Earlier this year, Baseball Ontario informed the Sarnia Baseball Club that their previous name of the “Braves” would need to be replaced as part of their cultural sensitivity initiative. After 65 years, the new name needed to be a mix of the local history of Sarnia as well as being a powerful symbol that the Sarnia community can be proud of moving forward. And now, the time has come where the new name and logo have been revealed. Introducing: the Sarnia Brigade.
A lot of research went into the decision for the Brigade name and the rationale behind it. In their press release, Sarnia referred to the local Armed Forces, the 1st Hussars, as their major inspiration. This unit fought during WWII with several Canadian brigades including the Juno beach landings on D-Day. The name should allow the stories of those who served to be alive and well whenever Sarnia hits the field.
Opinions from around the league over the change have begun rolling in and so far, it has been a positive reception. However, when reaching out to active players, opinions are split on the topic. A Sarnia player who wished to remain unnamed said, “it will be difficult to adapt to the new name.” He added, “I’ll miss the old name because it’s been the name since I was younger.”
In Sarnia’s release, it appears that they were initially against the idea of changing their name. In 2020, they contacted the local First Nations community and received “overwhelming support” on the “Braves” name and iconography. Mike Lumley, PBLO Vice President and London Badger coach, said in a statement, “Sarnia has always had great respect for the indigenous people in their area and the use of the Braves name and logo was strictly out of admiration.”
Despite the differing opinions, the Sarnia Brigade name has a ring to it that should leave a lasting impression on the young players entering organized baseball for the first time. The franchise’s colour scheme is remaining unchanged, creating as few barriers for current and past players to buy into the new look other than nostalgia. “Regardless of the name change,” Lumley stated, “Sarnia Minor Baseball is a highly respected organization with a top-notch executive and talented ballplayers.”
Below is the official press release from the Sarnia Brigade: