We have the name and branding for the new Nanaimo (BC) team entering the summer-collegiate West Coast League in 2021: the Nanaimo NightOwls, with the Nanaimo Bars created as alt branding.
Set to debut next season at an upgraded Serauxmen Stadium, the NightOwls will be owned by the same ownership group behind the Victoria HarbourCats. The branding is a homage to the original 1920s-era Nanaimo Owls team, with the Night added to emphasis the Serauxmen Stadium upgrades, which included the installation of lights. The branding also serves as a tie to the city’s First Nations heritage.
“First of all, the name Nanaimo NightOwls is a tribute to the City of Nanaimo, for the now-completed field lighting project that will allow for night games at Serauxmen Stadium, not just for the WCL but for all local user groups,” said Jim Swanson, who will be the first general manager of the NightOwls. “Without lights, there is no team, and the city’s contribution is forever a foundation to the WCL coming to Nanaimo. The grey owl depicted, in Snuneynuxw First Nations lore, is a messenger with a nasty streak.”
The Nanaimo team also announced secondary branding, the Nanaimo Bars, after the world-famous dessert squares invented in Nanaimo in 1952. So, for all games played in the afternoon, home or road, the team will wear special Nanaimo Bars jerseys and caps, with a yellow base and a cartoon-ish Nanaimo Bar.
“We intend to tell every city in the WCL that Nanaimo has a lot going for it, not the least of which is Nanaimo bars,” said Swanson. “We want to see Nanaimo bars in every WCL concession stand, and Save-On Foods will be providing those to take on road trips, our calling card. We want to see both the NightOwls and Bars logos all over Vancouver Island. Our group plans to have a lot of fun in the community, and as we travel around representing Nanaimo in the WCL.
“We had so many great suggestions, from historic baseball names of Coal Miners or Miners, to Pirates, Islanders and Bastions. Great suggestions included Humpbacks, Prospectors, Riptides, Whalers, Geoducks, Captains, Dockers, Surf, SeaDogs, Tommyknockers, Jinglepots, Loggers, Black Ravens, and all sorts of bathtub-race alterations–Tubbies, TubMen, Tubbers. Out of it all, emerged the NightOwls–proud to belong to Nanaimo.”
The logos were commissioned and designed by Reuben Butterfield of mBrand Creative Agency.
The team also unveiled the team mascot: “Ney-te” (pronounced, Nate), named after long-time Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney. He’s remembered as the “Pirate Mayor” for dressing up like a pirate for various events, and he served 21 years in that mayoral role, with a statue of him at the waterfront. He was a champion of mobility rights, adopted children from various ethnic origins, and was very active in the area’s sports scene. Not only that, Frank Ney was a RCAF pilot in World War II. He passed away in 1992.