ADSS athletics to rename their sports teams  | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

ADSS athletics to rename their sports teams 

Port Alberni, BC

Alberni District Secondary School’s (ADSS) athletic department is formally renaming its sports teams, taking “Armada” off the court. After four decades students, staff and coaches say the name “no longer has a connection” to the school community.

“We just felt that Armada does not represent us a whole lot,” said Dennis Bill, a teacher and coach at ADSS. “The students don't connect with it; a lot of students don't understand what an armada is [and]… it doesn’t match up with what we value.”

After conversations with coaches and students, they decided that “it was time to change the name,” said Bill.

But in 2012 when ADSS moved from its former location on Burde Street to its new building along Roger Street, their athletics department began working to simplify and reinvent the Alberni Athletics logo, shared ADSS Athletic Director Mike Roberts.

Their first step was transitioning from the image of a schooner, a sailing vessel representing a Spanish fleet of ships, to the letter A, which appears in their school color, red.

“We kind of just went with what we thought was good,” said Roberts. “It stuck; everyone liked it.”

With First Nations culture, art, and truth and reconciliation in mind, their next steps were to Indigenize their logo, shared Roberts, but it didn’t happen as soon as they hoped.

At their annual Totem tournament, Roberts recalled noticing several participating schools wearing their athletics logos with First Nations-themed designs.

“They beat us to the punch in our own house,” said Roberts. “This is great for those schools, it looked fantastic, but we need to do that as well.”

In collaboration with the athletics department, Geena Haiyupus then produced what is presently and widely known across ADSS as their logo.

“It was even more mainstream now than the first A,” recalled Roberts.

“As an ex-student I have [an] attachment to the name Armada, but at the same time, I see it as a great opportunity for us to grow and change and maybe adopt something that's a little more suited to our values and our culture here at the school,” said Bill.

In the renaming process, they have established a committee responsible for deciding on the new nickname for teams. The committee will be gathering ideas from the school and wider Port Alberni community, while meeting with Tseshaht and Hupacasath, shared Roberts.

In the renaming process, “Indigenous history and culture, athletics and school history, geographical location, as well as iconic events,” will be considered, reads an ADSS athletic department press release.

“We are seeking a name that is bold, represents strength and power, and is a name that everyone can be proud of.”

“It would be great if we could connect it to our local Indigenous culture,” added Bill. “Being a member of the Tseshaht First Nation, I think it would be great if there was a way we could tie in either our language or culture into the school nickname.”

Bill hopes that the new name can be simply identified, includes community representation, and unifies the school.

“Just now… finally everything's lining up and we're able to move forward with looking for a new name that would, I think, identify us better, who we are, where we're situated in Port Alberni, and that both coaches, teachers, students can relate to more,” said Roberts. 

“It could be a place or something that people identify with,” said Bill. “But just something that really resonates with our students and our community.”

Team name ideas for the school’s athletics department can be submitted by scanning the QR code listed on ADSS Athletic Department Facebook page.

Share this: