CANMORE – After much debate among alumni, current students and community, the Canmore Collegiate High School athletic school name, the Crusaders, will officially be no more.
Next year, student athletes at CCHS will instead wear sports jerseys with the team name Wolverines emblazoned across their chests, matching with the high school level football team that already proudly wears the name.
CCHS principal Chris Rogers, who earlier this year wrote an open letter to begin a discussion about the team name and logo, said in an email the new name had been chosen.
“The students overwhelmingly selected Wolverines as our new school name identity,” he wrote in an email.
“As we already have a Wolverines team, we have a logo that students know and like. We are looking at tweaking the logo a little, but essentially it will be unchanged for now.”
Rogers said the local high school organized a chance for students to purchase the old Crusaders jerseys.
“Our athletic director Darren Anderson is organizing the sale of old Crusader uniforms to students who would like to buy their number as a keepsake,” Rogers said. “He will be placing the order for some of our fall team uniforms in late June, so they are ready for the fall.”
Anderson told the Outlook a sale of the jersey’s took place last Friday (June 21), and then again on Monday (June 24) and Tuesday (June 25).
“The sale will only be open for this year’s current athletes so they have the opportunity to buy their own game-worn uniforms. I have spoken to many students about this and they are very excited to be able to keep a piece of their Crusaders history,” he wrote in an email.
The remaining jerseys were for sale the following week reasonably priced at around $20.
“All money raised will be used to offset costs for next year’s Wolverines sports teams,” said Anderson.
In a previous article, superintendent Chris MacPhee told the Outlook the cost of the new jerseys wouldn’t make a dent financially on the school division’s resources. Rather, the money would be coming from private contributions.
“We have had significant private contributions to support any changes in addition to normal wear and tear yearly budgeted dollars. It should also be understood that none of these dollars come from the instructional budget lines which impact and classroom needs,” wrote MacPhee.
“This is a school based administrative decision that rests with current staff, student and parent population.”
The name change concept initially came about earlier this year when Rogers sent an open letter discussing the historic meaning of the word Crusader with the intention of starting a dialogue among the CCHS community.
“Our focus is to ensure an inclusive, safe and caring school for all,” Rogers wrote in the letter. “When creating a safe and caring environment, we must consider all aspects of school life. This includes looking at our team logo from the perspective of who we are as a school.
“Our current logo is a medieval crusader knight, a symbol that comes from a time in history where LGBTQ individuals were not welcome or tolerated by society. It is with this in mind that I wonder how we can reconcile the symbol of inclusion shown by flying the pride flag over our school, with asking our students, to wear a symbol of intolerance and violence (a medieval crusader) on their chest whenever they play sport at CCHS.”
Former alumni and members of the broader community who felt a strong connection to the Crusaders name and team spirit expressed concerns about the possibility of a name change, while others agreed it represented a dark time in history.
Ultimately, a student committee at CCHS decided the new name after they narrowed down the many submitted options to only three: the Cyclones, the Wolverines or the Coyotes, conclusively choosing the Wolverines.
As well, former Wolverines football team’s head coach and teacher at CCHS, Wade Buckley, said he thinks the move is a positive one.
“It’s cool the students spoke up and united the programs under one moniker,” he said.
“I think Wolverines is a great representation of our valley and of the type of athletes we want to go out there and represent our community. It’s a cool bridge between the football program and the rest of the school.”
As for what the improved logo will look like, Anderson sent the updated version Wednesday (June 26).
“As Chris mentioned, there was already a Wolverine logo in place from the football team and we are working with our uniform supplier to add an outline of the Three Sisters into the logo design to give it more of a local Canmore element,” he said.
“We have our uniform designs ready to go and we will be placing the uniform orders for fall sports such as volleyball, girls soccer, and cross-country running as soon as the logo is finalized by the end of this week. We already have some great community support for these new uniforms with Strides running store sponsoring our track and cross-country running singlets.”
Anderson sent the new logo to the Outlook in an email mid-day Wesneday. He said reaction to the new logo had so far been positive.
“Reaction from staff and students we have shown this to has been very positive and we are excited to roll this out in full in September,” wrote Anderson.
Though the name will change, Rogers said the Crusaders name and logo would not be left behind or forgotten.
“As for the Crusader name and legacy, we are working on ways to honour our past,” he said.
“One step will be the creation of a living archive of student voice sharing their time here at CCHS. This would be video, audio, pictures of students past and present. This is a place where students can share their stories of their time as Crusaders at CCHS. In time this will also grow to include stories of students who will play and have represented CCHS as Wolverines.”
In the meantime, Anderson said the school is still looking for community sponsors for a few other sports such as basketball. Anyone interested in sponsoring a new set of uniforms should send an email to email@example.com.
– With files from Jordan Small