Goodbye Cumberland Grads.
And hello Navan Grads.
Following several years of contemplating renaming his Central Canada Hockey League franchise, owner Steve Barban has finally made the move.
After a bit of buzz had been created on social media in recent weeks – forecasting a major announcement – the news became official this past week at a village fair. While some were speculating personnel news, it was instead announced instead the Cumberland Grads have been rebranded as the Navan Grads.
“It didn’t make any sense for us to still be called Cumberland,” said Barban, who has owned the Grads’ franchise for the past dozen years.Cumberland was a township in eastern Ontario until 1999 when it became a city. But that municipality ceased to officially exist two years later when amalgamation took place and Cumberland, as well as other neighbouring centres, simply became a part of Ottawa.
As for Navan, that’s the name of the village where the Grads play their home contests. The village has about 2,000 residents, making it the smallest community in Canada that has a Junior A franchise.
Renaming the franchise is actually a return to its roots. The team was actually called Navan Grads from 1974-89. The squad’s then board of directors opted for the name of Cumberland to better reflect the region it was playing in.
Last week’s name change announcement was made at the Navan Fair, a three-day fair which drew about 25,000 attendees.Barban said many of those at the fair dropped by the Grads’ booth to offer their support. And not just on the name change.
“A lot of them were saying ‘It’s about time’ and “Great news’,” said Barban, who is also the Grads’ president and general manager. “Any many of them were asking when they could buy a jersey or a T-shirt. That’s never happened before (at the annual fair).
”Barban is hoping the club’s new moniker will also bring some additional fans out to Grads’ home matches. The Navan Community Centre has a seating capacity of just over 800. This past season the Grads averaged about 225 fans to their home games.
Barban is confident the franchise name change will result in some additional Navan pride on display and that even more local spectators will be venturing to the rink this coming season.
“I’d be happy if we got 300 fans (per game),” he said. “It doesn’t sound like a big difference. But it would be almost a 30 per cent increase. And that is a big difference.”
Barban estimates the rebranding of the squad will cost at least $10,000.
The club’s new logo has been unveiled. The blue and white circular logo includes some wheat on both the left and right sides, signifying the fact Navan is a rural farming community.
The Grads’ preparations for the 2017-18 campaign kick off on Tuesday as training camp commences by having players reporting for their physicals.Back to Top
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