work choosing their new name.

Along with feedback on their shortlist which was announced in August, three names remained at the top of the list – the Saanich Squid, Saanich Defenders and Saanich Predators.

“Our final decision to choose the Saanich Predators was made mainly because of the feedback we received from the local hockey community and our players,” said Edward Geric and Norm Kelly, team owners.

“We also have very fond memories from our days of managing the Victoria Predators prior to this team. It reminds us of the many years of developing talented players and community connections around this fantastic sport. We’re so thankful to everyone that has taken the time to share their ideas and their support for this name change.”

According to ownership, the Predators’ logo and branding design are still underway and they plan to share it with the public very soon.

The new branding reportedly demonstrates that the Saanich Predators play with honour, using stealth, strength and teamwork to thrive against their opponents, while also connecting to the community.

The Saanich Predators are part of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), and the official announcement about the 2020/2021 season is expected in the coming weeks.